Long-distance visitation is a tricky sitch.
Tyler has been in North Dakota since mid-June, and he’ll be there until September. This means, of course, that he can’t take his visitation with Caroline. We’ve tried to do it via phone, but at age two and a half, Caroline isn’t too interested in talking on the phone. She’ll sit there and listen to his voice for a minute (without saying anything) and then wander off to play.
When he first got out there at the beginning of the summer, we didn’t hear from him for a few weeks. I emailed him asking if he was ever going to call, and he said he felt like it was a waste of time since she didn’t talk back to him. I told him that it was still important, because even if she isn’t talking back, it sends the message that he does want to talk to her, or at the very least she will remember that he exists. (Subtext: it’s not all about you, Tyler.) He agreed with me, and ever since we had that talk he’s been pretty conscientious about calling once or twice a week.
At least the distance seems to have allowed for the drama to die down between the two of us, which hopefully will translate to a friendlier relationship once he gets back in the fall. He has said that he’s coming to visit her next weekend with his mother, and overall the past few weeks he has definitely at least tried to stay somewhat connected with Caroline despite the distance.
Sometimes I feel like he’s doing his best under the circumstances; other days I can’t help but be disappointed. Because she’s such an awesome kid– is this really all she gets from her father? A phone call or two per week from a man who, at this point, she hardly knows?
He gets upset because she doesn’t want to talk to him when he calls, and says she’s “naughty” when she runs away from the phone. ”Aren’t you concerned about how naughty she is?” he asked me accusingly the other day. I shrugged and said that she was just being a two-year-old, but I was boiling inside. She isn’t naughty, I wanted to say. She just doesn’t know who you are.
Anyway, things are outwardly calmer between he and I, at least for now, and that’s a good thing. I know it will be a challenge when he gets back, and I’m really not sure if Caroline will recognize him or want to go with him at all, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, making the effort with phone calls is all I can ask.Add a Comment