… until today when I took my daughter out for almost a couple of hours. I told my husband that I needed to run some errands with her. I let him assumed we were going out for clothes. Once out, I made a brief stopped by the post office and then headed out to a nearby park.
It was a short visit to the playground and the swings. But both my daughter and me had a great time. The weather was beautiful and the playground is under a lush canopy of big, tall, ancient trees. The birds were chirping and singing above our heads. For a few minutes, there was another family there. They took some pictures and left. After that, it was just the two of us.
On the way back, reality started to sink in again. But the one thing that hit me the most was the realization that this was the very first time I ever did something with my daughter, just the two of us, for fun. Yes, I’ve been with her to the store and running errands before, just the two of us. Yes, I spend some time playing with her at home, rocking her to sleep, bathing her, things like that. However, I have never been able to do anything with her that was not part of a routine, chores, or the normal responsibilities that come with taking care of a household and a family.
My daughter just turned 3 years old. It should have never taken this long. But every time I had tried to do something with her just the two of us, my husband would make a big deal and I would eventually end up giving up and giving in to whatever he wanted to do. As a result, my mommy-and-me time and plans would turn into family time. All the other times that I had been able to do something meaningful with her have been along with my mom, which I have actually encouraged and enjoyed. And honestly, I do not mind my mom tagging along.
Nevertheless, all moms should be able to spend time with their child or children without dad or anybody else. But when you’re dealing with a narcissist, that may not happen and many times you don’t even realize it is not happening.
Today, I have realized how many opportunities I have missed. How many plans ruined. How it is actually some sort of a miracle that I have been able to develop a relationship with my daughter somehow. I guess taking care of her needs and loving her can compensate and, ultimately, kids figure out who may truly care for them, no price tag attached, out of pure love. At least that’s what I would like to think.
From almost the time she was born, my husband has constantly been complaining that I do not let him spend time with her. He has even used the fact that “at least you get to spend quality time with her when you drive her to drop her at your mom’s when you go to work.” That’s his idea of quality time, when driving on an interstate during rush hour, with my daughter in the back seat. Yes, she gets to be with me and I with her. But how much quality time can you really get when driving under those conditions? I don’t believe there’s a point for comparison. Either way, he would use that argument to instill feelings of guilt in me. But he never really came up with anything to do with her apart from taking her to his parents’.
Every time I have tried to do anything with her, he would invite himself. And now with the whole divorce thing going on, I have no other option but to give in to a lot of things even when I may not want to because he’s making a lot of accusations to the court about me being controlling and not letting him have time alone with our daughter, among other things. My attorney has instructed me to cooperate and comply so as not to portrait myself as controlling. Therefore, he’s been taking advantage,–with or without knowledge of our strategy, which I don’t know–and he’s been dragging our daughter here and there and not necessarily letting me do the same in return.
If I say that I want to go out with her, an interrogation ensues. Today was no exception. As soon as I said that I needed to run some errands with her, he started:
- How long is it going to take?
- Will you be gone for long?
- Are you getting clothes?
- When do you think you’ll be back?
I tried to give as little information as possible. With a narcissist, less is more. It’s a lesson I have learnt the hard way. “Not sure. I don’t think so. Maybe. When and if I find what I need.”
When we got back, I saw him getting in all sweaty. He had been riding his bike while we were gone. I started to panic. He usually goes to the same park we had just gone to. As a matter of fact, I doubted about going to that park because of that very reason. Nonetheless, I figured it’s about time I start to make decisions without feeling controlled by him. Therefore, I headed to that park, maybe partially in an unconscious effort to challenge and free myself from him, if not for just a short hour.
Once at the park, I forgot all about him, the divorce, the custody battle, the upcoming psychological evaluations that will help define custody. I felt happy. I felt it was just me and this beautiful gift from God that is my daughter and that nothing else mattered but that moment and place in time. And her laughter and delight in the slides and swings were like balm for my heart. I started to have as much fun as she was having. I enjoyed every second of it. Nobody can take that time we spent together from me. Yes, I might have lied in order to get those priceless moments with her. I honestly don’t care. I needed that time alone with her and I should have never had to recourse to lying to get my time with my daughter. It is what it is.
I’m crying a little bit while writing this. I’m crying of happiness and sadness at the same time. Happiness because of the memories I built in that brief period of time. Happiness because I got to spend time alone doing something nice with her for the very first time since she was born. And sadness because it took 3 years to have that time alone and because I should have never had to lie to get it to happen. I also feel a bit ashamed and embarrassed. I’m an adult and I don’t feel as such when it comes to my husband and the way I have allowed him to control me. I shouldn’t be scared of him. But I am. And that makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed.
My daughter is now taking her nap. She’s peacefully breathing in her crib. I look at her and my heart is trembling with the thought that he could take her away, that the judge may give her to him. I want to have more hours like those at the playground today and feel truly free. Once again, I struggle to let go and let God take care of it. I’m so scared. At least I’ll have the memories of today. And he cannot take that away from me. Not him, not a judge. Thanks to God for letting me have that brief peace of Heaven with my daughter today.