S and I went to the 8th grade graduation for Motherless last night. Her father and his new girlfriend were there, of course, as they should be. But my other kids were not. I had to ask Motherless where they were and she informed me that her father took them to her aunt's house. I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with sadness. I tried to push it away for her sake.
Next I saw Motherless give her father The Packet. It was The Packet that I saw every other 8th grade mother walking around the gym with. The Packet, I assumed, held the contents of what consisted of an 8th grader's portfolio. I had to assume because I was never shown The Packet. I waited for him to show me. He didn't. I know - I could have went over and asked to see it for myself. I just couldn't do it. I just couldn't bring myself to even speak to him last night.
Seats were assigned last night, 4 per student, but her dad took the bleachers and S and I took the back row. I couldn't handle sitting inside all of those people. I hope she understands. Before the ceremony S asked if I knew any of the people there. I knew almost everyone. It is a small, farm community. Motherless has gone to school with these kids for years. I've talked to these moms at school parties, softball games, church, via Facebook, and even on the phone. She seemed surprised that I knew people there - then I realized that no one was talking to me or had even said hi to me.
The ceremony was nice. Sweet. Cute. It made me teary. I remembered her little Kindergarten graduation. Motherless is smart. The kind of smart that doesn't get straight As. The kind of smart that doesn't care about GPA. The kind of smart that will assure she will really be happy in life because she is going to do whatever the fuck SHE wants to do.
I felt so disconnected last night. There was a point in the evening where I looked at where I assumed our 4 empty spots were and I got a little sad. The thought that crossed my mind was, "Right there - that was the reason I stayed married." And it wasn't enough. I started to feel so low last night. Low like I haven't felt in a long time. The guilty feelings all flooded back.
I broke up the family.
I needed more.
And I felt as empty as our 4 reserved seats were.
Then I put my hand in S's and I realized my family is still here. It just looks different. I'm not empty. I'm finally whole.