It's been a long time since I posted on my blog. The last six weeks have been so busy between tours, chorus competition, scrapbooking, family, etc. The tour season is going pretty well. I've had some great groups and just one that was obnoxious and rude to the point that I'd rather not work with them again. For the most part, it's been great so far.
The diet is going well, too -- I'm down about 19 pounds from when I first started Weight Watchers. It's been slow and mostly steady, with a few detours along the way. All of the walking on my tours is really helping, but sometimes it's hard to stick to the program when I end up eating out so many times in a week. Still, I'm doing the best I can and making good choices most of the time. Yesterday I was even able to wear a pair of denim capris that were too tight last year, so that was encouraging.
So you're probably wondering what has compelled me to write today when I've been "silent" for so long. Easy enough to answer -- it's Mother's Day, a day filled with mixed emotions for me. I have two wonderful, grown sons whom I love dearly and who love me. We have a great relationship, albeit somewhat long distance these days. Dan lives about 3 hours north, so I certainly won't get to see him today, but he's already called this morning and we had a nice, long chat. Paul lives about an hour south of me and I spent most of yesterday with him, so I told him not to make the trip up for a visit today. He just came back from two weeks of training and has a lot of catching up to do before starting work again tomorrow. I completely understand why I won't be with my children today, but that makes it feel like just any other day, not like Mother's Day.
My own mother died in 1978, so it's been over 30 years since I've been able to spend the day with her. I used to go to the cemetery each year on Mother's Day, but stopped doing that a while ago. I was there a few months ago to visit, so that will have to do. I do think about her and wish she were still here, but that's beyond my control.
So why does this day feel so sad rather than happy? It comes down to one simple thing -- my granddaughter, Taryn. If you've read my blog from the beginning, you know I've written about her before. She's Dan's daughter, but without going into a whole, long explanation, let me just say that her mother, Liz, has kept her completely away from our family for almost four years. Yes, there's a custody agreement in place (Liz and Dan were married for only a year), but the two of them agreed that she wouldn't ask him to pay child support if he wouldn't ask to see Taryn. Dan moved away shortly after the divorce was finalized and he has moved on with his life. He is in a wonderful relationship with a lovely woman who has three little girls and I love all of them. I hope someday the two of them will get married, but in the meantime, Dan considers them to be his family. Still, that doesn't heal the aching in my heart or the emptiness I feel because I don't get to see my granddaughter.
The last time I saw Taryn, she was about 10 months old. She was crawling, pulling herself up to a stand and starting to take some steps if you held her hands. Now she's almost five years old! Think about everything I've missed! I think about it every single day of my life. I almost got to see her last June. I was at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life and it turned out that Liz was on a team, along with her mother, and had brought Taryn with her. My sister and friend saw them and tried to talk to them, but as soon as Liz realized I was there, she scooped Taryn up and took her home. How can someone be that cruel? I've never done anything to her or the baby to warrant that kind of treatment. For whatever reasons, Liz may hate my son, but that doesn't give her the right to hate me! All I've ever wanted is to get to know my granddaughter... to get to spend time with her...to have the chance to love her. My friends and family tell me I have to let go and, maybe, when Taryn is 18, she'll come looking for us. Easy for them to say...impossible for me to do. I don't know if I'll even be around when she turns 18, but even if I am, I will have missed the most important years of her life!
What can I do? From the research I've done, I have rights as a grandparent, but the State of Maryland will go along with the custodial parent's decision unless I can prove that Taryn is being abused. I know that's not the case; she's very well loved. Lately, though, I've been thinking about talking to a lawyer to see if anything can be done. What's been stopping me up to now? Liz has threatened to go after Dan for the money he owes if I do this, and I don't want to put him into that position. There's no way he can afford to pay the back child support, even though I doubt she'd win her case. She broke their agreement first by refusing to bring Taryn to our home for visitation. It was after that when she and Dan came to their unofficial agreement. Still, she's mean and vindictive -- as her behavior at Relay last year proved once again -- so I wouldn't put it past her.
So here I am again...another Mother's Day and no granddaughter to visit me. It's the same old story, but there's a little bit of a twist this time. I do have a great-niece, Hannah, who is 9 months old. My niece and sister have been wonderful about allowing me to be a part of her life, but it's just not the same. I love Hannah dearly and have since the day she was born, but now she's crawling and babbling and pulling herself up to a stand...exactly the same things Taryn was doing the last time I saw her. So as much as I love Hannah and the rest of her/my family, it is also very hard for me to be around her because of the memories it brings back. I watch my sister and brother-in-law play with her and the joy they feel as grandparents, and I'm so envious I could just die. I hate feeling this way, but I can't help it. I think that once Hannah gets past the stage that Taryn was at -- once she is walking and talking -- it will be easier. Until then, I'll smile and laugh at her antics and try not to think of the little red-headed girl -- the one who looks so much like my son -- that I can't be with today or any day.
Lest you think I don't appreciate that it's Mother's Day, let me say how thankful I am to have two grown sons who are healthy, happy and gainfully employed...who are living on their own (with only an occasional request for help)...and who worry about me. I love you, Paul and Dan. It's just that I have a lot more love available and wish I could share some of it with my granddaughter.
11 months ago