Absentee Motherhood

I understand how it feels for a mother to live each day without their child.  Though I never legally relinquished custody of my daughter, financial pressures forced me to look for another way to support us.  I understand how my maternal grandmother felt when she was desperately seeking a way to support herself and my mom and how her best efforts failed in the end.

It is interesting how familial patterns can pass down through the generations.  In my case, I took a leap of faith that I could drive an 18-wheel truck.  I didn’t know whether or not I would succeed and so, took my daughter to her paternal grandmother for care.  Though the court granted me custody in the uncontested divorce from her father, he also refused to pay me any child support.  I was not about to spend my life in court fighting him for it and so, I looked for another way.

What I thought was temporary, just as my grandmother had thought she was only leaving my mom temporarily, turned out to be permanent for both of us.  My grandmother lost my mom due to pressures from Georgia Tann to surrender her.  Miss Tann had a repeat, paying customer who was growing impatient to have her specifications for a baby sister fulfilled.

In my case, I was able to drive that 18-wheel truck.  My ex-husband remarried a woman with a child and together they had another child, a yours-mine-and-ours family.  So that when my time on the road ended, it made no sense to take my daughter from a family life as I would have still been a struggling single mom.  Fortunately, my daughter and I remain close at heart, though not long ago she admitted to me there were times that being separated were not happy ones for her.

In the mid-1970s, there were no role models for absentee mothers.  I have resolved some of my difficult feelings of having failed my daughter but not all of them.  At least, I was able to have sporadic contact with her growing up and continue to have a relationship with her in adulthood.  Mothers who have lost their children to adoption do not always have as good of an outcome.  Even so, I have empathy for the difficult decisions each of them had to make.

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