A Boy Mom Without Her Boys

I was at Costco the other day, having lunch with the girls (because that's what you do when you're a really good mom, you take your kids to Costco for lunch) when I caught myself staring at the mom next to us.  (She was a really good mom too).  This mom had 3 boys with her and I realized that I was staring because I was watching her interact with her boys.  Then I realized something.....

I do this a lot.  Like, a lot. 

If we are out somewhere and I see a Boy Mom, I catch myself often just quietly observing them.  How the mom treats her boys.  How her boys treat their mom.  Is she a lovey mom or a "don't touch me" kind of mom.  Do they laugh together?  Joke together?  Are they on their phones or lost in conversation?  What do they talk about?  Did she just pick them up for their sports activities?  I watch a lot.  

I didn't really know I was doing this until this day at Costco, which made me really start to wonder WHY I was doing this and I think I've finally come to some sort of messed-up conclusion.  

See, I think I'm subconsciously searching for a reason.  The reason why I'm the Boy Mom who doesn't have her boys.  There are so many questions that roll through my head every single day: Did I try hard enough?  Love them deep enough?  Laugh often enough?  Hug them tight enough?  Talk to them long enough?  Listen to them closely enough?  Play with them on their level enough?  

Was I just not "enough" of the Boy Mom that they needed me to be?

Blame is a nasty thing, and self-blame is even uglier.

So that's where the observing of other Boy Moms comes in.  I'm watching them to see the type of mom they are.  It's an ugly game of comparison.  I'm secretly comparing myself to these other women to see if I stack up.  "What if I would have been more like that Mom?" echoes in my head a lot.  It's not healthy and I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm just reaching and grasping for some solid reason why our boys aren't here with us.

With the passing of my grandma, we did get a short-but-sweet reunion with the boys for an evening, and for a few hours, my heart felt complete again.  I was elated to see them, hug them and just be with them for the night.  It's a strange thing though, when you haven't seen or talked with your kids for a few months, and when you finally do it's like you aren't sure how to act around them.  My mom-instinct was to squeeze them and hold them and kiss on them and drag them to our car and tell them that they were coming home with us wether they liked it or not. But my brain knew that's not what they want, and so I let it be and just did my best to enjoy the time we had together.

The weekend after the funeral, we saw the boys again briefly to celebrate Zack's 15th birthday.  I don't know how in the world I have a 15 year old!?

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As I drove them back to their dad's that night my soul was drenched in complete sadness.  Sadness for them because they don't have a mom around for them.  Sad for me because I don't have all of my children in my home together.  Sad for my girls because they are missing out on a relationship with their brothers.  Sad because the boys don't really have their dad their with them either.  I am just utterly sad for this entire situation.

I hugged them both a little longer and squeezed them a little tighter that night and told them how much I love and miss them and that I can't wait to see them again.  And then I watched them walk away into a house that is not our home. 

Being a Boy Mom without my boys is ridiculously hard.  It's a constant roller coaster of emotions,  from guilt, to sadness, to second-guessing every decision I make to being scared of the unknown future.  

But I am here, and they know that, and I will keep being here wether they are accepting of that right now or not.  Because even though my boys may not be with me right now, that doesn't change the fact, that I am still, and will forever be, a Boy Mom.