One day a week, for 6 hours, I feel alive and euphoric. The 6 allotted hours with my delightful boys are without a doubt, the highlight of my week. Seeing how completely relaxed and happy they are when we are together fuels me with hope and strength to get through another week. But the time is so woefully inadequate; a few hours a week in a child’s life are especially short given that children have no concept of time. I can at least look forward to the next visit and know when I will see them again.
Sammy and Benji, when they say ‘goodbye to Mama’ have no idea in their minds when or even if they will ever see their mother again. A week for a child can feel like years. If I at least saw them on a regular basis, every day or every second day or even had them for weekends, the children would have some sense of order and stability. The father told the now discredited psychologist that should he be awarded custody, he would grant me a 50-50 split and allow me to see the children ‘whenever I wanted.’ Of course, talk is cheap. He even said I could take them ‘on extended holidays to England.’ How hollow these words now sound when I cannot even see my children in kindergarten.
Sammy and Benji are denied their basic right to spend meaningful time with their mother. I have lost count of the number of applications I have made in the past 18 months for better visitation rights, for overnights and weekend access. The judge even reduced my twice monthly Sunday visits (originally from 9am to 6pm) on two occasions by half an hour each time because the father claimed a whole day was too long for the children to spend with their mother and ‘disrupted their routine!’ Every application about visitation since then has simply been ignored, without any justification, for which the judge now has to account as she faces disciplinary investigation.
The days after a visit are especially hard. Holding the children so close and renewing our bond, only to wake up the next day feeling so far apart again is a soul destroying and nerve breaking cycle of emotions.
I wish it would get easier but the separation only gets harder and more painful with each passing day. As I watch them growing older, approaching their 4th birthday, I am painfully aware of how much of their lives I am missing, conscious of the precious time we will never get back.
It is frustrating and agonising beyond words for me to see how Sammy and Benji are not developing as other children their age. Deprived of their mother’s love and nurturing, it is no wonder. Yet the courts, for reasons unfathomable to us all, have deemed such critical components of a child’s development as unnecessary in Sammy and Benji’s formative years. You don’t have to be an expert to know that children flourish in an environment of love and security. For those few hours a week, feeling that love and security with their mother, the children, like me, slowly come alive. After much patience and effort, they begin to respond and show promising signs of development.
But then it’s over again all too soon. The children are returned to the visiting centre, retreat and withdraw into their shells once again. All the progress I make with them, all the energy and exuberance I cram into those few compact hours, comes to an abrupt halt. They are whisked away while all I can do is count down the days until the next visit when the process starts all over again.
Please sign this PETITION and urge others to sign.