The Wiggles and the Wails


Did you ever notice how sweaty The Wiggles always were in concert? That creeps me out. (Photo by godverbs, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.)


To all of my readers who are parents, I want you to think back.

Remember the days when your baby wouldn’t take a nap to save his life. When he would fuss endlessly, burrow his fuzzy head into your shoulder, then whimper pathetically, but the second you even came close to the crib: Screaming. Bloody. Murder.

Remember the times when your baby would fight bedtime with everything in her — as if it were her sole purpose in life, the very battle for which she was placed on this earth to prepare to wage. So you would gently rock her in her favorite chair and hum, mumble, pray — anything, really — that would help her connect to your voice and drift off to sleep.

(Personally, given that I had no recollection of the “Hush Little Baby” lullabye, I’d make up silly words to fit the rhyming pattern: “And if that looking glass won’t see, Mommy’s going to buy you a circus flea. And if that circus flea won’t jump, Mommy’s going to buy you a gasoline pump. And if that gasoline pump should leak, Mommy’s going to dress up like a freak…” so on and so on. Fingers crossed I won’t have therapy issues down the road thanks to that stirring improv…)

Anyhow, remember those times?

Well guess what? This happened to me tonight. And my kids are 8 and 11.

My goal is to use this blog to focus on healing, but it’s also a very real reflection of my personal journey toward my next best self — what I call Me 2.0. So tonight, that journey includes a quick diversion from the main highway down a dark and lonely dirt road.

Just so happens that I ride this same dusty road every other week: My kids leave my custody tomorrow. And they are crying like babies tonight.

And my heart is broken, yet again.

As I sat beside my daughter’s bed tonight, her fighting sleep and sobbing despondently while telling me how much she wants to never leave again, me running my fingers through her hair and trying to distract her with stories and jokes, it occurred to me how familiar the feeling was. How much this seemed like those days from years ago when I would have given anything to help her drift off to peaceful slumber.

I even slowly backed out of her room tonight once she was officially “gone,” praying that I would successfully navigate around the squeaky board just inside and to the right of her door entrance. Years ago, that very board was frequently to blame for a jolt from the crib followed by a wail — and my return to the rocking chair for Round 13 of an eventual 22.

The only difference between then and now: Tonight’s battle didn’t follow copious rousing renditions of “Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga, Big Red Car” with The Wiggles.

Thank God for small miracles.

For any of you out there who has been through a divorce and shares custody: What do you do to ease the transition? How do you help your sobbing children, tears streaming down their faces, begging you to not make them go?

Because the distractions aren’t working in my home — the anecdotes and jokes seemingly fall on deaf ears. I even resorted to telling them about how I used to sing the silly made-up songs from their babyhood — no luck.

So, if anyone has ideas, please share. Cuz I’m about to break out The Wiggles, and that won’t be good for any of us…

8 thoughts on “The Wiggles and the Wails

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      It is a crazy-difficult situation, but the only ones I truly care about are my amazing children. The rest of us are adults — they’re the ones who need help navigating these tumultuous waters!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      (So I have no idea what the above comment says what with it being in French and all, I just think it’s super cool to get a comment in French!

      Something about researching a woman in New Zealand as soon as possible? Hmmm….)


  1. Trish Cardona says:

    I learned about your blog from the Time article — and I was fully prepared to not like it because it was going to be cynical and jaded and anti-marriage.

    But it’s not. It’s inspirational and heartbreaking (like this post), and most of all expletive-filled (with good reason). I have a sailor’s mouth too but I try to keep that at bay for the most part on my blog because I do not have as good a reason as you do (I am jealous sometimes).

    I know we can all be blind-sided by life. Believe me I know (and it had to do with my marriage too). I think the most heartbreaking thing is seeing the innocents suffer through it. It’s so hard to comprehend why someone who’s already stolen from you would want to hurt you more and do it through the innocent kids. IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

    (Insert words of wisdom here or encouraging comments because I just don’t have any. My mind is too freakin’ fried by M’s bitchiness!!!)

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I don’t know how this possibly happened, but your comment went without a response for a very long time — and I feel horrible about that! I’m totally grateful for the support and encouragement, and I typically try to respond to everyone. Ugh…

      Anyhow, please know that your words were probably more important for me to read today (in May) than when you posted them. It’s been a rough few weeks, So thank you from the bottom of my heart!


  2. Brade says:

    Just want to say I’ve started reading this blog from the beginning today, and I’m totally rooting for you and your kids. MANY people in my extended family have been through divorce–maybe one small reason why I’m still single at 33 😀 I’m definitely freaked out by the tenuous nature of relationships–it seems a tightrope has to be walked by two people who are willing to give their best efforts.

    My life’s motto is: empathy, balance, loyalty.

    If everyone were mindful of these three things, we’d have a pretty rockin’ world 😉

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow, Brade – I’m so glad you stopped by, and your words of encouragement are just what I needed today. Thank you for taking the time to comment and read … I’m forever grateful!

      As for being single at 33 … it’s better than the alternative: I was divorced at 34! Part of me wishes I had waited as long as you to make my decisions, because I think the longer you live, the more diverse the experiences — and the more you know yourself. And that’s integral to committing to a person. I don’t give my ex a pass … because I was young when I married too, yet I was able to remain loyal. But I do think with age comes self-awareness. And before self-awareness, how can you possibly be other-aware?

      Anyhow, again — thank you for the amazing comment. Love your life motto, btw…

If you do not leave a comment, you will further shatter my already broken spirit. If you can live with that guilt, so be it... ;)

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