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We haven’t seen Rebecca since the last week of May.  This week things that have been spiraling out of control with her and have hit an all time low. I fear they will go lower though.  There is so much going on that I can’t write about it, I don’t know how to explain it and quite honestly I don’t want to.  How do you start from the beginning?

It plagues my mind at all hours, I fear my worst nightmares are coming true.  I have no control.

7:30pm- I walked, on the treadmill, at a fierce incline, while I spoke on the phone, getting the latest updates.  Hearing how, once again, people seem to have their own story of what happened years ago.  They still blame me.  Whatever happens today, they blame me.  Even though I was not given that control.

Sweat it out. Keep climbing that hill, huffing and puffing into the phone. Chugged water.

I spent a lot in therapy for this.  Well, this and my divorce.  It was worth it, right?

Later I spent an hour sobbing on the phone with my ex-husband. He reassured me.  He gave me a pep talk.  He reiterated how we fought hard in court when she was younger.  We can fight again.  We will fight again.  We will go day by day.  He reminded me how we knew this was going to happen and that time has come.  He is literally the only one who knows exactly how I feel in this moment.

I said I don’t know if I have it in me all over again.  Maybe I should start going back to my therapist.

]I thanked God for an ex-husband who I do not hate.  A man who is a good man.  I thanked God he married a woman, who may struggle with this situation, but wants to support our decisions.

I poured a glass of wine.

I cried to my husband. I thanked God for a husband who lets me sit and sob in the phone to my ex-husband and then lets me cry on his shoulder.   A man who supports us in our decisions as well and loves that little girl.

I checked the baby monitor.  Thanked God for a safe, sleeping baby in the next room.  I packed the diaper bag for the next day.  No matter what she does as a teenager, it won’t hit this level so I have that going for me.

I poured another glass of wine and took it to the bathroom with me, to take a shower. I blasted the hot water and stepped in, closing my eyes, feeling the exhaustion come over me as it does every night.  The quicker the shower, the quicker I can fall asleep.  Why haven’t they made a way to just sleep in the shower because seriously, I could fall asleep here.

I mentally run through my check list for the next day.  My brain goes right back to Rebecca.  Horrible scenarios creep back in.  I need to remember to order Cora’s 1st birthday cupcakes.  What if Rebecca fails 8th grade? What will the lawyer say when I call him after all these years?  What will I say?  Do we need to do that yet?  I need tights for under Cora’s birthday tutu.  I wonder if I can run to Target at lunch tomorrow?  The old me, pre-second marriage, pre-baby, would be pounding away into my computer, blogging my frustration.  All I can do is write this in my head.

I click off the shower.  I sit on the edge of the bathtub, in my towel and breathe.  I take a sip of wine.  And breathe.  I need to remember to breathe.  Why am I hungry?  Did I finish my dinner?  No, Cora was crying at my feet.  I put her to bed. I forgot about my plate of food.  I should grab a quick snack.  First I need pajamas.

I fall into bed with no snack.  My mind runs.  I swear the only thing that baby wakes to is my head hitting the pillow.  I watch, on the monitor, as she rolls around whining on and off for 30 minutes.  I fight the urge to go in there with a bottle.  I fight the urge to fall asleep because I know I’ll give in.  I wonder ways to break the middle of the night bottle while I wonder how to get through to the 14 year old falling apart at the seams.  I wonder when I should call the nurse back on the diaper rash and I wonder what to text the teenager the next day.  I thank God we have made it till she is 14. I don’t know how we have.  The next 4 years could kill me though.

Tears slide down my face.  I don’t know if I can do it all again.  I worry it will take away from Cora.  I feel the weight of it all.  How did this become my life?  This thing that no one seems to understand.  The few that do understand shake their heads at me, I feel their sympathy because they too know how fucked up the system is for kids.  They don’t have the answers either.  None of my friends have asked how Rebecca is.  They haven’t asked where she has been.  We are an island. At least I’m not on it completely alone.

I give in, get a bottle, and go get Cora out of her crib.  The sooner she gets back to sleep the sooner I can go to sleep.  We snuggle up in the rocking chair and I breathe her in.  I think about all of the things parents worry about with their babies.  When they walk, what they eat, what diapers are the best, formula vs the breast, when to start preschool, the best developmental toys and oh yes, this damn middle of the night bottle we can’t get rid of.   All those things, sometimes make me shake my head.  Do you know how much harder it gets?  How much harder it could be.

I stop and make myself breathe in this quiet moment in her room.  Her sleepy body, curled up against mine.  But then she breaks that moment by screaming as she has emptied that 2oz bottle quicker than what she wanted.  I give her the binky, she throws it across the room, throws herself backwards, screams at the top of her lungs and I just move her back to the crib.  By the time I’m back to my room she has rolled over and fell asleep.

We can always try again tomorrow night with that bottle situation.  Tomorrow is another day.  Maybe it will be better.  Maybe it will be worse.  Where was I at in my checklist?  I’m still hungry.  I should take tomorrow off.  No, I’ll get up in 3 1/2 hours and do it all over again.  Because that is where we are at right now.  1:34am.

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