My body and my mind are at odds. My body is zinging with nerve endings and alarm bells. My hands shake almost constantly the past week or so. I’ll be in the middle of some tedious task for work and suddenly my belly is aching and there are tears in my eyes. My brain says, “What the heck?” and then I have to pause to figure out why my body just went off kilter out of freakin’ nowhere. Why my heart is constricting and even though I am holding completely still, my insides feel like a pinball machine filled with tiny little balls slamming up against my bones. Boom! Whack! My brain screams, “CALM DOWN!” but my body isn’t listening. It just keeps zinging. Assailing every single nerve ending. It’s exhausting. These two need to get over it and start talking already.
I find myself lacing my shoes and hitting the pavement. My feet pounding on the ground. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. It isn’t working. I grab my helmet and jump on my bike and jump on the nearest trail and I cycle. Spin. Spin. Spin. Spin. Nothing. I turn on the latest podcast from my church and listen to the truth of the word. Put my head down and pray, “Jesus, help me calm”. I’m still struggling. I call my parents and I say, “Please talk me down. My mind knows it is okay but my body won’t listen.” And they infuse me with love, encouragement, scripture, and therapy. Things help but as I type this, my hands are still shaking and I feel this weird exhaustion within my skin from the constant attack that is anxiety. It doesn’t necessarily hurt but it doesn’t feel good either.
And I know exactly why my anxiety has decided to rear it’s ugly head. In this time of chaos and the unknown happening across our globe, I am calm. I am sitting back and taking the proper precautions and waiting and watching. I am wondering if this crisis will just fade on past and we will remember it as a time we just had to be still for awhile, cancel our excessive plans, and search far and wide for toilet paper. Or are we about to be devastated more than we ever could have imagined? We don’t know. But within that, I am calm. Except…
In this already difficult time, my monster has decided to throw a wrench in and make it all the more difficult. And this is the root of my anxiety. We have long had a custody order in place that we follow. It’s messy and unfair and all too often unclear and I’ve already taken the steps to get us before a judge to fix it BUT at least we know for the most part what our schedule looks like for our broken family. Until now…
Apparently, according to my monster and his attorney, the papers do not call for something as broad as a global pandemic and therefore are now null and void. And furthermore, that means he just gets to keep my kids. Just because! And so when I pulled up to his house last week to pick my children up, I was denied them. My children were a few feet away inside and I could not reach them. I called every single law enforcement agency in the entire county and none of them will do anything without a signed order by a judge. Crazy of me to think that a custody order that bears the signature of a judge isn’t good enough, isn’t it? And so now emails are flying back and forth between my attorney and his. Emails that do nothing but rack up the bill that will come to lay at my feet. And my children are still not home.
Each day that ticks by without my precious little boys or a plan to see them increases my anxiety and puts another weight on my already bogged down Momma heart. My hands shake because they are not holding them. Because they are not comforting them or making them a meal. My home is silent. The silence is overwhelmingly loud. The quiet is screaming at me, “YOU ARE ALONE!” And my body won’t listen to reason because it is reaching for the little lives it created. Yearning for them. What is a mother without her children? It isn’t right.
Saturday I was able to Facetime my little men. With brave little faces, they anxiously asked, “When are we going to see you, Momma? When are you picking us up?” And I had to say, “I don’t know.” They kept asking and with each time I formed the words, “I do not know”, they became increasingly agitated. They would glance behind them at their dad hovering not too far away and then turn and look imploringly at me. I tried to smile. I tried to comfort. I told them it would be okay. I was trying to believe it as I was telling them. As the conversation came to an end, my youngest blew me a kiss goodbye and ran out of the room and his dad followed with him. My oldest turned to me and said, “Mom, how are we going to get to you?” I looked at him and I said, “I am doing everything in my power to get to you. Just hold on. Know that I am doing all that I can think of.” And his all too wise eyes filled with tears and I could see him think this through for a moment and then he bravely nodded and said, “I know, Momma.” And I said, “Take care of your little brother for me. I am so proud of you. You are so brave.” And he said, “I am. I love you.” And we hung up, and I fell to the floor and sobbed.
My mind can tell my body all day long that it is going to be okay. That the boys understand. That this cannot last forever. That all will be well. But my body knows this isn’t okay. My body knows my boys are hurting. My body knows they are not safe.
The world is shutting down but I cannot. These boys need a champion. Someone to say, “I see you. I’m here for you. I will fight for you.” This champion may come in the form of a shaky and slightly distressed mess but she is up to the task. And though I feel like I am constantly beating my head up against a wall or that is is absolutely disgraceful that their father is using this world pandemic to hurt or that I am disgusted by our system of law that just turns its head and looks the other way, I won’t back down.
Momma will get to her boys. She will.