When I first held Eldon, I knew that I wouldn't be returning to work after 4 months as planned. How could anybody else ever know how to care for him the way I could?
Obviously, I was madly in love with my new family and never once tried to picture a world where I would ever have to share him unwillingly.
and then this happened.
The pregnancy, the divorce, the move, the crazy. The custody arrangment.
And after 4 years of dedicating every waking second to my child, learning his cries and facial expressions, teaching him right from wrong, trying to help shape him into the person he wants to be, nurturing his soul, responding to his every need...I have to send him away for an entire week every month to go all the way to another State and be cared for by some one who doesn't even know what he likes for breakfast.
Seriously...I had to send a grocery list.
To be fair though, how is he supposed to know what Eldon eats? A preschooler's favorite foods change faster than their favorite cartoon characters. Sorry Buzz Lightyear...he has some committment issues to work out. He and batman sort of just "clicked" and well...maybe next week will be "your week." Try not to take it personally.
Still, though. There are things that are important to me that aren't so important to Eldon's dad. Like healthy eating, like not picking on him until he cries, like letting the kid play with the dollhouse and saying "I'm sorry you're hurt" instead of "you're ok." Things that are probably not likely to completely mess up my kid if done on occasion, but things that are important to me. Things that just work better, things that I have had to adapt over the years to work for us.
It's like busting your ass on that super important project, doing all of the research and putting the entire thing together, and then handing it off to somebody else who may or may not butcher the presentation.
I know that I am not the only mom who wants the carseat to be perfect, the food to be real, the feelings to be addressed, the ears to be covered when it's cold, and to basically micromanage every little thing all of the time.
but I can't. I can't be there to make sure that he isn't pouring peroxide on knee scrapes, and grabbing a happy meal on the way to the raceshop.
And honestly, how harmful is it? One week a month?
I am beginning to see the bigger picture and slowly (oh so slowly...snails pace slowly, so slowly that Eldon's dad probably doesn't see it but I do) relinquish that little bit of control it takes to live in sanity for that one week.
The truth is, Eldon is one lucky little boy, and I am fortunate to be sharing this experience with another parent who cares.
In the grand scheme of things, there is a dad who actually cares enough to ask for the grocery list. A man who will drive 10 hours here, and 10 hours back (twice) every month, just for a week of quality time with his son.
As the child of parents who divorced when I was young, I know that this is not usually the case. I know how important their relationship is and will be when they are both older. I know that it is well worth the investment of tears and worry to let them continue to strengthen their bond and grow closer with each visit.
I will still call him every day he is there...probably forever. He will most likely answer the phone, say "hi, Mom" and then tell me why he is too busy to talk but that he loves me and misses me and will see me in "4 more tomorrows."
but that's ok.
Letting go of this need for control has allowed me to let go of some of the resentment I carried too. And also, I feel less controlled by this situation we are in.
I know that Eldon is in loving hands. I know that with proper guidance and communication, we can work together to do what is best for our kids.
For that, I am grateful. Cooperative ex-husbands are not usually the norm either, but these kids are my world. If we can agree on nothing else, I know that they are his too.