I'm not a very good actress... It's tough for me to hide my emotions or to pretend to feel something that I'm not.
But let me tell you I could win a freakin' Oscar for the brave face I put on this afternoon for my kids. As I loaded them into my husband's car and said "have a great time" with all the sincerity I could manage knowing that they would be having a great time without me. And that I wouldn't see them for 5 days.
Because I was not okay with being apart from them. I was not okay with not being a part of the next few days of their life. I was just plain not okay.
And that my friends is the truly shitty part of being separated. Choosing to live apart from your spouse - the other half of your parenting duo - means choosing to live without your own kids for periods of time.
Now I won't pretend for a moment that having some time to myself isn't nice. I actually used to joke that sharing custody seemed to be a pretty good arrangement. It was "the best of both worlds" I would say.
But that was back when any time I spent away from my kids was my choice. Those periods of missed time were my sanity breaks...much needed time to re-charge my motherhood batteries. But this life I'm living now...I wouldn't wish it on any parent. It's way too hard...
And the hardest part is making sure my kids don't feel my emotions. That I don't make them feel guilty about having fun when I'm not with them. That they don't see my anxiety as we part. That they don't feel my longing for them to stay with me.
I don't know if this is going to be forever - and if it is I know I will learn to cope. But for now...as soon as they are out of sight I fall to pieces.
And these are the times when I forget that sometimes my kids are total assholes. That they drive me nuts when they fight over the same toy when they have 17,000 others to play with. My only thought is that my babies are growing up and they are doing some of it without me. It sucks.
When they return home and run into my arms with screams of "Mummy!!!" I will feel better.
And as they tell me all about their adventures I will swallow back my emotions and listen with a smile and feign excitement. Because that is the role I need to play and I will put everything I have into making it believable.
But a little part of my heart will be breaking at the same time knowing that this is time with them I can never get back.