First off, I feel like I should go over the custody schedule we’ve setup for our daughter before I ramble on too much. My ex and I observe a 5-2-2-5 custody schedule. I always have our daughter Mon/Tues nights, my ex has Wed/Thurs nights, and we alternate Fri/Sat/Sun. Our exchange occurs at school/child care, and we usually provide a courtesy text or email to update the other parent about any new behaviors, when she last bathed, etc… Now, on to the feels.
There’s this thing that I’ve been struggling with for the last month or two. When my daughter and I have our longer stretch of time together and we have to say goodbye on that last day we both struggle with it. It’s even harder on me if we had a spectacular five days together, or if we spent most of the time traveling and didn’t have a last day to relax and unwind together. On more than one occasion I have driven away with a tear or two leaking out. Any other day of the week I’d say goodbye, see you after school, and we go our separate ways with no incident.
My daughter simply refuses to let me go when I drop her off at school, which makes it even harder for me to keep composed. I can see in my child’s face that she is having complex feelings, but either she doesn’t know how to articulate them, or she just chooses not to.
The rest of that day I’ll experience a feeling that I am not fond or proud of… I GET MAD.
I’m mad at my ex for making the decisions she did. I’m mad that I didn’t have a choice in just about any of this. I’m mad that her decisions have taken away half the days I’d normally get to watch my daughter grow up. Add to that the lingering thought that those days are already finite and I get pissed.
I understand all too well that there’s a point where our daughter will start her own life, without us in it daily. I assume when it happens a new version of what I’m feeling right now will emerge, but I think it’ll be bittersweet feelings and I’m pretty sure any residual anger will be gone.
There’s absolutely nothing I’ve ever loved more than being a father, and even though that can’t be taken away from me it’s hard not to feel like it has, at least partially…
Right now there’s a pity party for one over here and I’m feeling like the victim. This is not the kind of person I am, but I’ve become a different person from when I was married. That is a topic for a different time though.