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This Is What It Feels Like to Drop My Kids Off With Their Father

Photograph by Twenty20

I just dropped off my kids with their father. I've been doing this for almost six months now and it's not feeling any more normal than the first time. Each time, I feel pain and remorse. I feel a cape of guilt pulling at my throat. I can't see the flowers or hear the birds. I don't notice anything but my three kids: the way they move, how they talk, their scent.

It doesn't matter how much I need a break from momming and am looking forward to some alone time. It doesn't matter if they are anticipating a lovely weekend with cousins, going camping and eating lots of junk food. It doesn't matter that know I am thinking about them way more than they are thinking about me.

It doesn't matter if they are barely fazed and their lips brush mine and they squeal, "Love you, mom," as I watch the back of their little bodies run to their father's door.

It doesn't matter if I have something exciting planned, a good book to read or if I am so damn tired I can't see straight or if I am thankful to have a quiet night to just be.

I have tunnel vision and can only see one thing: our new normal. Mine and theirs. And it's heart-wrenching. There is nothing that can fix it. It sucks my soul dry.

There is a moment when none of it makes a difference. I have tunnel vision and can only see one thing: our new normal. Mine and theirs. And it's heart wrenching. There is nothing that can fix it. It sucks my soul dry. It shows me that something you thought was going to stay with your for the rest of your life is gone. It feels like I can't move and I am a horrible woman for needing a break. Part of me feels like I deserve to feel this way. Then I don't know if I should run after them and give them one more hug and tell them it will be OK for my sake or if I should drive away as fast as I can.

There has not been one time I dropped my kids off and didn't feel tears bubbling in my throat. Not one.

I knew this would be the toughest mountain to climb, I did. But I didn't think the hurt would be this intense for this long. Maybe it will stay with me forever but it is teaching me so much. What I have learned is: Through the hurt, we really are going to be OK.

It has shown me something can break your heart but still be the right thing for everyone involved. It has forced me to make the best of my time without my kids because no one deserves to tear themselves up for hours or days at a time reliving the same moments of their life that brought them to the present. Self-reflection is good but I refuse to spend my time away from my kids not doing things I love that will build me up. We are allowed to save ourselves, and that is what I must do. For me, for my children, and for the man I used to be married to.

I can feel the pain, I can endure it. Then I can let go of it and continue to live.

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