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I rise up and feel strong.  I know I’m a fighter, and I’m grateful for all I’ve been through that has brought me to where I am today.  I feel immense joy when my grandchildren wrap their sweet little arms around my neck, and I experience tremendous contentment just sitting beside one of my many precious friends.

And, then, I drop.  Sometimes I break.  Taking me by surprise, my highs become lows.

My heart has ached all day for my 18-year-old who drove to my house FOUR times yesterday.  He had drill today for the first time since graduating boot camp.  Yet, his father, who he has moved in with, wasn’t home to provide him words of wisdom.  He chose to be gone, with his girlfriend I’m sure, instead of being the sage father our son needed him to be in his moment of insecurity.  It was proof again to me that he only wanted to take our son away from me.  He didn’t really desire to meet any of this young man’s needs.

For all we’ve been through, our son chooses to be there though he must come back here for support.

My daughter justifies my oldest son’s cruelty to me.  I deserve it.  His harsh words about her and their brother….those, those were unnecessary and unfair.  He took it too far when he moved beyond me.  What do I say to that?

Nothing.  I sit and I stare blankly.  I stand and feel faint, nearly falling over.  And, I blame it on not eating and my neck being out.

I see on Facebook that the ex bought himself a new tablet.  My son posted that his dad mispronounced gigabyte and didn’t know what it meant.  But, “at least he’s trying,” said my son.  My daughter liked the post and commented, “LOL!”

When have I ever been excused because at least I’m trying?  Never.  Never in my children’s eyes.  Yet, the man who brutally beat and choked and tried to kill all of us is buying toys for himself and trying, and that’s funny.

They refuse to be involved with my half-brother.  They refuse to forgive my other son’s ex for “crimes” she never committed.  But, I wonder if it’s really my brother and my grandson’s mother whom they hate.  Or, if the real problem is that my brother, though wary of our entire family, calls to check on me.  And, my grandson’s mother includes me as part of her family.

Is it that anyone who loves me must be pushed away?  And, anyone who hates me is to be forgiven and embraced no matter how heinous their behavior?

Sometimes I break under the weight of the burden of my own offspring’s disregard for me and everyone I care about.

I can’t allow myself to go there though.  Really.  I do honestly have the best friends on the planet.  I have three younger children who still need me.  I have two grandchildren who love and need me.  And, I’ve been chatting with a wonderful man.

I’m dancing again.  My love.  My passion.  Moving my body in complete control, out of control, expressing all of my love and my pain and my unutterable emotions through movement.

I’ve nearly paid off all of that awful marital debt.  Forty dollars remain of that $5,500 I was saddled with in the divorce.  A mere forty dollars, and I’m free of nearly all vestiges of a nightmare I lived for sixteen years.

Except for the disdain of my children.  That remains.  That will likely always remain.  And, sometimes I break in spite of the numerous good things in my new free life.