It’s been about two months since Franny’s dad up and fucked off to an island, and things have really changed. When he was talking about moving before, I spent a lot of time looking at research and opinion on child custody. After four years of 50-50 custody, I knew I had an opinion about it: it sucked.
Yes, the child gets to experience both houses “equally” and doesn’t become a “visitor” at one of the houses. It’s better than that! The child is a disjointed visitor at both houses. I can’t tell you how many times in the last few months we’ve sat down to dinner and Franny’s tucked in and said, “Mmm, I’ve never had this before,” and before I can think, I say, “Really? I’ve made this several times.”
Whole weeks go by and you can’t stop living your life or pushing onward with your family. The 50-50 kid gets to hear about this later. There is a sense of unease, because the kid is coming and going and you have to say these Significant Goodbyes and Awkward Hellos because you won’t see/haven’t seen your kid for two weeks. They come back, and they are TALLER. You always have to plan appointments and playdates on the first half of the month, or your week. You say “no” A LOT because of timing. You don’t want to send her out to sleepovers because you feel like you hardly see her, but you want her to have a “normal” childhood. You don’t feel as close to your own child as you could, as you should, because there is this wedge of not enough time. You hear about sicknesses incurred, suffered, recovered from, all without any input or nurturing from you. “You had pink eye again?”
Now that she is here most of the time, things have changed. I feel closer to her, and I think she feels the same. There is relaxation and comfort where there was clinginess and rushing. There are inside jokes now. When she leaves, it’s just for three nights, every other weekend. She still complains about having to leave my house, but now she can say, “Oh well, it’s just the weekend,” and we can kind of laugh it off and talk about what we’re going to do and have for dinner when she gets back on Monday. I feel as close to her now as I did when she was a little baby and toddler, before the divorce when I got to see her whenever I wanted. Sometimes I ask myself if I could see the future, that I was going to lose access to my kid half the time, would I still carry on with the divorce? I honestly don’t know.