Divorce and Missing the First Day of School

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One of the things about divorce that you really never get used to is that you will miss milestones. That’s just how it goes. You may miss trick-or-treating for the first time with them for Halloween. You may miss first steps or the first real sentence they string together. The moment they learn, at last, to ride a bike. When you have them only half time, as I do, these things happen. And they happen in intact families as well. Fathers or mothers at work miss first steps or first words or that magical first grin that isn’t just gas. It’s not particularly tragic, it’s just life and it’s another casualty of divorce: missed milestones.

On Tuesday, the twins start Kindergarten. It is not my week, meaning it is not a week I have my kids. They are with their dad. So getting them ready for school, packing their lunch, snapping that photo (as I did with my eldest) of the two of them on the front lawn, smiling eagerly into the camera, will not be mine this year. I will go to their school on Tuesday morning and see them, and bring my camera and give them hugs and encouragement before they walk in the door. But still, it’s different than if they were here with me; it just is.

I am now a whiz at the custody calendar. Roo has mapped out the year week by week, where the kids are so that I can glance at it and know when they are with me and when they are not. I knew last year that they would not be with me on the day they started Kindergarten and so I’m prepared for it. When I saw the school calendar, I scanned the first few weeks and with relief saw that picture day fell on my week. And that cheered me up, to know I would be getting them ready and picking out their outfits and doing their hair in preparation for their class photos. So I’m looking forward to that.

Just now as I was looking through photos for this post, I saw a picture of my daughter showing off the gap in her teeth after having lost her first tooth. I found too, a picture of my son's first smile, which I remember so clearly, after his months and months of colic. Then another of my eldest daughter on her first day of first grade.

And then in among all those photos, this one, which in a way is a milestone too: their first snowcone. Which may not seem like anything special, but it's something and I remember it.

First Snow Cone


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