My daughter is in a relationship now and this is a problem.
Not the relationship, mind you, but the fact that now her love interest is also part of a divorced family and spends some weekends at "home" and some weekends "away." And right now, they both have their "home" weekends in sync, so they get to see each other.
Until Dad needed to change up a weekend, that is. Anna's solution was emphatic. She wasn't going. Dad could just do without her. She'd stay here with me and Dad could take David without her.
But that left me with a dilemma. You see, I use every single minute of my kid-free weekends. I write A LOT. I clean the house. I decompress. And as the mother of a stubborn teenage girl and a boy with autism who's flooded with testosterone more often than not these days, I assure you, I need to decompress. And I'm honestly not thrilled with the idea of giving up my valuable and terribly scarce free time. I need that time.
But more than that...
She needs time with her father. He sees her so rarely - just twelve hours on his mid-week night, and eight of that is spent sleeping, plus the alternating weekend. Maybe it's because I grew up (and still am) a Daddy's girl, but I think it's vital that she not let her relationship with her father drift away...and it has been lately. He's getting married, she's getting older, and they're just not connecting like they used to. Or so she says. He's done nothing wrong, she's just more interested in her new squeeze and her teen life and he's being relegated to afterthought a lot of the time.
So am I, honestly, but she sees me almost every day. I can worm my way in there every so often or sidle up next to her on the couch and laugh over YouTube videos with her or something to reconnect. He doesn't have that luxury, being out of her life the majority of each week.
Bottom line - I think they need each other. I know he wants to spend the time with her, and hey - we're the parents, here. Sometimes we need to swap weekends and we've always been good about working with each other when that happens.
So I expressed my disapproval of re-arranging the re-arrange, and got a full blast of teen temper and a cutting reminder that it makes her feel just great knowing I'm so ready to get rid of her and can't stand having her around.
I hate how that makes me feel. I hate even more thinking that may be how she really feels. But I have to stick firm on this.
A girl needs her Daddy. And her Daddy, most certainly needs her.
Even when she's not speaking to either of us.
|Ellie DeLano spent four years as the Divorce Blogger for Woman's Day Magazine, chronicling her transition to single parenting and mid-life dating after decades of marriage with poignancy and humor. What she learned from her readers and her own experience was invaluable, and she shares it here with a straightforward guide to the things you really need to help you move forward after your divorce. |
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