The lump in my throat hardens as I watch them walk away. They are walking away into vacation for two weeks without me. I resist the overwhelming urge to run after them, to buy a plane ticket to join them, to start sobbing in front of strangers. I pretend not to count the minutes they are in-flight and I nonchalantly check my phone every 30 seconds until the safe arrival message is received.
Fortunately, my children are going off to visit my parents for 1 week and then will travel again to visit their dad’s parents for 1 week. They will be loved and spoiled and have the time of their life. I should only be cheering. Likewise, when their dad takes them to a new place on vacation, I should be thankful and appreciative that he wants to show them new things and devote time to their happiness. But it is hard to miss out on the great times your children have, to not be a part of the memories.
For many divorced parents, the vacation vex is real. In some interstate families, one parent has to say goodbye to their children for an entire summer while the other anxiously awaits the precious months when they finally get to spend a lengthy period of time with their kids. Both parents may end up feeling jealous of what the other parent has. For some this may lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, or plain and simple sadness. I happen to have experienced all of these firsthand.
The only thing that is able to pull me out of the “my kids are away from me and I should be there” funk, is actually thinking about my kids. How great that they are able to learn independence and feel a sense of pride as they navigate a path all on their own? How invaluable that they are learning firsthand how important it is to make time for special relationships in their lives? How lucky is it that they are learning not to cower behind the safety net of their parents, and instead confidently take ownership in their own lives. All children should be so lucky as to learn these life skills at a young age. And this mom should appreciate when these opportunities arise, despite how it is that they came to be – under the residue of divorce.
I received a text from my daughter moments ago that she would check in tonight if she has time because they have such a busy day planned going to the water park and then dinner with their great aunt. Then she said – have fun at work! I smile at how happy she is and how I can feel the pride she is experiencing in doing this without me. So perhaps for now, I should release the angst of not being a part, and in doing so, take a vacation of my own.