“Preferred Parent”

One of the best things about blogging is that it keeps me honest.  Someone commented that in order to fix our visitation problem, Tyler and I needed therapy.  Puh-lease.  This blog is my therapy.  (Kidding.  I see a shrink.  90% sure she thinks I’m nuts.)

Caroline actually did end up going with Tyler for visitation this weekend.  I took her down to a playground near his place, and the three of us spent some time together there in hopes that she’d see us being friendly and would be more comfortable going with him, and it worked.  I guess it’s a good reminder that even if we would prefer to ignore each other’s existence for our own sakes, it’s not in Caroline’s best interest to do so.  Hopefully someday we can truly be friends, but until then, we’re gonna have to fake it till we make it, for Caroline.

The other concern is the possibility that she is picking up on my satisfaction at the fact that she prefers me.  That’s going to be tough for me to get past.  I do anything and everything for her while he chooses to take visits here and there, scheduled around his trips and his social life… honestly, I’d be heartbroken if she didn’t prefer me.  I thought I was hiding it well from her, but maybe I’m not.

It all goes back to my anger, really.  I don’t work on it as much as I should.  I’m angry that we couldn’t hold it together for our daughter, I’m angry with myself for marrying Tyler when I knew deep down that we weren’t right for each other, I’m angry that he replaced me after we’d hardly been separated for five minutes, I’m angry that I shoulder 95% of the parenting responsibilities while he lives a carefree life and can easily start over, I’m angry that the time I do and do not have with my daughter is based completely upon his schedule.  I get angry when I feel like I do not have control.

It’s easier to just blame Tyler, but for the sake of my sanity and my daughter, I have to take responsibility for my part in all of these things and do my best to be at peace with them.  And I have to recognize that it’s not fair or healthy for me to secretly rejoice that Caroline “loves me more” than she loves him.  Because a child’s love is not a finite thing.  It isn’t like any love she has for him is necessarily taking away from the love she has for me.  It’s not a contest, it’s not a choice.  It isn’t “him or me”… it can be, and has to be, both.

And as far as visitation goes, I cannot force him to see her more often, but I can encourage him to take more visits and remind him of the ones he has scheduled, and when he is not around, I will continue to show her pictures of him and remind her of how much he loves her.  I cannot control his actions, but I can control mine.

I don’t love him.  I don’t even like him.  But this isn’t about us.  What he’s done to me and what I’ve done to him is irrelevant.  I would do anything for my daughter.  In the end, striving to be friends with her father is a very small thing to ask.

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  1. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On May 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Julia — You’re giving your daughter an amazing gift by trying to be friends with her father. Way to go!

  2. by angie

    On June 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Perfectly stated!

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