I’ve tried. I have. But I just can’t understand what you did. I can’t understand it, I can’t support it, I can’t respect it. I can’t agree to disagree about it. What you did was wrong.
I might, however, be able to forgive it.
I know you were suffering with Bipolar disorder. And I know what that’s like, because I too am afflicted by the same illness. I know sometimes it feels like the best thing really is for your children to be away from you. But I don’t know how someone could abandon their children, I just don’t.
Holden is a little older than Nathaniel was when you first left. I couldn’t imagine not having him in my life. There are times I want to lock him in a closet. There are times I wish someone would just take him, or me, away for a while. But never forever. Never for a year with no contact.
At the time, I couldn’t even bear the thought of being without your kids for more than a week or two. Even now I can’t bear the thought of it, but I have to live with it.
* * * * *
I was there when Nixon asked to call me Mommy. And I told her YOU were her Mommy. I was there when she needed a woman to talk to. I was there when she would tell stories about you, and about how much you loved her even though you weren’t there right then. I was there when she lost her first tooth and I was there when Nathaniel had bad dreams and swallowed a penny and I was there when they were sick and when they were well and when they were being good and bad.
I was there because I wanted to be there. Because I still to this day adore those children as if they were my own.
I know they are not my own. I respect that you are their mother. I never tried to take your place, and I would never want to take your place. I told them great things about you. I simply want to share in their moments and be able to give them my love. And I appreciate that you’re stepping up to take care of them and give them good lives. I’m elated at how much you love them and what you’re doing.
But we went through so much pain without you.
I hurt because they hurt. And I can’t help but wonder, were you hurting, too?
* * * * *
Honestly, I don’t know how you felt — I don’t know if it was eating you alive not being with them. I don’t know how you feel — I don’t know if you feel as horrible as I would had I left them. I don’t know what you tell people now, when they ask about those dreary times. All I know is what I hear, about how you blame those of us who were there for them when you weren’t. But I can’t take that as truth, because I didn’t hear it from you.
I do remember you telling me that your previous boyfriend had brainwashed you. And to me, that’s not taking responsibility for your actions. I hope you do now.
And I really, more than anything, hope you find it within yourself to one day forgive me and allow me to see them again. I’ve been in Nixon’s life since she was 1; Nathaniel’s since he was conceived. I remember you telling me when you thought you were pregnant.
I remember helping you bathe Nixon so she wouldn’t slide all over the place. I remember the first time I ever watched her alone, she fell off the couch and I thought I was the most horrible person ever. I remember bringing her to bed with me when she woke up crying and wet, so you and Nate could sleep some more.
I remember the sober birthday party I threw you when Nathaniel was in your belly. I remember waiting at the hospital when you went in for your c-section. I remember holding him when he was 4 hours old and being terrified. I remember I nicknamed him squeaker.
I remember them calling me “Nanny”.
But most of all, I remember how much I loved them. More than anything, and as much as my own son.
* * * * *
I know you blame me for a lot. And rightly so. But I am begging you to allow me to be in their lives. I think about them every day. My crying at night has turned from being about Nate and you to being about them. You’ve been without them before, but you’ve never been forced to be without them.
I want what’s best for them. That’s all. You were once gone, and now their father is gone, and all I want is for them to be surrounded by people who love them. For all my flaws, you have to give me that. I love them.
If not for me, do it for Holden. Do it for them. My son is growing up thinking he’s an only child. They, I’m sure, barely remember him. Siblings should know each other, even if their parents don’t get along.
So please, if you read this, consider reaching out to us. I’ll always be here for you, just like I was back then. Only now I’ve grown and have realized my mistakes. All I can do now is try to make up for them, which I know may not be possible.
* * * * *
I don’t know why you left. I don’t know why you came back. I don’t know what you were doing in the meantime, or what you were going through. I only know how I feel about it. I know I’m in no position to be telling you how you hurt me, but you did, and I think it needs to be said.
I am thrilled that you are with them now, and that, from what I can tell, you seem to adore them as much as you did before.
I won’t lie and say that it will be easy for me to overlook your flaws. But if you can find it in your heart to do so for me, I would be more than happy to push past that unease and do it for you.
* * * * *
This post is part two of the Other Woman posts. Read part one, On Apologies.
Now that you’ve read both Other Woman posts, what do you think? Do I have a right to be mad at her, or should what I did absolve her of all wrongdoing? (Feel free to answer this one, Nephila.) Do you think, under any circumstances, it’s okay to leave your kids? Would you trust someone who came back? Let me know!