FREEDOM! Glorious Freedom!

Arcadia and I walked out of court that day to sunny skies.  It was a beautiful winter day, made even more beautiful by the fact that I walked out of that building without the chains that had bound me for nearly two decades.  I was free and I felt light.  It was the most amazing feeling I’d ever felt.

Since Arcadia had childcare arranged for another hour, we decided to go to the used book store down the street so she could look around without having to contain two very rambunctious girls.  We got in my car and as we drove out of the parking lot, I saw Bubba standing on the sidewalk, talking on his phone.  I glanced at Arcadia and said, “I don’t even feel like plowing him down.  I think I’ve grown.”  Then I laughed.  Then I laughed harder when I realized that Bubba was looking right at me and saw me laughing.

Arcadia and I walked into the bookstore and I took out my phone.  I typed in Luke’s number and texted him, “Guess what?”  It felt so good to text him again.  We texted back and forth a bit then I asked him if I could call him when I got home.

Oh, his voice sounded exactly the same as it had over 20 years ago.  I said something and he laughed and I felt my heart soar.  I was actually talking to Luke!

I knew that I had to ask him about having Sam text me that one night.  I knew I needed an explanation as to why he crossed a boundary.  He said that they’d been sitting around discussing what was happening with me and Sam was really mad that Bubba had friended him on Facebook to get access to Luke’s pictures.  Sam was upset with how Bubba had treated me and how he’d used him.  Neither of them thought that Sam texting me was breaking the boundary since Luke wasn’t texting me.  I was fine with that explanation and we moved on.

I told Luke a bit about the timing of that text – that it happened at the exact moment that I realized I wasn’t broken but I didn’t tell him any more than that.  I told him about school and my grades.  I told him about all the garbage that happened with the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and psych evaluator.  He told me about his divorce and visitation with his son.  We ended up talking for an hour.  It was amazing!

When the children got back from school, I told them that the divorce was final and that it really didn’t mean anything different than what we’d been doing.  It still meant that they lived at my house and visited their father at his.  I again went over the fact that I had my rules at my house and their father had his rules at his house.  My rules were constant and would not change.  The older two actually cheered because it was final and I had custody.

They were so happy!

We decided to celebrate by going to Wendy’s for dinner.  I splurged and allowed them to each buy three things off the dollar menu.  I even had a burger and fries.  We sat and laughed about nothing – we were just happy.  My children looked lighter and I realized how much this had taken a toll on them.  They were terrified of having to go live with Bubba.  The difference in them was astonishing to me.

I went to bed that night and was content and truly hopeful for the first time in years.  My babies were with me, they were safe, and I was free.  It felt like the true healing work could really begin.  It also meant that I didn’t have to try to reconnect with my family.  I was safely able to end all contact with them for good.  I didn’t have to play up for the GAL that I wished to reconcile with them.  I could finally say, “What they did to me was horrific and I no longer want to be in relationship with them.  Their betrayal was simply too much and I never want to see them again.  I have forgiven them but I am moving on with my life, free from their dysfunction.”

I knew I still had a ton of healing to do and I felt free to start this new journey unencumbered by Bubba or my family or the family court.  I was truly free.

It was amazing!

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