So, family and friends, something big is happening here, and it's this: my monkey is moving to his father's house in California.
When Monkey's father and I split up, he was a baby -- only 2 years old. My ex moved out of the house, but he was always nearby, and from that time until now has had an active, and extremely consistent role in our lives, motivated completely by his very real, and very acted upon love for his son. I often crack wise, and say that if I were going to have an estranged husband, I totally picked the best one on earth, because he has always been there for both of us, no matter what pain we caused each other when we divorced. He's a good man, and I've got nothing bad to say about him.
My parents were divorced when I was 5 or 6 years old. My brother and sister and I grew up with our mother, and spent weekends and summers with my dad. I can't say it was always smooth sailing. We were well-loved; my mother worked hard to take care of us, and we spent a lot of fun time with my dad, but when I was a teenager, I found that that arrangement left me feeling like my relationship with my father lacked any real depth. Things are different for the better now, but in those days, there were battles and recriminations that emerged directly from the crushing sense of disappointment I felt in the difference between what I wanted and imagined in my archetypal vision of "A Father", and the man who actually is my father.
I love my father very, very much, but I think things were difficult for us because our circumstances never really gave him a chance to be my father, or me a chance to be his daughter. Instead of having a relationship that was built on weathering the storms of growing up together, I think we both sealed up our hearts in some ways, and I don't mean to speak for him here, but I think it's taken a long time for us to just accept each other. I don't want that to happen to my son. His father deserves every opportunity to be his father, and my son needs what his father has for him.
Since we made the decision to split up, it's always been a possibility that Monkey would, one day, go to live with his father. That time has come, in part, I think, because we have spent this past year so far away. Truthfully, I can't imagine what it's already been like for my ex not to have had his son with him every day of his life, because right now, I feel like I'm having a limb amputated. That's why, if his father wants him to live with him now, I feel like any argument I could make to keep my baby with me would only be selfish and impossible to rationalize; none of which makes it easier for me to imagine what my poor, sad life will be without my monkey.
When he and I moved here to Prague, he was nervous about what was, for him, a leap into the unknown. I told him that where ever he and I were together, we would be home. I told him not to worry, that all would be well. At the time, I thought I was comforting him by saying that, but now, thinking about how far away my sweet baby will be from me, I know I was comforting myself, too.