My daughter spends every other weekend with her dad. It’s mostly consistent, changing if we’re traveling or illness. He’s pretty good about it. I’m going to try my hardest to be objective here, so go with that.
When we first broke up, he would come on Wednesdays and spend a few hours with Zoe, but that proved to be a big challenge for all of us. He doesn’t have a car. Doesn’t want to have a car. I would prefer he did, but that’s not my choice or responsibility.
Last night, after weekend with Daddy, Zoe starts weeping in the car. We had been at my parent’s house for dinner and it was after 8:00 pm. I thought she was just tired. I asked her what was wrong and she burst out into tears. ”How come I don’t get to see Daddy more? I only get Friday and Saturday and half of Sunday. I want to spend a week there.” Whoa.
She went on to cry about how she only gets to go see him every other weekend and that she wanted to spend one week here with me and one week with him. She cried herself to sleep. I thought she was just tired, but it was the first thing she asked about this morning.
I told her I was very proud of her because she was able to tell me what she wanted. I also told her that we could have a family meeting and discuss between all three of us. I know that it is challenging to appear to choose one parent over the other, or at least that’s how she sees it. She was afraid I would be mad. I’m not. She’s afraid her dad won’t let her spend a week with him. I don’t think that will happen, but I don’t control that. She was not throwing a fit, she was sad. I get that. I’ve been there.
Now, I have always been very open about visitation. I am 100% for Zoe spending all the time she wants and needs with her dad. It doesn’t matter what our parenting plan says. I don’t care. If that is what she wants, that’s fine. We have never disagreed about that. I have never and will never restrict access to Zoe.
Her father is a variable I cannot always predict. I do believe his #1 priority is Zoe. I do not question his commitment or love for his daughter in any way. He just never seems really interested in going more than two days at a time or calling when he’s not with her. I don’t get that but that’s his deal.
So now we have this situation where Zoe wants to spend more time with her dad. How will she get to school? How will she get back to him? Her day to day is in this part of the world. His world starts downtown. Not too far, but when you don’t have a car, that offers some logistics problems. I’ve asked him to talk to me about things we can do to work this out and I’m interested in where that conversation is going to go.
But then there’s this – I don’t know what it’s like to not be with Zoe. I get four nights a month on my own. I don’t know what to do with more. I fantasize about it sometimes, but not really. When Zoe started spending the weekend with her dad, I was relieved but it gave me insight into the emptiest you could ever feel. Ever. And with the MS traveling like he’s on the campaign trail, my heart and hope are tenuous. I know I can be alone, I’ve done it and been fine. I just don’t like it.
That said, I would do anything to make sure Zoe is happy and healthy. Which means, I will take every step I can to ensure she gets more time with her dad. It’s just so bittersweet. I hope that she’s not disappointed.