The worst part about being a divorced parent with children is summer vacation. Well, the worst part about being the primary custodian in a joint-custody situation is summer vacation. It’s not a weekend at Daddy’s, it’s not Spring Break with Daddy, it’s summer with Daddy. One full month of missing my tiny human.
One full month with no hugs, no kisses, no “Mommy, I love you!,” no bad guys to fight, no Legos to build, no giggle fests, no snuggles, no monsters to save my tiny human from, and … no baby boy.
Now, Tiny Tot already had his summer break with Daddy in June. I’ve already had my missed time. This year, however, his dad was nice enough to allow me to have every other weekend with Tiny Tot, and once a week to play with my little booger. I should be well over my “missing Tiny” phase, but I’m not. Tiny’s summer vacation has still not technically ended, seeing as his dad has been asking for (what seems like) oodles of extra play time.
I’ve been missing my tiny extension on a regular basis. Selfish as I am, all I can say is: poor me.
After summer vacation was “officially” over, according to court papers, Tiny’s daddy asked for an extra week of time to hang out with his boys. I believe I’ve said before that Tiny has an older brother. So I went the full month of June–I guess I should technically count it as 18 days, seeing as I had most of the weekends, and once a week–without my baby, and another week. By then I was Tiny Tot sick … it’s like homesick … for my booger.
Last week, on Monday morning, I jotted off a text around eleven saying that after I finished my case, and ran some supplies around to various hospitals, I would pick up Tiny Tot from preschool. Why did I send the text on a Monday, the day that Tiny should be dropped off at preschool? It’s simple. Tiny’s daddy never drops him off at preschool during that “8:30 AM drop off” that the court papers stipulate. I learned that the hard way, once, when I showed up at 2 PM, and Tiny wasn’t “there yet.”
But, as expected, I got a text back stating, “Tiny’s still with me. He says he wants to hang out with Daddy today. Is it okay if he stays through Wednesday?”
I think in response I simply sent back a sad face. He acknowledged my feelings, knowing it’s hard for me to live without my tiny tornado, but said summer was ending soon, and he would go back to being slammed with school. I agreed to the extra time.
I always do.
This week Tiny’s dad called to ask if he could pick Tiny up from Thursday through the weekend. Unfortunately, I was a bit confused, seeing as three weeks prior we had agreed to switch from Monday nights to Wednesday nights for weekday visitation. Thursday had never been in the picture. I guess I should explain here that our weekday night “floats” each semester, depending on Tiny’s dad’s schedule. Three years ago Tiny’s dad stopped working in order to better himself with an education–an education that he claimed to already have while married, but that’s a topic for another day. Therefore he has summers off, and we tailor the weekday visitation based on his school schedule.
So, I’ve been under the assumption since we talked a few weeks ago that Wednesday night was our agreed upon night. This week, though, it was suddenly Thursday. I queried, “Wait, what happened to Wednesday night? Were we not already starting that? I’m feeling very confused.”
Yes, I’m blonde, but I try to remember the important things … particularly pertaining to my son.
Tiny’s daddy said Wednesday wasn’t a problem at all, he had just suggested Thursday through the weekend. And then he suggested the one thing I really didn’t want him to suggest. He asked if he could keep Tiny Tot from Wednesday through the weekend, instead of Thursday through the weekend. Immediately, sadness filled me, straight to the core.
Usually I am very complacent, and I don’t really argue. This time, however, I very bluntly told Tiny’s dad, “Look, I’m going to have to think about it. I miss my kid. I feel like I never see him anymore. He’s been with you a lot lately, and all the extra time is killing me.”
Tiny’s dad said, “I understand. I know summer is hard on you, but it’s the only time I have free during the year where I can get him for longer. The summer will end soon, and things will go back to normal. It’s just a suggestion; think about it.”
That night, talking to Tiny, he asked whether he wanted to see daddy on Wednesday or Thursday. Tiny initially said Thursday, which made me happy. One more day with Son Son. Last night the phone call discussion was very different. Wednesday and Thursday were no longer random days of the week, they were, “tomorrow night, or Thursday.” Tiny realized the time difference, and chose Wednesday over Thursday. He repeated his decision this morning, saying he wanted Daddy to pick him up “today.”
I acknowledged Tiny’s feelings. But, unlike every other time where I stifle my emotions, I let my booger know what I was thinking. I told Tiny the same thing I told his daddy, “But, I miss you. I never see you anymore. We never get to play very much anymore. Do you want to spend one more night at home? We can watch a movie, play games, eat queso, build Legos?”
Bribery, all the way. I even threw in a frowny face.
… No, I’m not proud that I did that, but I miss my booger.
Tiny, in all of his wisdom, explained to me, “It’s okay, Mommy. After I finish playing with my daddy, I’ll come home to you. You don’t have to be sad, because when I come back home, you’ll be happy again. I promise to come back, and you can FaceTime with me every night. Deal?”
Dude, I’m raising an 60 year old man.
I could put my foot down and tell his dad that court-ordered visitation is court-ordered visitation, and we will not deviate from that, ever. But then, that’s never been my belief. I believe that court-mandated visitation rights are the minimum amount of time that the child is allowed to see the other parent, not the maximum. Now, I’ve been warned that it could backfire on me, and Tiny’s dad might have a nefarious plot up his sleeve, but I would like to believe that if that ends up being the case, my side will be understood. Children should be allowed to see their parents, without dangling a court document over their heads.
Because of that, Tiny’s dad and I are free to flop weekdays dependent on schedule, change weekends, and take extended periods. I took Tiny to see his aunt for close to two weeks one summer, for a week vacation to Indiana and Georgia another summer, and another week and a half to Louisiana last summer. When I get called into work, or when my cases run late, Tiny’s dad is one of the four people I call to pick up Tiny until I can get off work. When Tiny’s dad needs an extra day or two to study for a test, we push back time, or I pick him up early from his dad’s.
We work together for Tiny’s benefit, because he is more important than our differences. Which is how I feel it should be, despite my personal feelings about Tiny’s father. And, because of this, Tiny feels free to say that once he’s done playing at Daddy’s house, he will come home to see his momma.
But, at the end of the day, I’ll still miss him, until life returns “back to normal.”