I looked at the month ahead. Wait. Is that a mistake, I wondered. Three weekends in a row I had marked down “girls” in my calendar. Just the thought perked me up. 3 weekends in a row! Simultaneously a shift and a gift! My feet danced a little in my shoes as I felt the irresistible urge to jump around and bring my fist down in a triumphant “yes!”
I remembered that my former spouse was going on vacation and the result was 3 weekends in a row for me, followed by 3 weekends in a row for him. As is often the case with co-parents, flexibility and cooperation is required (or at minimum preferred) to make occasional schedule shifts and accommodations for two separately running households.
At the end of my three weekends in a row I was exhausted. While I had been enjoying the majority of parenting days in that three week period, I was doing the majority of parenting in that three week period. With our normal joint custody schedule, every couple of days the girls go to their dad’s and responsibilities are shared. This month was different.
When camp called at 9:30 p.m. to inform me that Sophia was sick and needed to come home for the night – I made the hour long drive to retrieve her. I took off work for three different appointments for the girls. I drove 3 hours for a weekend soccer trip and attended 7 games in 2 days. I shopped for their summer clothes and camp supplies. I picked up Anna every day for a week from a high school orientation camp. I listened to no less than 153 hours of them talking or better described as unraveling various daily dramas. I loved every minute, but make no mistake – single parenting is hard. And have I mentioned exhausting?
Now I find my butt being slammed down to the ground on the divorced parent teeter-totter. I will be without my girls the next three weekends – starting with a 12 day period I won’t see them at all. My home will be quiet. My to-do list short. I will no doubt be bored and will experience pangs of lonely.
I will grumble about how this isn’t “natural” to be without my girls and it isn’t “fair.” Then I will swoon in delight when they return to my house full of energy and loads of laundry. And so it is the ebb and flow of co-parenting.