I've written and re-written this post over and over in my head this week, yet have a feeling that I'm going to get out nothing that I wanted to get out.
I don't tend to wax personal all that much with my blog. I like to think of myself as a 'community' blogger and that's really where I like to keep my focus. It's less complicated that way - and easy for me - since one of my most intense passions is just that.
Last night on Facebook, I posted this:
I'm a stepmom. It's a term that I've never loved because I jumped into this position over 11 years ago and did so with all the gusto I had."Stepmom" makes it seem removed to me - and likely because of too many Disney movies with bad ones.
When Ben and I met and started dating in February 2001, I quickly fell in love with him AND the two boys he brought into our relationship, who were 4 and 2 at the time. When we married, I promised myself that I'd be a mom to them - and would do everything for them that I would have done for children I had born myself. I did just that.
Years and years passed and we managed our blended family just as well as anyone could and while it's inevitably a challenge, things generally worked out with everyone happy. Sounds too easy to be true, right? Yeah, I guess so.
Here comes the hard part. <<sick feeling in my stomach>>
This is my oldest son Kyle. This picture was taken in 2005, when he was 11 years old.
Not too long after this picture was taken, our lives changed forever, and because the nitty gritty details make me sick to my stomach, I'll do my best to summarize.
The dynamic of the boys' other family changed with a 3rd marriage. Not only did their family dynamic change, but ours did as well.
This 3rd marriage they were experiencing created havoc in our home. The way we handled things between our families was turned upside down and inside out. Tensions rose beyond my ability to handle and things got ugly. Really ugly.
Have you ever heard someone say "bitter custody battle"? Trust me, those words mean different things to me now than they ever did before.... and unfortunately, I've learned of the emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial toll that something like that can be on a family.
I don't want to focus on the mess- but I will say these times included false accusations, repeated court appointments, periods of time without the boys, and more. I was devastated. My heart was broken. I couldn't eat - I couldn't sleep - I couldn't function. Keeping an eternal perspective was virtually impossible.
The saddest part of this story? There was a casualty. I lost my son, Kyle.
We were always very close, he and I. With an affinity for art - as well as a natural ability - we had much in common. Kyle was tender-hearted and imaginative and we were glued to each other from the beginning. When Ben and I had married 7 years earlier, I never could have imagined how dramatically our relationship would change.
Kyle turned 16 yesterday. 16. I really can't believe it. My thoughts had been with him through the whole weekend and my heart ached to celebrate with him.
I haven't seen Kyle since he was 14. The complexity of the issues is hard to explain - and even harder to understand.
I put out this story - at the risk of it being consumed (and delighted in) by the wrong parties - because I need it to be clear where I stand. My love for Kyle has not changed. I think of him daily and hope for his
success and happiness in life. I also hope for a time when we can
reunite and figure things out. As any mother can attest, a family is not
complete with a missing piece
Happy 16th birthday, Kyle. We miss you.