Why is no one talking about this?

I hugged my son tightly, holding him to me as we said goodbye two weeks ago. Two weeks. The longest we have ever been apart.

He’s only 15 minutes away. Quarantined in a house that is not mine, just a short drive from my own quarantined home. So close, yet so very far.

Why is no one talking about how incredibly difficult it is to co-parent at this time of global pandemic?

Amongst all of the articles about the struggles of homeschooling, working from home, and being cooped up with nowhere to go and no toilet paper to find, I have not seen anything about the struggles of having to say goodbye to your child as they go to their other parent’s house.

I’ll tell you why no one is talking about it . . . for the same reason I also haven’t.

It’s just too hard.

To be honest, the only reason these words can come out now is because I’m just days away from my son coming back to me. I see the end in sight and with each day that goes by I feel a little weight lift off my shoulders. But two weeks ago the weight was just too heavy. It pushed me down, knocked my hands off the desk, and ripped my pen from my fingers.

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I feel this weight every time he leaves. It’s the norm in this life. It’s who we are and what we bear. A constant heavy presence when your child is not with you. However, with time and routine, it becomes a bit more tolerable or at the least, we find a way to bear it without it bringing us to our knees.

Not this time. Not with this choice.

Not with the world already having so much weight on its shoulders. Not with so much uncertainty and unpredictability.

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This time it brought me to my knees. It crippled me like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It made my chest tight and my head spin. It left me sobbing in my bedroom with my other babies asking why I was sad.

This is my child, and I am meant to protect him.

How can I do that when he will not be with me for two weeks?

I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know the answers to a whole heck of a lot right now.

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I’m writing this now because what I do know is that amidst all of the chaos, there is a parent out there who is getting ready to say goodbye to their baby and pass a torch of trust to a person who didn’t work out so well in their own life. There is a parent who feels like their heart is being ripped from their chest as they sense the empty space beside them. There is a parent who is counting down the seconds until a reunion.

There is a parent who needs to know even if we don’t talk about it much, we know. We see you. You are not alone.

Leah Porritt

A behavior specialist by profession, Leah finds passion in assisting parents with finding creative ways in which to support children with behavioral, cognitive, physical, and medical challenges. Leah enjoys the humor that comes with parenting and sharing it as a way to encourage mothers to support and encourage each other. Once a Division I athlete, Leah still enjoys running and participating in races with her oldest son . . . even though she is much slower these days.