In the quiet

I dropped my daughter at the airport this morning to fly home, and then Ex came for the boys.  It was a tense exchange.   Admittedly, I erred in interacting with him at all.  He became agitated and verbally abusive.  I asked him to leave and he refused.  At one point, he advanced on me. I went inside and as I was closing the door to exclude him from the house, he tried to push it open.

The truth is:  I used to be afraid of him, really afraid, justifiably afraid, but I’m not anymore.  It isn’t that he can’t hurt me, either.  He’s probably as big a bully as ever, but I see him more clearly.  Underneath the bluster, he’s really a coward—a scared little kid whose parents left without him.  When I think of it, I feel so sad that even the hummingbirds flitting around me as I write seem melancholy.

In some ways, Ex reminds me of the Black Night from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, refusing to give up when he’s been bested.

This morning, Ex backed off and calmed down.  He signed an agreement to care for and return the boys.  I hugged my sons and they got into Ex’s car.  Readers, if any of you are the praying sort, I’d be grateful if you’d include those boys over the next two weeks.

I’m staying at the quiet country home of the kind couple I wish were my parents.  It’s beautiful here, the kind of beauty that makes a body believe we really are all part of something larger, a big universal one. Today, it doesn’t feel as inspiring as it should.  The birds call plaintively and the laundry flaps lazily in the clean country air.  I inhale and feel the empty place where my children usually are, like a phantom limb.  Please, God, let the boys return unharmed.

I hear a knocking at my heart’s door and I look through the peephole and recognize my old friend, fear.  “Sorry, you can’t come in.” (She shoulders her way in anyway.  She is stronger than Ex.)  I easily spin out a hundred scenarios which could happen to my boys while they are in Ex’s incompetent care.  I have tried to prepare them to look out for themselves and one another, but they are children.  The tears come and they come freely.  What comes will come, there is nothing more I can do to protect them.

I have been so busy preparing for this trip, preparing for the hearing and the possibility of spending time in jail, preparing the children for what might come that I forgot something terribly important.  I forgot to prepare myself for the worst part:  When I kissed my boys goodbye this morning, I stepped across the threshold to the long and anxious wait.

So, what will I be doing with myself?  I’ll be doing yoga, breathing and meditating.  I’ll be negotiating for peace with my inner self.  I’ll be writing and corresponding.  I’ll be reconnecting with friends and haunting special places and—I’ll be doing everything I possibly can to hold the fort against fear and anxiety and to focus on the light at the tunnel’s end:  the morning of August 28th, when the boys will be returned to my care, likely filthy, bruised, and sunburned, but alive;  the morning when we can all take stock, dock for repairs, and resume our lives.

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