Every other week I get to see my children for 3 1/2 hours over a 13 day period of time. The magnitude of this weighs heavily on me as I struggle to maintain a stable relationship with them in spite of this burden we encounter. Each Thursday afternoon as I race to see them again I am oftentimes times confronted with the harsh reality that they have withdrawn and a heavy vacuum hangs over us for the next few hours as they readjust to the safety of our home. I see pain and heartache ever present in their precious little eyes and I feel the ache and hurt in their tender hearts.
Patiently I focus on each of them and discover how their last couple weeks have been, we start with the small talk about school, sports and friends. We talk about their latest activities and challenges.
This process usually takes about an hour to get them out of their silent withdrawal to open back up and talk. We will then spend the next 2 – 2 1/2 hours laughing and playing together. Sometimes there are errands to run and we will talk in the car as we drive, other times its a basketball game in the front yard.
I have found that it is the activities and the interaction we spend that opens them back up. They laugh and tell me stories of school and their latest crush. My heart beats faster with each laugh and story told. I hunger deeply for these moments and wish that they could be daily, or at least more often than what we have.
The nights rapidly come to an end as I lovingly and longingly embrace them in my arms to tell them how much I love and adore them. I sit and watch them walk away when I drop them off while I fight the tears swelling within and my heart exploding with grief as another visit sadly ends.