Note from Founder Jen Pastiloff: This is part of my new series called No Bullshit Motherhood. Raw, real, 100% bullshit free. If you have something to submit click the submissions tab at the top. You can follow us online at @NoBullshitMotherhood on Instagram and @NoBSMotherhood on Twitter. Search #NoBullshitMotherhood online for more.
By Chris J. Rice
My ten-year-old son stood beside his father in the front yard of my now empty house. My son had a scowl on his face. Looked away from my packed car, down at the ground.
Dark-eyed boy with a skeptical furrowed brow.
“Come here,” I said. Called him over to my driver-side window.
He stuck his head in for a kiss, and I whispered in his ear: “You’re going to miss me. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have a dream. Never forget that.”
He nodded as if he understood. “Bye,” he said, then turned around and ran back to stand with his father.
I put my Datsun in reverse and took off. Moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school. And I didn’t take my child along. I left him with his dad for the duration. I told them both it would only be a few years, though I knew it would be more.
I sensed it would be forever.
A formal acceptance letter came in the mail and I made a decision. Put my books in the post, my paint box in the trunk of my yellow Datsun B210, and drove headlong into whatever came next. Sold most of my stuff in a big yard sale: the vintage clothes I thought I’d never wear again, the leather couch and chair I’d bought dirt cheap off a moving neighbor.
I didn’t have much left after the divorce.
I said it. My ex said it too. I love you. But he didn’t mean it. And for the longest time I didn’t get that. Just picked up the slack. Made things happen. That’s how it was. Okay. Just okay. He would get angry. Couldn’t seem to manage. Fury popped up like every other emotion. Yelling. Disparaging—things like that.
I missed my son like mad. We talked by phone regularly. I flew back on holidays. He came to visit on spring break, and for a few weeks every summer.
Seven years passed. Continue Reading…