I Don’t Have Custody of My Children -- And This Is What That Means

  |  

I Don’t Have Custody Of My Children — And This Is What That Means

MangoStar_Studio / Getty

Due to a mental illness that left me confused and debilitated for over two years, I made the difficult but ultimately selfless decision to not have custody of my children.

What does that mean?

For the longest time I did not know. Who am I, if I am not first and foremost their mother?

Their father is their primary caregiver; their legal and physical guardian; their number one; their go-to guy. And this can be and was a crushing arrangement.

But it was necessary.

This means I no longer get bath time or the nightly bedtime story. This means I don’t get to pick out what they will wear for the day, or be the first one to hear what new things they have to say.

I wasn’t there to witness the first time my daughter went potty “like a big girl,” or to see my son learn about our religion.

And I don’t get every holiday.

Advertisement

But when I think about the greatest parts of being a mother — they are all still there. I still get the tightest hugs and the “I love you,” the laughter and the playing. I still get the cookie baking and
the singing of songs; the days at the park and the sleepovers. I still get the trip to the mall to get my daughter’s ears pierced, the school assemblies and the homework.

I get the excitement on their faces when they see me, and the sweetest of goodbyes when they leave. And when the temper tantrums come, I embrace that I still get those, too.

I don’t focus on what I do not get and simply love every second of what I do get. And I’m so excited about what their future holds.

Motherhood is still unlike anything else. Now, my time with them is sacred. Now, what I do have with them is even more protected, even more cherished. Now, they get to see the healthiest version of me.

I don’t have custody of my children. What does that mean?

It means only as much as I allow it to mean. And what it means is that every single moment is savored.

I get to define what being a mother to my children means.

And it means everything.