I am missing Trinity tonight. This is only the third weekend she has gone to her dad’s house (every other, that is) and I feel resentfulhatefulangry at the idea of having to share time with my child.
You never think about parenting like this. I didn’t endure 9.5 months of grueling pregnancy and then 2 perfect years of family bliss to expect things to come down as they did.
Explaining divorce to a four year old through the means of children’s books: “Don’t fall apart on Saturdays”.
Discussing how talking about ‘Prince Matthew’ to dad might be a bad idea.
Providing a travel calendar in her weekend suitcase to ensure he knows his time next month.
How am I going to make it through June? Being away every single week, even for just an evening?
I can barely make it two days (every other weekend, Friday through Sunday at 5pm) without worrying about my baby, wanting to hear her voice, put her to bed, tell her I love her.
But then some weeks it feels like this time together will never end. When I’m riding her ass and she’s driving me crazy. I’m yelling and she’s talking back. And I think I’ll blow a gasket before it’s “Daddy-daughter” weekend.
What I miss is when life felt simpler. When I thought I was living the ‘American Dream’, with my husband and my beautiful baby girl- and three matching last names. When I had it all.
What I miss is feeling like I had a partner in parenting. Like I had someone equally invested in this precious creation- someone whose dedication matched mine. Someone who would go through any lengths, just as I would go through any lengths, to ensure she has a happy childhood- a happy life.
I guess those ‘good ol years’ mainly happen at the beginning. When parents forget about themselves, enamored by their infant.
Where the little one dazzles and amazes us so wholly that you don’t realize you have forgotten yourself.
But then you remember. The strive to be flawless and innocent for your child is too steep a mountain to climb. So you re-embrace your vices, and fall back into selfish ways.
And things fall apart.
Like my marriage. And the trust. Our commitment to putting her needs first.
And this is our life now. He and I don’t communicate. She doesn’t call him to say good-night. He does not know what her life is like here, with Mommy, for two-week stretches at a time.
Does he know she knows how to write almost all of her alphabet?
Or that her favorite song to sing with me is “You and Me?”
That her Barbie movie collection has grown, and she has recently decided to become an astronaut?
Or that I’m struggling to tell her the truth that her “magical powers” that lock and unlock the car is really just my keys?
I wanted to share the excitement when she finally learned to snap. Or her first visit from the toothfairy.
I needed him there when she had to have dental work, and I couldn’t hold her hand and fix her blanket at the same time.
I know I am not the only parent living like this. And I’m not complaining, because I know that ending our marriage was the right choice. There are always just going to be these things- little things- that I’ll feel robbed of, and where I feel guilty that things aren’t different for her.
You may plan on falling in love, plan on getting married. Plan on starting a family and creating a home.
But you don’t plan on a change of plans. You take for granted that someone may change their mind.
You don’t create a contingency plan, a backup plan. And so here I have found myself, since October 2010, trying to figure out how to swim my way through this unplanned, uncharted territory.