I cannot describe how much I miss my children.
There are four in total, aged between six and twelve, with two from each of two failed marriages. Due to circumstances that are too lengthy to explain I now live a considerable distance from each pair and both are a considerable distance from each other. The result is that I see one pair every three weeks and the other every ten. This is not something I have planned or desire.
It is what it is.
However, when I see my children I do my utmost to fill the weekend with as much fun and excitement as I possibly can. I know I’m not overcompensating, I am simply condensing as much of the various activities I used to engage them with as a present father into the time that I have with them as an absent one. It is wonderful. We all have a fantastic time and they always become sullen when it is time to return home. Not that they have no fun at home, just that those weekends are filled to the brim and the relative pace of normality is unappealing.
The time between visits is tough. Most of the time I feel a longing for them to be a part of my daily life. Sometimes this expands to an unbearable and inconsolable loss. Such that I grieve that I cannot go immediately to them and give them a hug and a kiss on the forehead, or that I cannot wake up each day with them sleeping soundly in adjoining rooms.
I have now missed two planned visits. One with each pair of children. I have explained to them, in words appropriate to age and without any upsetting detail, the reasons why I have missed their visits. They know that I am struggling at the moment and have been a hospital inpatient to receive help from doctors. They now know I have returned home and will be seeing some more doctors. With difficulty I also informed them that I cannot determine at present when I may see them next. With great relief, and apart from some expressed disappointment, they have all been very understanding and supportive. I am so proud of them.
Not least, I also have two step children who are in their late teens. It is great to be back with them, yet difficult too. I have come into their lives relatively late into there waning childhood. It has been as challenging for me as I can imagine for them – they’re not quite adults and not quite children.
I have known for a while that I have been unduly overbearing, and whilst I wish to make no excuse I do know that the attributes of BPD and depression have compounded the matter. This leaves me feeling extremely guilty, especially now that I have a deeper appreciation, gained from the inpatient education, of the impact of parental figures in forming the core beliefs of an individual. I need to manage my reactions and let the little things go. My love for them will remain unaffected – in the time since I met them they have become as much my children as my biological progeny.
I love all my children. Unlimited by any constraints. I want to do the best I can for all of them. That is all I can do.
I need to learn to stop my guilt of absence and past failings. I need to end the grief for what cannot be.