I shut the door when they are gone

If you walked into my house right now, you wouldn’t know I have children.

My FloorMy house is clean. Not that a house with kids can’t be clean, but it can’t. I know you know what I mean. When my kids lived with me, my house was clean, presentable, for about 30 seconds a week, and those were the 30 seconds immediately after finishing the cleaning. Without fail, they would wake up as soon as I finished, and the mess would too.

When I was a kid, I thought Pig Pen was a funny little character. As a parent, I realize he is EveryKid.

If you walked into my house right now, you wouldn’t know I have children.

Our BooksThere are no toys or tiny shoes guiding your way through from front door to back. There are no stacks of picture books or letter games. There are no piles of coats or dress-up clothes. There are no sippy cups or small snack bowls. There are no rocking horses or rocking chairs. There are, you just can’t see them. They hide behind the closed door; it hides the evidence of my life, their life, our life.

My closed-door has taken on a new meaning. It is no longer to hide my shame from the world, but from myself.

If you walked into my house right now, you wouldn’t know I have children.

My WallThere are no pictures on the walls. There are no framed pictures on desks or tables. The pictures and the picture frames are all still in boxes, buried deep in a closet I do not open. The albums are still in boxes too. There is no artwork on the fridge. There are no playdough sculptures displayed on shelves. Their smiles are hidden, locked away, boxed.

I cannot look in their eyes, because their eyes cannot look into mine. I cannot see their faces everyday, because I cannot see their faces everyday.

If you walked into my house right now, you wouldn’t know I have children.



  1. If I looked into your heart there is no doubt that you do.

    1. And it is in my heart that they live.

  2. i can hear your heartache. ((hugs))

  3. Oh no! I can’t imagine how awful that scenario is. I’m sorry.

    1. This is an empty that is worse than empty because it shouldn’t be.

  4. Melanie, my heart is breaking…

    1. Mine is too.

  5. You do what you have to do to stay sane. I’m sure it would be even more heartbreaking to have everything up and be reminded every second of what you don’t have right now. Stay strong!

    1. You’re right. I’m not ready to face that yet. Someday I’ll probably think I was silly for keeping their pictures out of sight.

  6. Beautiful, heartbreaking, difficult to read. But if you can survive it day to day, surely I can read it. This will haunt my thoughts all day and beyond … and you will be tucked inside them …

    1. You are a beautiful woman Judy. Thank you, dearly.

      1. Oh. Thank YOU …

  7. Beautiful, but so sad. I pray that soon you will be able to have your pig-pen mess again. As irritating as I know it can be at times, It’s every bit as beautiful, too. I know you miss them. Hugs, sweety.

    1. Thank you for the hugs. It’s odd, you know, I never thought I would miss tripping on toy cars and tiny shoes, but I do. But I think it’s really less the mess, and more the joy of watching them grow that I miss.

  8. Melanie,
    You just rocked my world. In the beginning of your post, I was screaming, “You got that right, Sistah. Kids destroy cleanliness.” I was going to comment on how I found a piece of bagel and cream cheese under the bed. At the end of your post, you made me grateful for poo in the bathtub. Thank you for that.
    I agree with Jonathan. Your children are in your heart. They can feel your love and they are hugging you right now. I, too, had to spend some time away from my children which makes me savor every moment I get to spend with them now. I know you do the same. That gratitude and appreciation is a gift. It would be worse if we saw our children everyday, but took it for granted.
    {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

    1. I must admit, I did giggle at the poo in the tub story. To us, it’s unsanitary, to them, it’s a dirty butt butt.
      It is tough not to have them pulling my hair out everyday, but I appreciate our time together so much more now. Now, what we have is trouble free. We don’t have time to get sick of each other, we don’t have time to fight, we just love, hug, kiss, giggle, and snuggle. It’s a beautiful piece of the tragedy.

  9. Dearest Melanie,
    I know the trials you face. Even having joint custody of the twins was not enough. I would become sad walking by their empty room while they were away. My wife, who at the time didn’t have a child, would say, “But you just saw them yesterday and you’ll see them tomorrow.” True, but I didn’t see them TODAY.

    I’ve come to peace with it now, mostly because Baby C keeps me occupied at nearly all times, but I know the feeling. I can only encourage you, again, to keep fighting for those children. You will eventually get them back so stay strong and don’t let up. And if you ever need a kick in the ass I’ll be more than happy to provide it. 😉

    1. That’s why I shut the door to their room. I don’t have to look at the empty bedroom and lonely toys. I will quote you: divorce is ugly business. There is no fair. Someone gets left out of something with everything.
      I will keep fighting. No matter what bruises I get in the battle, and there are plenty, because it is a fight worth fighting. And I do appreciate the support. It adds to my strength.

  10. I love you!

speak loudly, donkeys are sleeping

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