I have been a single mom for a few years now, but issues with visitation in the summer just seem to get harder and harder for me. I've been walking around all morning on the verge of tears just because my kids are going to be at their dad's, away from me, for probably the next 3 or 4 days. That doesn't seem like much, but it feels like they'll be gone forever, and there will be more of that as the summer goes on.
The longer visits have happened in previous summers, but this year somehow seems harder. I believe that many of you are two-parent families that have never gone through this, but are there any of you who have had to deal with this in your family? How have you dealt with it?
I know that I have much reading, housekeeping, gardening, and other projects that I am always wanting more kid-free time to tackle, but those things seem to pale in comparison to having my kids around. What is making it worse is that over the past several months, my oldest daughter is having a lot of struggles with all of this, and she has taken to grandly announcing that I won't be seeing much of her this summer since she plans to spend an entire month at her dad's, mostly without her siblings around. (He hasn't asked me about that, so I believe it is her idea.) I understand that it is very stressful having to deal with an aggressive, autistic brother, so I can see why she wants to "get away" for awhile. But she also has taken to referring to her dad's girlfriend as her stepmom, even though her dad and I are still married and he is living with the girlfriend.
We do not have a visitation schedule since we have not gone to court about anything, but we've always worked out a schedule kind of as we go along. I felt it would be best to establish a routine of sorts during the school year, so they have been seeing him every Wednesday afternoon and returning Thursday morning, and then every other weekend to coincide with his girlfriend's visitation with her daughter (who currently lives with her dad). We've never set up anything for the summer, and he didn't seem to want to spend much time with them until he started dating this woman two years ago.
I know that summer will go by so quickly, and I don't really want them gone all of the time, but I know they need to spend time with their dad. So, I'm torn over this....and I really just think it's having them gone for larger chunks at a time that is bothering me. My word, what am I going to do when they are all grown up and leave the nest? I'd better start working on that game plan someday soon!
Thanks for letting me vent. Looking to buy a large box of "tissues for issues...."