Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Coping With Back to School

This time last year I was preparing to put my oldest on a school bus for the first time. He had never ridden a bus before. He was starting kindergarten. I was a ball of emotions. I was worried about everything imaginable. How he would like school, how he would do on the bus, etc. 

This year is different. 

This year I’m emotional for very different reasons. I don’t get to put my son on the bus. 

The reality is, there’s parts of divorce that no one ever talks about. Parents missing out. Split custody. Shared custody. Whatever the case may be. I’ve shared briefly here that my ex has primary physical custody of the kids (for now). We also live an hour away from each other. The distance makes it difficult to be there for a lot of activities especially when I work full time. 

Being an hour away is why I can’t put him on the bus. When you have an hourly job and you go in late without paid time off, that cuts into bills you have to pay. I’m conflicted. My company would allow me to see him onto the bus and go in late, but then I’d be missing on hours. See where I'm torn? Gotta work to pay bills, but then you miss out on things. 

Yesterday I went to my son’s open house. I got to meet his new teacher. I saw his classroom. I made sure everyone at the school had my contact information. He was extremely excited, and I am excited for him. I hid my sadness well. Sadness because I never thought there’d be a day in his life that I wasn’t there on his first day. Honestly, I’m tearing up about it. I cried about it Monday night talking with my boyfriend. 

So how do you deal with this? How do you cope? 

Remind yourself there are worse things to miss out on. 
There's going to be more first days of school. He's only in first grade. It's not like I'm missing his high school graduation. I'm not missing a major award. Would I prefer to be there? Absolutely? Is it something to get broken up about? Probably not. But if we're being completely honest, I did get broken up about it. He's my baby. I get upset about everything that I miss. I just have to remember that this isn't the worst thing to miss in his life. 

Talk everyday. 
I call my kids every night. I ask what their favorite thing about their day was. What they did, who they played with. Everything. Some nights they're more talkative than others, but they're also 3 and 6 so conversations may be limited. With Zander going back to school, I can ask him about the bus ride, his new teacher. The main thing is that they (both) know that no matter what... no matter how far away I am... that I care more than anything in the world. 

Honestly, I felt like there'd be more to it than that.... but that sums it up. Really, just celebrate the little things. I make sure he knows how proud I am of him daily. How proud I am of both kids. They know how much I love them. They know I'm there for the big stuff. And really, that's all that matters. Like I said, yes... it sucks. But this too shall pass. 

Have you ever dealt with split custody? How did you cope with missing out on accomplishments and milestones? 

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