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Mothering and Life in General

The Other Side of A Split Family

My parents divorced when I was around 9.5 years old and It was hard on both my sister and myself in many ways. Some situations are common with divorcing and children and other situations, not so much. Thinking back on it all, I think I would have been more screwy had my parents stayed together “for the sake of the children”. Honestly, if my parents did stay together, I would have committed the both of them when I was at the age to do so.

Here I am, in my adult years, looking at the other side of a split family. DH has a beautiful daughter who is going on 9 and I never knew how easy it is to relate to her now. DH and K1’s mother has split up when K1 was a bit younger than 2, I came shortly afterwards. As she grew I had always tried to coach DH into the understanding that one day her visits will become less and less; to enjoy the time she needs with him.

When I explained my reasoning with him, he said my story is different from hers because she never had a mother and father live together in one home. She has always came to his house for visits. She does not know anything different, so how can she miss it? My suggestions or comments about lapping up the time he has, had him pretty annoyed with me.

Of course, no parent wants to think of the day where friends and social status becomes more important in their child’s life then they are. It happens, it’s normal, but in a split family it hurts and stings. Not only does the child grow more independent, fit into this world, but the parent who lives out of home usually gets the shit end of the weekend visits.

K1 has some medical issues, that causes stomach cramping. As far as we are told, it’s from anxiety (I will leave my personal thoughts out on this one.) So she does not come very often. Last weekend she was here, and when it was time for bed she started crying saying she wanted to go home, her stomach was hurting her.

This situation happens every weekend we have her. DH is getting annoyed, it’s his nature to give up, walk away and let things fix itself. I feel like I am the only one holding the two of them together. Again I am trying to give him some sort of hope to just keep trying.

He feels: Frustrated, Angry, Resentful, Powerless, Unloved, Hopeless, Undervalued. He also is hostile that the doctors can’t fix what is wrong with her because they don’t know what is wrong with her. He wants a magic pill, he wants the time with her. He feels like giving up.

She feels: Scared, Ashamed, Sorry, Confused, Tied, Lost, Powerless, Hateful, Alone, Unheard, Misunderstood, and that she is letting everyone she loves down.

I can understand how she feels. I know how hard it is to leave a mother, to see a father, which whom the child both loves. Every weekend it’s always an emotional roller-coaster, you are sad you have to leave Mom, but you are happy about seeing Dad. Then you go to Dad’s, missing your home, bed, smells and Mom. In all of this your need for home you know that you will be leaving and missing your Dad. K1’s roller-coaster has more hills in it then mine considering she has two sisters from two different mothers, and one she thinks will die at any given moment from Cystic Fibrosis.

I can understand how DH feels. I know that he wants and needs to spend time with her, he takes off Sundays, just to be with the girls. He knows that he lacked some things in the past, and wants to continue on with hope. Not to make up for the past, but to somehow change the future. I understand that gas costs money, that he’s tired, her home is 20 minutes away and it’s 11:30 at night and he’s been up since 6 in the morning. I sympathize with K2’s feelings when K1 wants to go home, yet all I can do is hold her.

I understand and acknowledge it all. I just don’t know what to do with what I know and understand. The only thing I know is to be that person I needed and wanted when I was there. So I return to these unresolved feelings, but looking from the other side. I can see the feelings my father had, when I did this to him, but I protect the child I see from the hurt and pain festering from the frustration. It’s a very hard time here in this home; trying to be supportive of my husband, and helping him with his new role. Yet, the protector of the child I am always told not to mother and the mother I need to be with my own.

I try my hardest to tell DH about the feelings I had while at her age, and I am grateful, yet frustrated that he does not get it. I am grateful for the fact he never had to have these feelings, that he grew up ‘normal’ without having two of everything and missing out on what friends where doing on the weekend. Frustrated, because this is the story of his daughter’s life, my information could be a glimpse of what she may feel.

He does not have to ‘get-it’ for him to tell her over and over, that yes he’s hurt, only because he wants to spend time with her, but his love is the same, and always will be. That she can be or do anything, and she always has a place in his heart.  That if at this house is stressful to her that they can find other means to see each other, and for her to have a relationship with K2. That whatever it is that is bothering her, they will get through it – together.

I don’t know how all of this is going to pan out, but now it’s not a meal I would serve to anyone else.

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