We went back to it being the three of us again. The therapy sessions died down, and soon life was somewhat normal again.
I would have these moments sometimes where it would hit me unexpectedly. They mostly came at school functions, where I'd see the two happy parents and the two happy children, and the dad would carry his child around his shoulders or whisper something to his wife, and tears would spring to my eyes. That'll never be me. That'll never be us, I would think. Thankfully, most of these moments would happen in the great L.A. outdoors, where my sunglasses could hide the well-ups.
Another one I remember is when Riley performed on a stage for the first time. Miraculously, X had managed to be around for most of Sylvia's performances. And, again, I wasn't even thinking of it purposefully. But as I looked at my little girl up there, and all the parents watching and smiling, I thought, Riley deserves two parents out here.
But most of the time, things went fine.
Unfortunately, just after that school year ended (Riley completed her year of kindergarten, and Sylvia was going into 4th grade), we learned that the girls would have to go to another school the next year. When we'd moved, I hadn't checked the address to make sure we were still in our neighborhood school. We weren't. A few weeks before the school year had ended, I'd received a letter from the school asking me about it. I poured out the whole story. I'd thought that they'd decided to let them stay. But not two days after school was out - two days too late to say proper goodbyes to their friends - we were informed that we wouldn't be welcomed back.
The girls were disappointed, of course, but we concentrated on the positive aspects. They would now be attending the same school as the other kids in the building. So they went into a new school for Riley's first and Sylvia's fourth grades with a good attitude.
X was released early, but thankfully, decided to go back to northern California where his family was. So it really wasn't that big a deal when I got the call - again, on Riley's birthday - that he was in jail again.