Posted in autism, custody, distance parent, non-custodial mom, non-residential parent, parenting

The Beginning: Autism, Non-Residential Custody, and Chewed-On Ugg Boots

  • 12:53 p.m.: Took a break from Pandemic Plague Home Improvement Projects.
  • # Of Cups of Coffee: Define “cup” exactly: is that 8 imperial ounces? Metric kilograms? What kind of cup? Drinking? Tankard? Dixie?
  • The Omen: Napping on the couch.
  • The Canines: Napping on their dog beds next to The Omen on the couch. Traitors!
  • Leading Man #1: BJ’s Garden State, grocery shopping with his dad.

So, not to scare you off reading this, or tuning in every week to follow along and find out how it all turns out, but I am not a storyteller. I am a non-fiction business writer. That could very mean that you will be bored to tears for the next 52 weeks. I don’t know.

All I know is I need to tell you my story: of a bad fiction writer but a brilliant, marketing copyeditor and Mother Rogue who did not leave her son to find herself (finally, after over 50 years) but accidentally did so by…

Okay, okay… by being forced to get a life after several members of my son’s IEP team, my ex-husband, my husband, and my son himself insisted I do so.

Just because you send a few texts before coffee o’clock… Geesh!

When I do write fiction, or fictionalized narratives, I don’t do well with beginnings. I can tell you all about where I am now, why this blog is called The Mother Rogue, and what my son had for dinner last night (I cannot tell you what the dogs ultimately had for dinner last night. I think it was my Ugg boot). I could even tell you about the 10 sticks I peed on before I finally accepted that I was pregnant (although my son definitely doesn’t want to read that. Sorry kiddo).

Talking about voluntarily giving up residential custody of my kid, and living without him full-time for over 15 years now…that’s hard. I want to over explain my decision. I want to gush about how great my son is and what a wonderful mom I am, even from 210 miles away, so you don’t think less of me. I want to justify who I am, and why I am, as Merriam Webster puts it: a rogue: someone who goes off script.

The “script” for a divorcing mother, of course, being to fight for and actually retain custody of her kid.

Here goes.

My son was 4 years old when TheEx and I divorced, he needed his support system, including my now ex-in-laws, and his father, who worked from home. TheEx could also afford a custody battle. Not only couldn’t I afford one, but I didn’t want to put my son through one, not one I was certain, on a purely financial basis, if not with my well-intentioned by quite legendary Irish Portuguese temper, I would lose.

The day I decided my son would live with his father was a Wednesday in late July. TheEx and I were in our old bedroom, late afternoon, a green tinge to shadows on the walls.   

“You take residential custody,” I told my then current, not quite divorced husband.

“Of course,” TheEx said.

The next month I moved out of that house, into a townhouse apartment the next town over. The rest, as they say…well…history, or mystory: how a single heartbreaking decision, started a 15 year journey I didn’t even know I was actually on until this past September.

I’m not great at picking up on the obvious, by the way. That’s okay. My husband, The Omen, Leading Man #2, Husband #2, is worse. He didn’t know I was his girlfriend after 3 months of dating until a coworker at a company Christmas party told him.

I also, after a lifetime, know who I am, finally, who I want to be. Geesh… I’m turning 52 this month. THAT didn’t take too long, did it?

I pause as I’m about to click save and upload this onto WordPress to see my dogs, Rocky the Boxer and Ella Ma Belle, troop into my home office one behind the other. They walk straight over to their local dog beds – there are about 10 dog beds in this house, in pairs to prevent sibling rivalry issues – and lay down practically synchronized. That is NOT a good sign.

Right now I want to be the owner of unchewed and saliva-soaked Ugg boots.

Tune in next week…it’ll be better, I promise…


Just call me Cris...

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