For all the parents fighting the war for their children, the injustices of legal systems, the gender bias of maintenance enforcement and often social workers.
Remember that your child absorbs the emotion even when they know nothing of the facts. They absorb and internalize the anger. They do not have the ability to sort it into the pile labelled “not mine to deal with.” Everything a child feels is about themselves and writes a page in the book of their life. This book becomes the story they will read to themselves over and over again through out their life. It reminds them that they are good or bad. It reads out each word in the voices of the people who taught them attaching all the feelings and emotions they felt at the time until it has convinced them who they are ….and who they are not.
This story is almost always a work of fiction, written from limited perspective and out of control emotions. It is almost always written using words from others who are narrating their own life scripted from their own inaccurate biographies that play in their heads.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child is to be the calm in the insanity. Don’t spend all your time engaged in the battle for them, fighting for them, reacting to the insanity. Every second you can give them where you close the doors on all of that, even for a moment, and concentrate solely on your child, loving them in word and deed, is healing. Each moment like that counteracts a dozen cruelties. Each moment like that is a jewel imprinted on a page in the book of their life that will lend its light, not only to the moment you share, but to thousands of moments throughout their life. It is tangible proof that your child is precious and loved and that life is not just wars and unkindness.
Calm. Physical contact. Meaningful conversation or interaction. Fun and laughter. Give these to your children. Be the one voice of sanity. Be their place of refuge. Don’t lose your opportunity to give that to your child because you were in a courtroom, or at a hearing, or in your room crying because you are no longer allowed very many, or any, moments with your child. Make any interactions not about what should be, what could have been, but about now and who you are and who they are, and the love that is there. If they say they hate you, just tell them they are loved. If a war just happened in the parking lot, take them home to cuddles and one on one time where you watch a favourite funny movie, have a tickle contest, put them to bed with a story and you stroking their hair. Take your teenager out into nature or to swim or do something that they love doing that does not involve time to sit and dwell on the negative emotions just imprinted all over their souls.
Never ever surrender them to the lies, the hate, the unkindness hurled against you. Never sacrifice them for the sake of winning the battle or even the war. Remember that it is about them and for them and none of that will matter if you are never present in the moment with that child.
You may be the only voice, their only experience with love and light, peace and calm. Give it to them. Even if it is only a moment here and there. Love fills moments and spills over into years. It is the one enduring thing, an energy that cannot be contained or stopped.
Children get broken open, even smashed and pummelled with the lives they land in. Fill those cracks with light and love, let it seep in and work its magic and remember that your love is not just about this one moment, this one year, this one portion of their lives . . . it is forever. Use the pain you feel to spur you on to do what you can for your child and focus on that, not on all the things you cannot do. Don’t give in to feeling defeated and powerless. Trust the strength of light and love in the bigger picture.
And look around. Your child may not have the opportunity to much, or any, of your time, but there are so many other children around you who are available and needing the kindness of “strangers” to imprint jewels of hope on their biographies they are writing about their own lives. Sometimes we don’t get our own children, but life gives us other children and sometimes we get to do more good than we even imagined we could. Those kids can grow up better equipped to love. And our own stories are not filled with endless pages of our pain and loss and sense of failure, but of hope and love with open arms. Perhaps one day our child will find the jewel we gave years ago and find their way back to source, but even if they never do, we will not have surrendered our hearts to the ugliness.
Life goes by so quickly. The loss of a child is devastating, in any form. But if we lose ourselves completely in the process, the tragedy is beyond redemption. Loving, even through pain and in the face of insurmountable odds, and raging hate, may seem impossible but to choose any other path is to surrender the war. Your example, your survival is everything. If you give up your child has no chance. Ever. They will never see a different way or understand they were lied to.
Your child is/was only a weapon for people whose main goal is/was to destroy you.