Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Half time, full time, not all the time

Some of you who read this blog know I was a single mom for about 7 years. I was separated in 2000, divorced in 2002, and married Mr. Silly Pants almost a year ago in October.

My biggie children live part time with their Dad. Well, not quite. Twinkletoes has lived with me full time since I bought this house with Mr. Silly in 2006. She spent a summer in Nicaragua and when she came home for her junoir year in high school she just couldn't fathom managing to "switch" any longer. We negotiated for her to live with me full time -and it was a good solution for her. When Songbird left for college, she sorta/kinda/ decided to make my home her home base - but she often sleeps at her Dad's house where she has her own bedroom while spending her waking hours here at my home. Finally, Waffles continues to follow his 2 weeks here, 2 weeks at his Dad's home. And the cat---he comes part time here with Waffles. He isn't phased a bit by living in two homes. I guess the cat is the true litmus test, huh?

But, it isn't all rosey. I NEVER ever have gotten used to the kids leaving my home to move to their Dad's home. Their dad and I have tried to make the switching easy. We live in the same neighborhood. We cooperate 'mostly' in a kind and amiable way (I say mostly because we're human - we do try to spare the kids our occassional disagreements - and we do have agreements that are our "fall back" in case we can't agree ;it is called a divorce decree). Still, you'd think I'd get used to the coming and going. I don't. I don't like switching. I feel the loss of the switch immediately and deeply.

Waffles left our house on Sunday for his 2 week stay with his Dad. I slumped. Really, I just got dragged down with missing his happy, cheerful, and fun loving person in our home. I felt the loss immediately. I would NEVER deny him the importance of his Dad's space. I don't put a guilt trip on him. I just do my best to continue .... but there are always a few really 'empty' days. Because his sisters are in college, his absence feels particularly potent this fall. So, I've been low. It's just hard, dammit.

So I do small things to stay connected. Today was a soccer game. I threw a bottle of gatorade in his back seat of his car - just to let him know I was thinking of him. Blueberry and I went to see his game and had the fun of kicking the socccer ball with him all the way back to our parked cars and his wet your whistle drink.

So, there it is. For those of you who are mom's doing it your own way, some things just never get easy. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't want it to get easy - my kids are great. I miss them. When Blueberries eyes lit up when he saw Waffles, I knew immediately he misses Waffles too.


Nancy said...

Oh I can so relate to this.

We have the same situation and I underestimated how hard it still is for my son at 23 years old. It wears on him having to spend "equal" time at both homes. When holidays hit he is torn further with guilt, and it pains me.

Both his parents have remarried and have young ones. He finds himself further in the divide.

It hurts.

M and M said...

Nancy - and you know, this post doesn't even address how my kids feel. Thank you for getting at this with sharing about the challenge of this for your son.
In our house, one set of Christian and one set of Jewish holidays ease the "decisions". And, while we are both remarried, it does seem my home is the draw for shared holidays - I have become the keeper of tradition, and it is a draw to my children. They don't like Thanksgiving at their Dad's house as it is his wife's family, etc....nice for me, but I believe they miss having their dad's attention and focus. I'm selfishly ok with this - but I know it's not best for them. Indeed, it hurts

D said...

I hear you. There's a big vacuum in our house when Jack is at his dad's. (Belo does try to talk non-stop to fill the vacuum, but...) It takes a lot of effort on my behalf to not call and talk to him every day when he's gone.

After he's gone for a couple of hours, Belo starts his continuous questioning of when Jack is coming back. No matter how much they were fighting before, he is so lonely when Jack is gone (Maxy Pants tries, but he just can't quite fill the shoes of his big, big brother.)

When I was at foster parent training sessions, one of the things they covered a lot was dealing with the foster child after s/he returned from visiting the bio parents - their emotions, pull of loyalties, acting out, etc. I never expected at that time that so much of the stuff I learned in that session would apply to my bio son upon his return from a stay at his dad's house.

Anonymous said...

Really, really appreciate this... a good "grass is always greener" lesson... mlw