The girls are with their dad for the next two weeks for summer vacation. I’m trying to keep it together and not be sad. In my zen, you can feel your destiny with your higher calling and inner voice moments (thank you, Oprah), I can rise above, understand this time with their dad is good for them, even feel warmth and kindness and forgiveness. Time spent with their dad and with their grandmother is crucial to growing up. Their love for their father does not detract from the love for me or for anyone else in their family. Our hearts are big enough for everyone in our family.
And then the rivulets and streams of fear and doubt that have been carved by years of hearing my children whisper their worries, seeing them doubt themselves, cry at what happens at dad’s house, seeing them struggle with being responsible for their dad—trickle in at the corners of my mind. At the dull sound of my DD1’s voicemail—sure, maybe she’s having a bad day at that moment, or maybe he’s standing right there and she feels like she can’t sound happy to be talking. I know I can’t control what happens at his house.
It’s difficult to believe that everything is going to be okay. I know I have to hold onto the railing of the roller coaster, close my eyes, let the wind whip my hair and the car speed down the track, head for the loop-di-loop and know we’ll be back in the station soon.
Ten ways to cope when your kids are on an extended visitation:
1) Do your favorite hobby—in my case, surfing. When you’re doing something you love, the stress will fall away, even if it’s just for a little while, it’s worth it. Or…try a new hobby that you’ve always been interested in, and never have time to do.
2) Exercise. Yes, I’ve become one of those annoying exercise freaks, I admit it. When you’re leaping around doing cardio and sweating bullets, the last thing on your mind is worrying, because you’re concentrating on not tripping over yourself and falling flat on your face (or in my case, side), it builds endorphins, and not only do you feel proud of what your body can accomplish, you’re filling up your body with healthy juju that has lasting effects.
3) Take a hot bath with a book—if you’re into hot baths and books, that is. Bubbles are nice, too.
4) If you have an SO in your life, spend time doing something special together, date night—or not. Running errands, or just getting out and about doing “normal” couple things can be fun, too. It’s just intertwining time together in a way that makes you feel good.
8) Girlfriend time! Laughing with girlfriends is balm to the soul.
9) In the middle of the night, if you wake up because you might be worried, take 10 deep breaths—and hold a happy or funny or random memory/experience with your kids in your mind.
10) Know you’re prepared to take action should something concerning arise, but believe and hope for the best. Just like everything else that has happened in your life, court battles, litigation, crappy a$$ emails/texts: this too will pass. They’ll be home soon.
Dear God, please give my daughters courage to be themselves. Please give them love. Please help them know that their hearts are big enough for everyone in their family. Please help them know that loving their mom doesn’t meant they love their dad less, and loving their dad doesn’t have mean they can’t love their mom, too.
p.s. I miss their little voices and their hugs and laughter! I guess I don’t miss the arguing (that’s MINE. not FAIR! Or it’s MY TURN) and crankiness that comes when they’re tired/hungry. It’s funny how a little something like my chair dancing when hubby and I were watching Rock of Ages (omg, that movie is hilarious), reminds me of DD2, dancing in her chair at the dinner table, walk like an egyptian style; I guess I see where she gets it from.