I see him on rare occasion when my stalking, nagging and pleading result in a reluctant visit that is fleeting at best, and painful for him at the least. There are always a million reasons why his father won’t comply with our agreement, but that’s another story. For now, the boy has chosen to spend as much time with his father as he can.
My brain has almost forgotten how horrible the first year had been; but my heart has not.
His sisters have found a way to (somewhat) come to terms with their new reality. One has reached out to try to maintain a relationship with both of her parents; the other … has not. Perhaps, having been around the longest, she has experienced things that she can’t bury inside her heart.
I do my very best to remind them all that I love them more than life itself, and even though we continue to fight, laugh, love and cry – I’m pretty sure they believe me.
But for now, the Golden Boy and I are strangers.
I remember the giggling boy who ran around the yard in his sister’s bathing suit. The boy who insisted I cuddle with him each night before he went to bed, and re-assured him that his father did, indeed, love him. I threw him the football, played basketball with him, rode bikes with him, followed him as he peddled the green tractor along the bike path and watched him befriend other kids each time I took him to the beach at my sister’s house in Mystic. I held his hand as he received stitches, fake skin and spent the night with him in the hospital during the worst of his bouts with croup.
Yet tonight as I drove him back to his father’s in relative silence, I realized the painful reality of the day: we’re strangers.
And this stranger’s heart is still broken.
Still painfully, painfully broken.