Saturday, February 25, 2017
I emptied a section of my filing cabinet. It was there in the bottom drawer, tucked away in the back.....just in case. It has been there for over a decade now......just in case. Just in case......in case I needed to prove once again what really happened, what was really said, what was really done. Just in case.....in case "he" decided to show up, unannounced and try it again. Just in case......
To anyone else it looked like random papers, old shipping labels, used up agendas, piles of old emails and file folders. Nothing special. Nothing extraordinary. Typical things we shove in a drawer and forget about. Except I never forgot. I couldn't. The random papers and used up agendas were special. The emails and file folders were extraordinary. Even if for all the wrong reasons.
But it is time to let go........
Out they all came. Every email. Every paper. Every file. Every agenda. And into the shredder. Two years of searching for my daughters, being denied access to them, accounts of their lives with their kidnapper and his accomplices, ignored orders from the courts, countless contempt charges, statements from neighbors and teachers. There were depositions, continuance notices....so many continuance notices. And emails. Tons of emails. Emails from an often distraught and desperate mother begging for help to rescue her daughters. Emails from attorneys making false allegations and excuses for their client. Emails filled with hatred, anger, lies and disgusting things being slung from the accused. And I let them all go......
We did it. We made it. We survived. And they are grown now. I did my job. I rescued them. I brought them home and loved---oh how I loved those fragile, broken girls. I nurtured them. I taught them that they were innocent and that it was still ok to love him, to miss him, to remember him in happier times. And I protected them. From every word in that drawer. Every lie. Every accusation. And they made it. And they are grown. Amazing......beautiful....brilliant and incredible grown women. So now...now I can let go.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
It's funny what you reflect on sometimes. Even funnier when you are struck with something in the midst of that reflection. These little "epiphanies" make us smile, laugh, cry....bring us joy, make us wistful...and somtimes- they can suck the breath right from our lungs.
As I sit here reflecting on my "big" birthday coming later this year and imagining how it will feel to turn another decade older.....I am suddenly struck by all the other decades that are being marked this year.
You see, I'll be 50 in October. Five decades. Half a century. I've walked this planet (well, existed on it anyway) for almost 50 years. I look back through those decades and remember just how much things, times, people and myself have changed. How far I've come and how far I still have to go. I think about the milestones in those five decades and can't help but acknowledge them.
40- four decades. Four decades ago my baby brother was born. He just celebrated his 40th birthday in Vegas. Forty years and yet I can still remember the day he was born quite clearly. Waking up to bath towels on the kitchen floor and my Aunt Denise getting me off to school. Sitting in Miss Chiles' third grade classroom watching the clock and waiting for "the call" and being shocked (and confused) at how nice she was to me that day. Miss Chiles was NEVER nice to me.
30-three decades. In July three decades will have passed since I found out there was a tiny little person growing inside of me. It seems like yesterday that I sat there, crying and terrifed at the news and unable to register a single thing the nurse on the other end of the phone said to me once she uttered that word. Three decades of the scariest, most joyous roller coaster ride a person could ever take.
20-two decades. My daughter....my very first baby girl will turn two decades old in May. How? How can this even be real? Wasn't it just last week that she was playing with her dolls and wearing those adorably uneven pigtails? Now she is all grown up into a beautiful mother. Where did those decades go?
And then......the breath sucker. That proverbial punch in the stomach. 10.
Ten years ago I sat at my desk thinking something just felt off. Ten years ago I went home from work and peed on a stick. And saw the lines. Positive. Three weeks later I stared at a screen in disbelief at not one but two tiny little people nestled in my womb. I spent the next months fluctuating between ridiculous JOY as I imagined, planned for and (im)patiently waited to meet my baby girls and sheer TERROR at the prospect of having not one but four children aged 3 and under to care for AT THE SAME TIME as well as an eight and ten year old and two newly graduated college kids. And then.....
Ten years ago I walked into a doctor's office and watched that screen, searching for some sign of life no matter how small. There were no signs. No life. Just instant, overwhelming, raw grief and an excruciating and soul shattering agony. In August- a decade will have passed since the last time my daughters took a breath. A decade of missed milestones in the midst of so many others being marked and remembered.
Yes, the breathing will be labored this year.....this year of the decades.