Due to a mental illness that left me confused and debilitated for over two years, I made the difficult but ultimately selfless decision to not have custody of my children.
What does that mean?
For the longest time I did not know.
Who am I if I am not first and foremost their mother?
Their father is their primary caregiver,
their legal and physical guardian
their number one,
their go-to guy.
And this can be and was a crushing arrangement.
But it was necessary.
This means I no longer get bath time or the nightly bedtime story.
This means I don’t get to pick out what they will wear for the day,
or be the first one to hear what new things they have to say.
I wasn’t there to witness the first time my daughter went
potty “like a big girl,”
or to see my son learn about Christ at church.
And I don’t get every holiday.
But when I think about the greatest parts of being a mother-
they are all still there.
I still get the tightest hugs and the “I love you,”
the laughter and the playing.
I still get the cookie baking and
the singing of songs;
the days at the park and the sleepovers.
I still get the trip to the mall to get my daughter’s ears pierced,
the school assemblies and the homework.
I get the excitement on their faces when they see me,
and the sweetest of goodbyes when they leave.
And when the temper tantrums come I
embrace that I still get those, too.
I don’t focus on what I do not get,
but simply love every second of what I do get.
And I’m so excited about what their future holds.
Motherhood is still unlike anything else.
Now, my time with them is sacred.
Now, what I do have with them is even more protected, even more cherished.
Now, they get to see the healthiest version of me.
I don’t have custody of my children.
What does that mean?
It means only as much as I allow it to mean.
And what it means is that every single moment is savored.
I get to define what being a mother to my children means.
And it means everything.
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