Bittersweet Homecoming…

Sierra and Jared came home tonight. My heart is once again complete…but at what expense? 🙁

Sierra seems happy to be home, content to model her newly acquired clothing and share stories of her visit. She tried on several outfits before finally choosing which one she will wear to school tomorrow. It’s nearly 11 and I’m still waiting for her to head to bed. Predictable and comforting in some odd way.

Jared, on the other hand, is broken-hearted. As mentioned below, he is an emotional being…much like his Mom. He was fine at the airport and in the car. It wasn’t until we began unpacking his suitcase that he started to cry…heart-wrenching, body-wracking sobs. It brought me to tears. We sat on his bed while he described his goodbye from his Dad. Darin couldn’t go through security with them, and the line was barely moving. Jared said he kept looking back at Darin, who had tears in his eyes…and it was “like a slow death…the line wouldn’t move and we just had to stand there and watch Dad cry.” Jared described his life…”half of my heart is always on the other side of the country. I have my Mom and family here and my Dad and family there….and I can never have them both in the same place.” He said some kids say, “My life sucks, my Dad yelled at me last night and blah blah blah. So, I tell them, ‘at least you can see your Dad.’ I know I will always miss someone. I will go out there again and have to say goodbye to you again, then I will have fun there and have to say goodbye to them again and I will come home to my family again and get comfortable with my life and have to say goodbye again. It will never, ever end.” While in the airport, Jared told me that Darin “is growing up, Mom…he has really gotten a handle on his anger and didn’t flip out on me once this time”. Of course, Sierra tells a different story of a few times he went “bi-polar” on her…but she seems to get the brunt of his frustration anyway. So, I sat there, rubbing my sons back, hearing his pain and knowing that in some way, I am responsible for part of it. I told Jared (again) how hard I tried to make things work with Darin, and that I am so sorry for his pain. Truth is, I followed that guy back and forth on the West coast several times trying to make him take responsibility for his children. I reached a point that I realized it wasn’t meant to be…not long after that, Steve came into my life.

While Jared truly appreciates Steve (his self-proclaimed “Hero”)…he naturally feels a sense of emptiness. I know without a doubt that the life Steve and I were able to provide for Sierra and Jared … the normalcy, the stability… those things they would not have had in Tahoe. I know this with every inch of my being. However, try explaining that to a 12-year-old boy who just wants his whole family in one place. He cried for a while, and then spoke with Darin who promised him that the next time they see each other it will be in Cape Cod. He wants Jared to be able to have his parents all in one place for a few days…which hasn’t happened since Sierra’s 13th (nearly 4 years ago). Maybe he really is growing up…it warmed my heart to know he was trying to comfort our son. He also knows he can not go a year without seeing him again. That was just uncalled for and weighed heavily on Jared’s heart.

Later in the evening, Jared came to talk with me in my room. “You and Dad are very different kinds of parents.” “In what ways?” I asked…eager to hear his response. “The way you do things, the things you do…you do them to make us better people. You aren’t trying to be our friend, you are being our parent. Dad just likes to laugh and joke and it’s a lot of fun…but doesn’t do much to make us better people.” Hmm…quite deep for a 12-year-old. He gets it. He knows in his heart that the life he has is better for him and that who he has become is a direct result of the normalcy and stability…but sometimes, his heart aches for the other 1/2 of him. What I wouldn’t do to take away his pain.

Bittersweet…the memories of the years I tried and the tears I cried…the knowledge that without a doubt, our move East ultimately made them the amazing people they are…the acceptance of responsibility for my role in the pain…the belief that someday they will understand…the reassurance that they love me back…so very bittersweet.

It all leaves me feeling empty when my heart should be full again. A mother is only as happy as her saddest child. Tonight…I’m not feeling very happy at all. 🙁

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