Christmas without my Kids – 2010

 Since “Family” Court has awarded full custody to the abusive ex, my place in my children’s lives has begun to fade…I am more of their pen-pal than their mother.

My only physical contact with my children is the one supervised visit a week, for two hours (no problems were noted, in fact my parenting was found to be appropriate).The court refused to grant a continuance before going to trial that would have allowed the reports from supervised visitation to be considered as evidence; had they listened they would know that I am a responsible mother, my kids and share a loving relationship, the therapists supervising the visits see no concerns. The Court allowed the Guardian ad Litem, Jamie Manning, to testify to things she did not have direct knowledge of–she was basically making up a story. I later found evidence that Ms. Manning was suppressing crucial medical records, this was also evidence the abuser was lying in Court–but then again when does truth matter in Family Court? Instead, the Court has listened to the vicious lies of the alleged abuser,  his word is so powerful that he does not need to present evidence; he is just believed and I am condemned.

I am no longer allowed to talk to the kids on the phone, once we were allowed to talk to each other twice a week. I have I have continued to write letters to my children, once a week, which began two years ago when they were taken from me. It’s the last I have of our relationship. The kids often forget to call me “Mommy” and confuse me with other names. In the letters I tell the kids I love them. I send interesting articles, family pictures, games and Bible verses about children. It takes a lot of energy to write; I usually break down crying when I am finished. I cling to any trace of my children evident in these letters. The soft memory of my kids’ chubby baby faces that have smoothed into distinctive features as they have grown are witnessed in the growing stack of letters carefully copied then saved into a folder. The crinkle in the corners of my daughter’s eyes when she smiles is found in the crease of folded paper, slipped into an envelope. The one dimple in my son’s cheek is repeated with each comma. The words I pen reach across the distance for my stolen children.

This is how I will spend Christmas without my kids: Presents for the kids are sitting under the tree, unopened. I will have to imagine what it would be see my kids open presents on Christmas morning. My daughter would save every bow, and decorate her hair until it looked like a Christmas tree. My son would rip into every present in a whirlwind, paper would be flying in the air like confetti, he’d laugh until he was rolling on the floor, telling his sister to smell his feet as he kicked them with delight.

I have made holiday photo cards; our smiling faces show how much we treasure our few moments together.  My son should be a cartoonist; he is always coming up with silly poses and thinking of funny captions to match. My daughter excels at dramatic arts, her face is always so lively, and her poses are fit for the cover of a fashion magazine.

When she is happy, my daughter sings. I love music, and would have my stereo cranked up on Christmas.  I could see my daughter and I playing “Rock Star”, at first she would say I am embarrassing her but with all the fun I am having, dancing around the house, my daughter would soon join in. Our favorite “Rock Star” song is “Walking on Sunshine” by Aly and AJ. My daughter will put on my high-heeled boots and a blonde wig, using a wooden spoon as a microphone. She will laugh as she kicks one boot into the air, aiming for me. The wig is next, it will be ripped off and thrown at Mommy. If my son dances, he will try to “break dance”. I will beg him to stop in fear he will break a bone!

This year would have been extra special—my kids have a new baby brother, who they absolutely adore. Baby will be 3 weeks old, he wouldn’t understand Christmas just yet but he would know the smiling faces of his big brother and sissie, he would curl up in their arms when they held him and his first, fuzzy memories surely would have been of warmth. I cry when I think my kids will miss Baby’s first Christmas, and the other firsts to come.

I am not cooking this year but if I did, we’d have a big home-cooked meal. Both kids would be in the kitchen alongside me, I’d step back when they told me what they wanted to make and what to put in it. Cooking is a creative process, best when first flavored by imagination. I don’t write my recipes down—I see them in my mind’s eye first then go to the kitchen with my cravings. My son told me he wanted a pumpkin dessert for Christmas. By coincidence, I was on my way to the kitchen to make it when there was a knock at my door. Friends from church came by with some food for me, including a pumpkin pie! That pie symbolizes hope—God remembers us, and will see us through.

I just want my kids to know that I love them. I am sorry we can’t be together but know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you very much. And I have faith God will bring our family together again. Merry Christmas, and every holiday we have missed since, Mommy and Baby.

About Emily Court

It takes "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. Written by a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. She has spent over a decade trapped in family court until her children finally aged out of the system. Through writing and blogging, FCI is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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2 Responses to Christmas without my Kids – 2010

  1. Edie Bunker says:

    Christmas is about hope ** don’t lose that! Will pray for you.

  2. I light candles in prayer for all my kids many nights, esp. Christmas. Although my ex “only” “succeeded” in completely alienating me from our daughter, it hurts her brothers to have this ugliness. She is completely alienated now from one of her brothers — the one her dad is most jealous of. They are my sons from a previous marriage. He came along & found me a young, vulnerable, single parent & positioned himself in a place to take emotional & financial advantage although he whines about how women take advantage of him — if he really believed that, he would not now be married to a 5th wife — he’d be scared & still single like me. I’m not scared of being taken advantage of financially, but I’ve been terrified of emotional abuse, lies, betrayal, false portrayals. I have also been afraid physically, as he has threatened me before. He also put an ex into the hospital, but the judge set him free even after eye witnesses testified to seeing her “bloody & blue”.

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