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November 27, 2019

If you’re a mom going through the holiday motions for your children, I get it, I’m here, and I see you.

If you’re a mom going through the holiday motions for your children, I get it, I’m here, and I see you. 

Just last week, my 4-year-old daughter excitedly hopped around in her booster seat, singing along to Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

I smiled at her pure joy. But the minute I was back in my car after school drop off, Halsey’s Graveyard was more my jam. 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it’s the first year I won’t be eating creamed onions. 

Every year, my mother would bundle us up and head over to my aunt’s house earlier than others to start the creamed onions. They required time and a lot of stirring. Leaving them unattended would lead to a sticky mess. 

It’s something I’ll always remember about Thanksgiving.

Last year, my husband and I proudly hosted the first of many Thanksgivings in our Forever Home. 

My family came, ate and loved. 

I made sure there were plenty of those creamy pearled onions to go around, and remember how hard they were to find last year. 

It’s crazy how much things can change in a year. See, I haven’t seen my father since a falling out on April 15th. I’ve seen my mother twice since then. And these were people I was used to seeing every day. 

I don’t know where they’ll be tomorrow. I don’t know if they’re planning a turkey dinner or letting the day pass as any other.

Christmas is fast approaching and for the first time in 4 years, there’s no exciting lead up to buying gifts for the granddaughter they helped raise, and lost. 

Cutting unhealthy relationships out of your life doesn’t mean you don’t miss who SHOULD be there. There’s a void. 

Having parted ways with family over the past 8 months has taught me two things:

1. I’m finally a strong enough person to end toxic relationships.

2. You can’t (at least I can’t) “unlove” people who used to be a part of your daily life. There’s a void. A fracture. 

By no means do I regret having severed these ties. The physical and mental toll such relationship came to take on me is immeasurable. 

I had no peace. My immediate family had no peace. In fact up until a week or so ago, every nerve ending in my body felt shock and panic as soon as certain names popped up on my text screen. 

What was next? What fresh hell was about to be unleashed? Would I be able to hold my husband back from going to put an end to everything. For good. Out of protection for me and OUR immediate family, our daughters, whom we made every attempt to shield from the insanity engulfing our very existence.

Inside, I was a wreck. But I had a family and a job to consider. I couldn’t curl up in bed and wallow in my hurt or anger. 

I may be nearly numb to the people who now feel like strangers. Souls from a life previous to the one I lead now. 

But I’ve never gone a Thanksgiving or Christmas without them. 

They’ve never not seen my daughter dressed up for Halloween, incidentally also my mother’s birthday. 

I’m almost feeling a sense of “the calm before the storm.” Will these days come and go as easily as the past several months, where I’ve just accepted my new reality? Or will I experience an upheaval of emotion? 

Those questions can’t and won’t be answered until the actual days come and go. 

I hope as a mother that I’ll stave off my own feelings and conquer those days by filling them with as much joy and excitement for my children as humanly possible. Making memories with my daughters that I hope will be carried through their lifetimes and be remembered years from now when they have children of their own. 

They say no one is as strong as a mother trying to hide her pain from her children. I may not be a religious woman, but God, I hope that’s true. 

It’s hard. The push and pull I feel internally. Wondering if these severed ties are in my girls’ best interests. Especially my blood daughter. The effect on my stepdaughter is by nature secondary. 

Still, in my gut and from the experiences I’ve had over the last almost 34 years, I know they’re safer this way. 

As much as I wish I could shield them from all the hurt and hardship there is in our world today, I can’t. No mother can. 

But what I can control, I will. What I can protect them from, I’ll do without hesitation.

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