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My Kids Define Me

I pride myself on being independent. I can go to happy hour by myself. I take myself out to dinner alone. I go to movies alone. And I enjoy every bit of my solitude because I have so much fun inside my own mind. I pretend like I am invisible—a grand spirit floating through this existence with no attachments and no worries of people using me or hurting me. I thrive on my solitude, which gives me the chance to study, write and create my own masterpieces of art and philosophy.

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My solitude was pleasantly interrupted a few weeks ago when my two sons made their first cross-country trip to visit me in Los Angeles. We enjoyed a week of blissful vacation time hitting all the hot spots and even discovering a few new ones that I never knew existed. We played cards at the beach by moonlight and we hung out with the bohemians on Venice beach. We ate at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, visited Madame Tussauds in Hollywood and even caught a flick at El Capitan. A day after enjoying a free introductory kid boxing class at The Long Beach United Boxing Club, my sons were in pain from the intense workout but excited that they had a chance to put on boxing gloves for the first time.

The hugs, the cuddles, the secrets shared, the laughter, the hand holding and the quiet moments watching them sleep are all vivid memories now that they are back with their dad in Florida. For the first time in a long time, I don’t want to be independent. For the first time in a long time, I want someone who depends on me daily. I want to matter. I want to help. I want to support.

When my boys were here, I felt like I existed.

All of those days when I floated aimlessly, enjoying conversations with myself and developing philosophies in my mind don’t seem as appealing anymore. The heart connection, the physical presence of loved ones, the exchange of energy and love—they validated me. When my boys were here, I felt like I existed.

Now that my boys are gone, I feel invisible again. I used to find freedom in walking to the store at my own pace and now I find myself wishing I had someone to tell, “Hurry up and cross the street.”

Yes, there are perks of being a non-custodial parent: the freedom to work as much as you want to without distractions and the ability to come and go as you please. But, really, as much as I flitter and I flutter with no connections and no attachments, today I want some gravity.

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Outside of the work I do as an invisible voice in the Internet world, there is really no ... me. I have nobody near me to validate my place in this world. I desperately want to exist. It is sad to say that it seems like I only exist when I am with my kids.

There I go, disappearing again.

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