But I can still feel my blood pressure start to rise the closer we get to the Bay Area, as the numerous stresses and unhappinesses and longstanding lonelinesses creep back in.
This was not the way my life was supposed to be. Maybe I've been spoiled with a relatively charmed life with lots of successes and accomplishments and overall great relationships with friends and family -- yet none of that measures up to the devastation of my failed family.
I know the kids will survive it, everyone reminds me of that. Indeed I know their relationships with their parents individually is most important. So this isn't just about the kids, but me....and I had really really counted on raising them in that mysterious world of the intact family, living with them every day. I know that no family is ideal, and I'd already greatly adjusted my expectations -- every family has their challenges!
But in the end, I just could no longer do what was necessary to sustain the relationship. It wasn't even a choice I made -- it was more like being physically incapable, like doing 60 chinups in a row or flying. I just can't. It will be a long time before I stop beating up myself over that. I should have found a way to fly. Nothing meant more to me than raising my children in an intact family, nothing. I'd set aside my own individual happiness long ago -- it meant nothing compared to giving my children a complete family. I did absolutely everything I could for years, far beyond what I'd ever have imagined possible, to keep my family together, and it still failed.
As much as I absolutely hate being away from the kids more than 3 days, I wonder if the transitions are harder on me than them. I know it's bad for them too, but as an adult with some concept of continuity it's arguably worse for me, because I never feel like I get any momentum with them.
The kids and I had such a wonderful trip together, but for me the last day together is always deeply burdened by the upcoming days without them. I'm their mother, I should see my children every day. Maybe the silver lining here is that missing them is a good thing, that I appreciate their company more, but it doesn't really work that way with kids. "Quality Time" is a parent concept, it doesn't mean a kid feels like baking cookies together at a given moment. And I've never been a super hands-on sort of mom. I just like having them around, and with plenty of opportunity to interact randomly as things come up.
I don't want my deeply dysfunctional marriage back anymore than my former husband does, but the shattered dream of raising my children full-time is very very hard to get over for me. I hate that half my life is spent intensely missing them, not knowing who I am or why, what my purpose is. Without work, I'd be completely lost.
I know this will get better -- it's been such a short time. I know I take things very deeply to heart and feel things very intensely, but that works both ways. I'm naturally buoyant and resourceful, and have a lot of experience with coping, thinking things through, finding positives and new passions. I've already come a very long way in pulling out of this. But it's a tough road, and it runs with many tears.