My weekends with Caesar always end with a broken heart. It is a heaviness that I carry with me, every day, everywhere. Family – This is the place in my life where I stumble most.
One of six sisters, I understand the love, support and unity of family. Though my sisters and I indulged in cat-fights growing up, in the moments that mattered, we stood as one. We knew that we were stronger united.
I look around at all the shattered homes, the chaos, the anger – the abandoned children – the custody wars and I feel a deep throbbing ache for the horrific acts we commit against each other.
I was once asked by a reader after I wrote an article about not wanting anymore children, “What if Kenny gives you an ultimatum to have a child, would you let him go?” My answer was a resounding yes. A man who gives me an ultimatum to do something that I don’t want to do would not be the right man for me.
I was adamant against not having another child, not because I don't love children, but because I know their value and their promise. I understand the level of responsibility that it takes to raise a child, and it is not one that I take lightly.
Thomas walked out of Thorr’s life and didn't look back. He will say that I left him and that’s why he wasn't there. I did leave him. I also told him that he couldn't be a drug addict and a father.
He chose to leave.
Years later when Thorr became a raging, rebellious teenager, Thomas was happy to claim that Thorr's behavior could not be his fault because he had ‘nothing’ to do with raising him.
The image of Thorr standing by the window waiting for Thomas who never showed, and didn't call is forever seared in my mind. I can still see Thorr’s face pressed against the glass, hopeful of every car in the distance – disappointed as they all drove by.
I am sickened by the pain and destruction that we inflict upon our children. I see them wandering about, broken and restless - oceans of them.
Thorr is still looking for something in Thomas that he will never find. “It’s not personal,” I tell him. “It’s not about you,” He doesn't yet understand and so he rages on.
Now I watch Caesar, only ten years old, put on his steel cloak to help him carry the wars of his childhood. CX manipulated him into lying for him – used him as a weapon against me – defrauded the court system to get out of paying child support.
And now that he has Caesar, he has no idea what to do with him.
No one is raising Caesar and I cannot help but fear the wounds that he will carry with him into adulthood.
I can tell you this… the day will come when Caesar like Thorr will be a looming figure before us with questions and accusations. Childhood is such a short span in time, but I believe, the most critical.
The boys are very different. Thorr’s temperament is calm and disarming like a sleeping Buddha. Caesar is a force. He is bold and expressive. Both have laser-like intelligence.
Both Thomas and CX left their mark on their children. Thomas – His abandonment and a lifetime of broken promises.
CX – Caesar knows that he's a liar, manipulator, abuser. How can you trust a manipulating liar?
Children are costly. They require your time and money, love and compassion. We shape their lives. It's a mammoth responsibility.
Caesar has parents who will never speak to each other again for I will never again speak to CX. I won’t even be in the same room with him. I will not attend any of Caesar’s activities if he is present. What a tragedy we've made of our lives, and for what? The time is fleeting and we will never get it back.
It’s not that I don’t want peace – if I had a magic wand, I would wave it and give Thorr and Caesar the childhood that they deserve. But I don’t have a magic wand and I can’t make it right.
Thomas is still wandering out there. CX still spends his time telling new lies to cover the old ones even as the old ones take on life and crumble around him – crushing – coming to collect their pound of flesh. I almost feel sorry for him – almost.
He has much more planned for me. I dare to tell the truth about him. I am a threat to his facade. But his plans for me will fail. I no longer make decisions based on fear. I will show up to my execution. You can hang me with the truth, but I will still tell it. I have no doubt that CX is going to write his destruction.
Family – this is the place I stumble most.
I have watched my children suffer in these broken relationships and it's not something that I ever want to experience again with any other child, with any other man. I am afraid of responsibility because I understand it.
I’m not perfect. I've made many mistakes – there were times when I should’ve been paying attention when I wasn't...when I should've been there and I wasn't. But I have and will continue to do everything I can to make up for my short-comings. My boys – I know their value and their promise.
I watched Caesar put on his steel cloak, identical to mine. I added another layer, invisible to the naked eye but blinding with colors that will light his way through life's obstacles, the silver lining in every dark cloud– the cloak of many colors that is part of my family legacy and which was given to me.
Thorr has one too and he’s aware of it. He thinks it makes him entitled and invincible. To understand its value, he will have to learn humility.
Family – this is the area in my life where I stumble most.
The dream I have now is not for what might have been, but the promise of that which can be.
With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.