I would do anything for my daughter. Without question. We are a team. I don’t remember really what my life was like before her. I don’t want to remember what it was like before it was just us. So when she asked to spend Christmas Eve and morning at her father’s house, I said it was fine. ”It’s ok with me if it’s ok with your Dad,” I said.
But I was lying. It’s not ok with me. It crushes me.
Zoe has been really missing her dad recently. It’s understandable. I can’t go too long without seeing my father or talking to him, and I’m 43. The dad deficit has been rearing it’s head a bunch recently. While it’s a normal experience for a kid of divorce, it still causes me great emotional strife to see Zoe struggle with it.
I wanted her to be raised in a house with two parents. I did not choose this life. Let me clarify, I did not have a choice. It was survival. I always tell Zoe that we got divorced because we wanted her raised in a happy home and in our case, the only way that was going to happen was in two happy homes.
It’s a struggle for her, I know. It’s hard to understand why we get along when we intersect on her behalf and yet, we can’t be married. She doesn’t know how challenging that is for both of us and I hope she never does. I work very hard to make everything ok when we are all together and imagine he does too, although I cannot speak for him. I’ve started setting new boundaries, like not celebrating anything together at one of our homes. It’s just confusing for her and it drains me of all of my energy. For days.
On Zoe’s birthday, we met for dinner and we were a little early for our reservations. I suggested we go to the park and let Zoe run around. EH (ex-husband) said he didn’t want to do that. Zoe said “let’s go to the house and show Daddy the kitten,” to which I promptly declined. We went to the restaurant early and hung out in their lounge area. The best option in my mind.
For the last three Christmases, we have gone in the morning to get Zoe’s father and have present opening at my house. I was dreading that this year. I started dreading that in August. With Zoe’s request, we won’t have that issue this year and that’s positive.
What’s not positive is the utter emptiness and depression that’s set in with the understanding that my daughter will not be with me on Christmas Eve and morning. You can’t have everything I suppose, but ugh. Last year she was with him for Christmas Eve and I cried all day. Seriously.
I’m trying to muster up all the healthy selflessness I can find, but it’s going to be a challenge. I want Zoe to know her dad and I want her to feel secure and loved by him. I don’t control what happens in the future, but I can do my best to give her the stability to voice her desires when she can, and help her get what she needs. Even if it’s not from me.