By Jack Johnson on November 25, 2013
As the Holidays roll around the corner, I find myself in deep thought more than ever. I'm suddenly more aware of the unusual lives my children and I live and the impact it has on all of us.
Fortunately, I have custody of my son (he's at dad's only every other weekend). However, it's a different story with my daughter. I spend every other week without her. Her father and I currently share custody (50/50). Can you imagine not knowing what your child's world consists of half of the time? I'm kicking myself now for decisions I've made in the past. Why I thought a 50/50 custody arrangement was the best thing for my child-I'll never know. My heart aches when she's away-in fact I try to not allow my brain to "go there". If I think about her, my stomach instantly feels as if it's just been kicked.
This isn't natural. It isn't natural for a mother to be away from her child half of the time. Recently, while having dinner with friends, one of the parents mentioned that their son was away from home for ten days, staying at the grandparents. Another friend said, "Wow, that's a long time for your kid to be away." I just listened; thinking about the fact that I go seven days without seeing my child, every other week. That means, I go 14 days a month without seeing my child. I literally will only spend half of my child's life with her.
This year, I do not get to spend Thanksgiving with my children, as they will be at their dad's. Can you imagine spending these Holidays alone? Sitting at a dining room table with other family members and their children over a turkey dinner, while your own children are not present? I think all parents who have to "share" their children know exactly what I'm talking about. They understand that although we "are used" to our situations-it will never feel natural. It will never seem fair; not to us and not to our kids. Maybe that's what hurts the most-the impact these arrangements have on them. I can't imagine growing up and having two homes, two (often four) different families, and not being able to share special moments, Holidays, and every day experiences together, with ALL the people I love. I was fortunate enough to grow up with both parents in one home. I can not relate to my children and what it's like for them. Although they know only what they've yet to experience-does it feel unnatural to them as well? Or is this the "norm" because they don't know any differently?
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