Life moves so quickly....sometimes too much so. There's always some deadline, some time limit or some destination we simply MUST beat/make/arrive at in the least amount of time possible. We talk all the time about slowing down, taking a break, enjoying the moment........we just don't seem to actually do any of those things.
I, however.....am about to slow down, take a break and absolutely savor the moment that is kicking in my front door with urgency. It's almost here. Time is almost up. The finish line is right there....almost.....almost.
There were times when I worried if this moment would ever come. Would we make it there together? Would we be a team, crossing that end point in unity or would I be chasing behind them, trying to get them across the finish and into their next race? Would the journey to this destination be smooth, would it be bumpy, would it be nearly impassible? Would our path be blocked or would we see our way clear to the end? I worried. I prayed. I hoped. I imagined. And now......
We've made it. We're there. Together. Unified. Whole. We did it....the road was bumpy at times but it was unencumbered by the evil of the past. We've made it......and for the first time in a decade I feel as if I am almost able to breathe.
When that man walked into that school all those years ago disappearing with my children the very breath left my lungs. The sound of my heart pounding in my throat was deafening. The fear that I might never find them....never see them again.....well....
It took two years. Two years filled with so much pain, confusion,frustration, anger, desperation....and just about every other emotion there is. Two years of having the gears of the legal system grind painfully slow and having courtroom doors slammed in my face. Two years. He stole two years of my life....their lives....OUR life together. But there was a destination even then. And we reached that one. They came home. We made it. The journey was incredibly rocky with obstacles at every turn. The finish wasn't pretty. It was traumatic. But we made it.
We drove away from that apartment, that life, the lies, the coercion, the mental/emotional abuse (and borderline physical) and embarked on a new journey. There wasn't a map for this one. This was all going to be unexplored territory. And my children were scared. They were confused. And I was terrified. Terrified they'd run. Terrified he'd track us down and take them again. Terrified they might never love me again or think of me as their mother.
But guess what? We made it.
There have been ups, downs and in betweens along this leg of the trip. It's been almost a decade. Ten years. Ten years since they left that life. Ten years since they said goodbye to him without knowing it would be the very last time they would see him. Ten years since we started the job of moving forward. I have spent ten years watching with awe as my children have learned, loved, lost.....as they've fallen and pulled themselves back up.....as they went from scared, confused, untrusting little girls with huge chips on their shoulders to confident, loving, compassionate young women with hope, dreams and goals for the future and the drive to get there. I have been blessed to be a participant in all of it. Not a spectator. And here we are....together.....days away from walking across the finish line together. The three of us.
The relief is overwhelming. The knowledge that I no longer have to worry "What if he ....." is empowering. I can't lie-I still feel myself tensing just a bit anytime I see a license plate from Ohio, My subconscious still wonders....could it be him? Has he come to get them? But now-it passes almost as soon as it arrives. Because we've made it. We made it. Together. Unified. Whole.