Another anticipated weekend with my children has ended. I dread Sunday nights when they have to go back to their mothers. I worry about the environment they live in, and the fighting that takes place in that home. I worry about how well they rest at night sleeping on the floor, she sold their beds to go shopping last year and still hasn’t replaced them. I cringe to think that this is acceptable in the court systems here in Utah. I worry about them each time that they leave and feel powerless and helpless to do anything.
There isn’t much from a legal standpoint that I haven’t raised in an effort to protect my children from this vagabond life they live. I find myself caught in protecting my children against the abusive neglectful powers of the Judges and the court system.
The kids tried to remain positive this weekend about their new home, yet I could sense the frustration about another change in their voices. I quietly listened offering words of encouragement as they would bring up their new home in conversation over the weekend. I desperately want my children to learn to see life in a positive way and another move is no exception as we focused on the positives of the new apartment. We focused on the basketball courts and the proximity to the schools. We shared the excitement that they would be able to stay in the same elementary, one less change to worry about.
Friday started like all the Friday’s past start. I picked them up after school and after running a couple of errands for work. We talked about the week, school, homework, friends, cheer, dance, football, basketball, and spent the first hour catching up on the past week, Things that we would normally discuss on the phone if my ex would simply allow it.
After the errands were run we met my dear amazing wife Karla at home. She was getting ready to leave with our baby to pickup her daughter, Alexa, from school, she is 11 and very close to my daughter, Londyn. She loves being a big sister. Tonight was to be girls night while I took Bridger to football practice and then dinner. The girls went and had dinner and then got their nails done. I watched Bridger practice and get ready for Saturdays game. How he loves sports!
That night we arrived home around 9:00 pm. The girls followed about 20 minutes later and we had our family activity at home. Tonight the kids wanted to make tie dye shirts for everyone. We stayed up until nearly midnight tying and coloring the shirts, each with a very different design and colors. We laughed and listened to the radio as we spent our Friday night together.
Saturday morning we were off to football! The girls were in the cheer leading outfits ready to go! Bridger excitedly talked about his game on the way. He wanted to have the best game possible. He wanted to lead his team to a WIN. Well, it didn’t quite go as planned.. WE LOST 13-14.. It was a heart breaker. To make matters worse, Bridger was pulled out of the game for one series for missing some blocks. When he finally went back in, he was setting up to pass the ball when he was hit hard, down and out! His game was over, he was hurt.
After the game the two of us spoke quietly as he beat himself up for getting pulled. The injury was only a bruised hip, it would heal, his emotions however were fragile. We spoke of opportunities and growth. I encouraged him that life is like football, you spend a lot more time on your backside than you do making the big plays. It’s about consistency and getting back up on your feet each time you get knocked down. I expressed my love for him, after a hug we felt better and we were able to continue on with our day together.
Next the family took off to the pumpkin patch to get our pumpkins. The kids excitedly raced through the corn maze and then into the fields to find their own PERFECT pumpkins! Karla and I smiled as the kids giggled and laughed as they raced around the fields. The sound of their laughter providing ever so slightly some tender healing from my Father in Heaven for my broken heart. Then we finished up the afternoon with lunch and then we decorated the yard. The kids enjoy decorating the house and yard so much for the holidays! They love being a part of it, I believe it provides some stability in their chaotic and hectic lives.
Saturday night, Karla and I had a surprise for the kids. A river cruise with a pirate! We arrived, the kids anxiously asking what we were doing and trying to figure it out. They ran to the boat when they figured out what was happening, chasing each other around and giggling as they did so. Again, another tender mercy. Oh how my heart swells each time I hear them laugh! We spent the evening floating down a river, looking at Jack 0 Lanterns and halloween displays, being chased by pirates. Family time!! There is NOTHING better in my book! A time to heal from all the wounds and stresses of life outside of the family! Afterwards we stopped and picked out the Halloween costumes, went home and CRASHED for the night, exhausted yet filled with love, laughter and joy!
Sunday came with a fall barbeque in the backyard with family and friends. I watched as I held our baby girl as the kids played football, rugby tag and jumped on the trampoline with their cousins and their friends! Our backyard was full, plenty of food, good times, laughter and stories all filled with love.
Then the weekend came to an end, time for the goodbyes and hugs and kisses. I truly ache each time I say goodbye to them. Sunday night farewells for me are some of the most difficult. The realization hits me each time I watch as I drop them off and they leave, that I only have 4 hours with them over the next 19 days. I will find time this week for lunch at school, just to see them and tell them how much I love them. My heart breaks with each final kiss. I express deeply to them how much I love them and we say a prayer together that Heavenly Father will keep us safe until we can be together again.
I spend each day of my life praying that my children will understand the magnitude of my love for them and truly how I would move Heaven and Earth to be with them. I hope that as they grow older, wiser and stronger that they will see in me a father who loved them unconditionally and did everything in my power to be with them, and not a part time dad who was there every other weekend.