Guinevere squealed and laughed at the wind in her face as the world turned around her, landing safely back into her daddy’s arms. She sighed and rested her head on his chest before the ceiling sped at her again, giggling with glee, her laughter complimented by Edward’s chuckles.
All the day that I’m on the phone in a cubicle, Edward is playing with Guinevere, Ginger, and Gaston, learning their preferences and quirks and experiencing their first laughs, Guinevere’s secret first steps, their first words. As I watched Edward and Guinevere play, my eyes teared up. My children have a father in their life. “Of course, I love my children,” he said. But that’s what Anakin used to say.
I miss my children, and right now I’m hiding.
My family needs help. Alice’s parents have manipulated the court system- that was supposed to serve the people and protect the people- and used the court system to do what breaking the law couldn’t. Using the law, they have taken our children. We see our daughters distorted by lag and pixilation, their squeals are piercing white noise on our speakers. The image will freeze and they will cease to exist in our screen. We don’t see our sons at all. The ad litem will drop a hint or two about things the boys have expressed or communicated, and through this looking glass I don’t recognize them.
Due to a poor network connection, we were twenty minutes late for the daily, court appointed virtual rendezvous. Alice apologized to the Girls for her tardiness. Mother-in-law said she would grant us permission to have a full half hour video chat, and in the same breath requested that we move the scheduled time on Wednesday, since it was Ash Wednesday. Alice mentioned she preferred not to change the scheduled appointments, but understood that it was a religious holiday and would check the schedule. I stormed out in a rage.
Dear Monster-in-law. How dare you utilize our scheduled time with our children, which was ordered by the judge to be uninterrupted, to discuss scheduling. How dare you paint yourself as the hero to our children by permitting us a merciful half an hour, which again was granted by a judge, not yourself, when you are the one who has wrongfully sought custody of our children. And how dare you request to modify the court appointed schedule for the sake of your religion, the justification of your motive to take custody of your daughter’s children away from her. And you dare make villains of us in front of our children, for us to either inconvenience you (which you will use as an excuse to not allow us visitation on that day if we don’t meet your preferences because you take celebrating a holiday to be a higher priority than the law set for you) or to go against the court order set in place for the benefit of the children to maintain a relationship with their parents.
It has been more than a week since the incident and I am shaking with rage as I write this. I apologize to you, dear reader. I have withheld truth because I coward from it. I know not how I will function if I allow myself to consider how I’m doing. My method of coping is to not cope, but to distract myself, with anything and everything tangible. This is why I knit obsessively and clean mindlessly, and I tell myself that I am preparing our home for when the children come back, and that it will be soon. I found knitting needles in the thrift store for Gary, and yarn in his favorite color. I’m collecting empty milk jugs so he and his brother can make a raft and learn a lesson on buoyancy when they come back. I wish I could tell them that I miss them.
Bailey and I arrived early with Guinevere and Gaston so that we could reserve enough seats for the family. Unfortunately we misread the ticket for the seventh Star Wars and waited as they cleaned the seventh theatre before Edward and Alice arrived with Ginger, when he pointed to the other end of the theatre. Luckily there were still enough decent seats in a row to fit us together.
I was nervous about being that one person who brought their babies to a movie theatre. At the time, Guinevere was barely one year old, and the other two a few months each. Today I brag about how well behaved Guinevere was. She was pacified with ‘fried corn’, a fried bread pocket of cheese and corn kernels, eating it slowly and switching from wanting me to feed her like a baby to wanting to feed herself like a big girl. “If she starts fussing at all, take her out immediately,” Edward advised. When Guinevere became squirmy I sat her on the seat next to me and kept it from swinging up on her with my thigh. After the change in seating, she was content, and she would assure me as much by rubbing her greasy, cheesy little hand reassuringly on my thigh. So stinkin’ adorable.
The best part (no spoilers): when the bad guys applauded after that one guy made a speech, Guinevere was so excited about it she clapped. Baby, you’re not joining the dark side…