Reuniting with a child is never an easy process. It is emotionally draining for both the parent as well as the child, especially when that child is now a young adult. Most of the articles I have read are based on the child’s point of view, of how they searched and agonized over getting to know the parent that they want to find and get to know. It is rare when you find the biological parents perspective.
My son was 8 years old when the visitation stopped. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to see him or didn’t want him in my life; it was because the relationship with his father had deteriorated to the point that any communication was destructive for everyone involved. Prior to that point the marriage that produced this wonderful little boy was dysfunctional in every way, so this deterioration did not come out of the blue. The court battles were long and hard, and it all came down to who could hold out the longest, which had more money, and basically who had the emotional backing to survive this battle of wits. I lost this battle and every day thereafter I agonized over the defeat.
As years passed, I would never stray far from where my son lived, in hopes that if he came looking I could be found. Mutual friends told me that he was angry and never wanted to see me and get to know me again, but I held out hope. I always envisioned that one day this handsome young man would knock on my door and embrace me and understand why I left him to live with his father, like one of those shows you watch on cable with the happily ever after endings.
As his 18th and then 19th birthday’s past I started to lose hope that my happily ever after would happen. Then one day I received a frantic phone call from one of my daughters telling me she had spoken to him and he wanted to see me, now! I was sick, fever, runny nose, but I didn’t want to say no and make him think I was rejecting him once again. So in that moment’s notice I dressed and ran to the nearest diner to buy him breakfast and see the boy that I spent the last 12 years day dreaming about. I knew I was nervous but I also knew that he was probably ten times more nervous than I was. We met in the parking lot and with his hands in his pockets we walked up together and sat down in a booth. I tried to not bring up the reasons for the separation, I only told him I would answer any and all questions, and he didn’t need to worry about saying anything to hurt my feelings since he was entitled to the answers to any questions he might have. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses, it was more like catching up and telling funny stories and getting comfortable. I really wasn’t sure where it would go beyond that morning, but I left hopeful that it was a beginning.
On my way home a text message came through on my phone, it was him; it just said “Hi Mom”. From that day, and every day thereafter we call or text, even if it is just to say Hi. The day I always envisioned finally happened, maybe not the way I pictured it, but it happened. Second chances do happen, and instead of looking back at the time lost I am looking forward to getting to know this wonderful young man and making up for all that lost time.