You will miss them with a heartache that is so terrible it is nearly unbearable. Even after you’ve been exchanging the kids for years there are some exchanges where you simply aren’t ready to let them go. You will fake a smile, give them a hug and a kiss while they scamper off to their other parent and the moment they drive away tears will pour from your soul and you will sit there alone in the parking lot sobbing. You will be so depressed the prospect of getting out of bed in the morning seems worthless. The only thing tugging at you to get out of bed are the little of hands of your other children who are somehow resilient and ready for the day. You will fight back tears, give them a sad smile and continue on your day because they are still worth it. But as you strive to pretend that you’re ok, your heart will ache at every oddity in your routine. And you will miss them!
While you set out 2 plates instead of 3 you will stare at the table for just a second longer to picture your child at the table. While gathering miscellaneous toys not picked up before their departure you will walk into their bed room to put away toys and freeze at the eerily empty room and closing the door behind you to keep the other children from seizing the opportunity to snoop. You will stare at their closed door and you will miss them!
There will be a little stuffed animal Leopard on the ottoman that she’d been playing with before she left and while you are snuggled up on the couch watching Frozen for the millionth time with your other children you will hold that little stuffed animal to your heart because it’s the only thing that helps you feel close to them again. And you will miss them!
You will dread a call from a church member asking you to substitute the Sunday school class for your missing childs’ age group. Normally you would have happily said yes, but this time you hesitate. Not because you don’t want to help or teach, but because the reality that your child is not there is so unbearable you may just break down and cry in the middle of the lesson. Still, you agree to substitute because that’s the kind of person you are. You love the little children in the class. They are all your little girls’ friends and you will choke back tears while you help them color pictures. You will gladly hold another child on your lap, just to fill that void if only but a moment. And you will miss them!
You will have an opportunity to video chat with your child where you will catch glimpses of a skinned knee left untreated, too much sugar on their plate, inappropriately late bedtimes, a questionable background conversation, a relapse in habits you’ve been working on correcting for weeks, an environment where you see an accident waiting to happen… you may feel angry that you can’t care for them and wrap them in your arms, but mostly, you will miss them!
Trying to get out of the house and keep busy and joining extended family for a playdate with your other children your niece who will have mannerisms that mimic your childs’ will send you instantly to tears. You will quickly try to excuse yourself to another room just to compose an ugly sobbing attack leaving your entire family wondering what they did wrong. How could they understand how much your heart is broken because you miss them!
You will hear comments from parents so overwhelmed with stress they will joke about sending their children away. Even if you had felt the exact same way just days ago, these comments cut you to the heart because you would do anything to have them in your arms again. You will take a moment to promise yourself to read them an extra story at bedtime, one more song and one more cuddle and hold them extra tight because you know how bad it hurts to miss them!
You will stand dumbfounded and unsure of what to do as you toddler searches the entire house for your missing child as she repeatedly babbles an inaudible version of her name. You will gasp and bite your tongue to keep from crying as you realize your children will miss them.
You will learn to wear waterproof mascara and always carry tissue. You will learn to master a fake and sad smile. You will snuggle into your partners shoulder trying to muffle your cry in his shirt while he holds you and strokes your hair. You will feel a tear land on your head and you’ll realize your partner is crying with you. You both are fully aware that this is your reality and it isn’t going to change. What you once were hopeful would get easier with time you now realize may just become less frequent. How can something become easier when the heartache of missing them never does? And oh how you will miss them!