Friday, January 29, 2010

Fridays are Bittersweet...

Fridays are always bittersweet for me.

Three whole days of having my little boy (and the much bigger one) all to myself. But also three days without my girls. If you didn't already know, I share custody of my three oldest children with my ex husband.

I'm glad that they get to spend so much time with their dad. I loved every minute of my childhood all that much more because I had a kick ass dad. I wish I could have spent three whole days a week with him! He was a busy busy man when I was growing up. My mom definitely made up for it, but sometimes there's nothing like hanging with your Old Man.
(I remember listening to that Neil Young Album, Harvest...
Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.
and thinking 24! That's fucking OLD!)

Mom! Dad! You should have divorced and shared custody of JUST ME for a couple years. Duh.

Getting the girls ready to go is an ordeal. We have to do homework, eat and pack school clothes for Monday and going out clothes for the weekend (in case he takes them to friends' houses or the movies or MCDonalds...we don't eat fast food at our house, so one extra point for him). I have to make sure all of Rose's soccer clothes are packed, Max's playclothes are Max approved and go through the suitcase one or two extra times to see if Olivia has stowed anything dangerous or expensive away in the pockets.

I watch Elijah follow us around while we're all busy, getting ready for their departure. I feel for him, I had many siblings and although I couldn't freaking stand them, I couldn't imagine not having them around all the time. He pleads with Rose to play with him ('Pay Wo Wo, play!'), pleads with Max to color with him ('Bap! Bap! Bap!'), pleads with Olivia to let him ride her back('Me Widgy, ME!')...but they're long gone, heading out the door to Daddy Land. And he's stuck here with me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a good momma and a fun one too (most of the time), but even though I'll play with him and color with him and let him ride my back all weekend long, it doesn't compete with the joy his sisters bring him.


I think of it as Elijah getting the best of both worlds. He is the youngest of four children four days a week, with three older sisters who love and adore him (unless he's hitting them with his 'Rawr', a dangerous lion head on a pole he insists on carrying around everywhere AND sleeping with), and then three days a week he's an only child to two loving and adoring parents. Jeremiah is the youngest of four boys and I'm the oldest of five siblings, so we both have a very concise understanding of how lucky Elijah is to have parents all to himself some of the week.

Maybe he'll appreciate it later in life when I help him with a weekend science project or a writing assignment. Maybe when his sisters are older they'll come to all his skating expos or football games...or art gallery openings? Maybe eventually he'll realize that he's lucky, having his Poppa all to himself, going to the pool with him, skating with him, hiking and fishing.

As for me, I don't think I'll ever get over not seeing my girls for three whole days every week. I miss making Max's snacks and cuddling with her while we read many many books. I miss sitting with all of my children at the table, listening to them complain about whatever I made for dinner. I miss seeing Jeremiah at the piano with Rose or Liv, frustratingly doing a lesson. I miss the feeling I get before I finally get into my bed, late at night...filled with the knowledge that all of my children are safe and sleeping, right at my fingertips.

I also know that I may never get over it, but that I let go a long time ago. If I lead with a brave and beaming face, eager for the future, the rest of my family will follow...regardless of whether they're with me four days a week or seven.


Bethany said...

Wonderful attitude. This must be so hard. You have such a beautiful family.

Logical Libby said...

I don't know if I could share custody. That's why I have told Ryan that I will have to kill him if he ever decides to leave.

kara said...

you know what you need? a puppy.

no, no, no...i'm just kidding.

but if you do get one, name him The Situation, please.

Miss Yvonne said...

You have a very healthy attitude about sharing custody. I would probably be that bitch who talks smack about their dad while they're walking out the door to see him. No, not really. I would wait to do that until they leave, but I would be really grumpy right before so they know how unhappy I am on the inside. That's what good parents do, right?

hahaaa, I'm hilarious.

Ms. Moon said...

When my kids were going to their dad's on "his nights" I had to actually learn to disassociate myself from them. It was the only way to do it without going mad.
This served me well, by the way, when they grew up and moved out.
It all works out, even though it is so hard.

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Oh Erin. You are wise and mature beyond your years. i wish I'd had a mom like you.

Ask Olivia if she got those throwing stars I sent her.

John Pender said...

You are a wonderful mother.

Sam said...

Beautiful. I feel like I've been wondering about some of this stuff for a while, and you really discuss it very movingly here.

Madame DeFarge said...

Impressed by your positive attitude towards these arrangements. I'm sure that your children will benefit.

Mwa said...

I can't even imagine how hard that must be. x