The Year We Came Home
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The Year We Came Home

The first time in my life where joint custody didn't dictate our lifestyle

The Year We Came Home
Andie Lollo

Even though I no longer had to see one side of my family, that didn't mean my sisters were excused from the misery. Those were the times when I finally got to see the other side of divorce, the side my parents had to see. The other end of joint custody.

I never realised how lonely it was in my house when my sisters left. It was only my parents and my brother in the house with me, and it didn't feel quite right. It felt like I should have been nagging to them about something petty, or I should have at least felt annoyance by their constant running around and screaming.

But there was silence.

Everything was empty.

I finally got to spend Father's Day with my stepdad (Quick note: I call him Dad. He is the only one I ever call Dad). I finally got to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. I finally didn't have dread for the day after Christmas. It was liberating, but it was so, so lonely.

As much as I thought I hated my sisters, and as much as they drove me insane and no matter what I said, I missed them. When they would leave all I would think about is various forms of worry.

Did he feed them?

Are they bathed well?

Is he treating them well?

When are they coming back home?

I finally knew what it was like to be the parent that dreaded letting go of their child. When they would come back, I finally had to see the other end of damage control. I felt tense, always on suspense, waiting for their return to commence.

It was a suspense that would kill me over and over again.

This has been a regular ritual since I was fourteen, and it was a yearly thing. However, this year, my birth father never asked to see them. Not even once. We didn't push the issue, because we didn't want them to go, and he finally started to show that he didn't want them either.

We were free.

This was the first year I ever spent with my whole family, all together, in one place.

My sisters and I spent Father's Day together with my Dad. They were so overjoyed they stayed up until three in the morning working on presents for him. For the first time I could remember, we all sat around the table together for Thanksgiving. There wasn't a single missing chair, no void and nothing empty. And this year, none of us had to ever pack our bags for any random visits. None of us felt dread for the day after Christmas.

If anything, I felt excitement. My best friend Lily was coming from Ohio to visit me and we would exchange our presents.

For the first time, for a whole year, we were free.

That's such a beautiful word - free.

A whole year of nothing but freedom and free only meant that he had finally given up. It meant that he was not going to ask for them ever again.

It meant we were finally free.


And now, for the first time, my family stands together, united. We are happy. We are free.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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