Finished. My long battle for custody of my son is finished. No more doubt. No more fear.
He is mine.
Since leaving the father of my children almost two years ago, I have wanted my children back, all three together. For months I was childless and enjoying the newfound freedom with the sadness still in the back of my mind. Months later I was able to have my daughter’s back, but my son was held hostage regardless of his choice to come live with me.
Earlier this year, I finally pulled up my big girl thong and filed for modification of our prior custody order. There was no reason I would not be deemed fit to have my son when I already had my daughters with me, right? Well, contrary to popular belief, even though you can have a solid case, you can have a judge who might not care about your perfect little life and how well the other children are adjusting. You just don’t know sometimes. The fear was immense. Can I really be wasting my money on lawyers and paperwork just so I can still lose my son for sure? Will it be finalized that the children cannot grow up together and have a solid relationship of love and hate?
First, we were able to agree via an initial conference that I would have my son for a few weeks this summer. Score! I was able to have him back, hug him and yell at him and show him a good time. Even for us not going to Disney World or anywhere spectacular, he still enjoyed himself and was comfortable. He didn’t have to worry about his next meal, or his father yelling at him for having the last bit of milk and cereal in the box. Summer was the beginning.
Of course, the girls were able to visit with their dad and boy, were they excited to see him! Then they went home with him and all that changed. They begged to come back home. They begged me to pick them up. When they did come back, they asked me to promise that I would never send them back. Maybe daddy can come visit us instead, they wished.
On September 16th, after a long train ride and a bout of the stomach flu and shot nerves, it was finally over. I was given final custody of our son and our daughters and their dad couldn’t just threaten to take him back. My son was mine again, and no longer did we need to hold onto the fear that his father would come sweep him away from us and remove him from what he considers his only home. For a while, my son believed that his father would change his mind and fight me tooth and nail to have him come back to him. He even bet a classmate that he would have to leave.
During the court hearing, I sat there, avoiding his eyes, using peripheral vision to see that he was wearing dark jeans and an old crew neck sweater, tears in his eyes as he fooled the judge into believing he was the doting father he claimed to be. “I miss them dearly, your Honor,” he sniffled as he wiped his tears away.
While I get full physical custody of our son, he gets time with all the kids, and I have no control over that. He gets New Year’s and Spring Break and most of the summer from now until the children are over the age of 14 and choose to no longer visit him. Until then, their father gets to try to rebuild the broken relationship he has with them after years of neglect and abuse.
No one wins in these cases because someone always has to miss the children. Someone never gets what they want. No parent should truly feel like this is a matter to be won because it is what is in the best interest of the children. The only thing that is definite is that this is finally over. The uncertainty, the threats – we no longer have this dark cloud looming over us raining doubtful thoughts onto us. It is a secure agreement that now gives us a chance to give the children some normalcy, some routine.
As much as I wish their father would just stop wanting to be present in their lives, he just will not disappear. I have to, for as long as he is still living and the children are not old enough, tolerate his presence on this Earth. It is one of those things you think about in hindsight that you really should be careful of who you pick as the person you choose to have children with. Unfortunately, he is mine. No one ever wants this to happen, nor do they expect it. People change. Feelings dissipate. Separations happen. I am just glad that this is finally over and we can continue to move on in our lives and do the best we can for ourselves and for the children.
Maybe one day, he and I will be able to hold a conversation in regards to the children and maybe even one day be friends and have visits where we can all go to dinner as one big blended family. Maybe he’ll get married and have another child and our children will have a new sibling. Maybe one day he will get over it all and realize it really was in the best interest of the children after all.
Until then, it’s finished. Finalized. That was the end of all the hope that went into holding our son hostage and a possible reconciliation. This was the final nail in the coffin. That was the end of my story of my fight.