Posts Tagged ‘ North Dakota ’

Visitation Is My Momcation

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Tyler and his mom did end up coming to visit Caroline this week.  The three of them are staying at my parents’ house (in what has got to be the awkward situation of the century) while I go about my life for one Caroline-less week.

It is bizarre, really.  She hasn’t been with Tyler for even one night since April, so I had forgotten what it was like to live without her.  My apartment is clean and quiet.  I don’t have to rush home from school to pick her up from daycare and cook and feed her and bathe her and get her to bed.  I don’t have to get up during the night and I don’t have to get up before six.  I can stay late at work if I need to, I can work out whenever I want, and eat whatever and go out with friends.  I can actually be out of my apartment after 7:00 pm.  I’m… a free woman.

I kind of hate it.

Well, okay, full disclosure– I don’t hate it.  For a couple of days, it is a huge relief to have a break from my hectic working single mom lifestyle.  Catching up on sleep and work and time with friends is awesome.  But after that… I miss her.  Your child is a part of your life and your home and your heart.  ”Mommy” becomes a huge part of your identity, of who you are.  When your child is not around, you are missing a part of yourself.

Honestly, it makes me wonder how Tyler lives without her all the time.  I miss her terribly and it’s only been half of the week.  (He’s just here until Thursday, but then I’m on call Friday and Saturday so she’ll stay with my parents until Sunday.)  I suppose we have always had very different priorities in that respect…

But all of this is just a part of coparenting.  I could mope around and whine about how I miss her.  Or, I could make the most of my “momcation” to do all the things that I miss out on while I am busy single-mom’ing it.  And I can be grateful that she is getting to spend some time with her father, and hopefully they are bonding.  I feel a little guilty about going out and having fun and enjoying my “freedom”… but I can’t change that she has to spend this time away from me.  I might as well try to make the most of it.

She needs her dad, and I need a break.  Soon enough she’ll be back here with me.  And the time spent apart, as always, will make for a very happy reunion for both of us.

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Phone Visitation

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

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.

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Target Practice

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

target practice

Tyler and I have not been getting along well lately.

(Disclaimer: I always strive for brutal honesty in my posts, and this one might be a little too honest… but I have a feeling that this is a common issue among newly-divorced parents, so hopefully I don’t regret writing it, and here goes.)

The whole thing is frustrating.  I’m not sure how it’s possible that we had an uncontested and totally civil divorce and yet now we are always at each other’s throats.  I guess our coparenting relationship has been kind of a roller coaster ride rather than a steady uphill climb, just like the rest of this process.

Due to all our visitation issues, Tyler doesn’t take Caroline for overnight visits anymore.  It seems to work best for Caroline if the three of us spend Tyler’s parenting time together, so that’s what we do.  Which means we have to hang out.  Which hasn’t been going so well.

I’m stubborn and still angry, and he’s stubborn and still angry, and it seems like he willfully misinterprets everything I say.  (He reminds me of my iPhone.  I mean let’s get real here, phone, at this point I think we both know I didn’t mean to type “shut”.)  It’s supposed to be his parenting time, but it turns into both of us using each other for target practice.  He knows just how to get under my skin, and my problem isn’t that I don’t think before I speak, it’s that I think carefully, decide I shouldn’t say anything, and promptly open my mouth and just say whatever.

Example: we’ll be standing there watching Caroline play on the playground.  (She is, of course, out of earshot.)

He says: “At least my new girlfriend doesn’t have a body like a 12-year-old.”  (Bullseye.)

I think: (one of my divorce mantras) How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

I say: “Yeah well this ’12-year-old body’ carried your child, a–hole.”

Not productive, Julia.  Not helpful.  Not mature.  Sometimes I open my mouth and then I want to grab myself by the shoulders and shake myself.  What happened to all of our maturity and determination to keep things friendly for Caroline’s sake?  He and I both know we need to get it together.  She is probably picking up on our tension and it has got to stop.

So, we have a new plan: no more communication for the time being unless it’s directly about Caroline.  He’s actually leaving this weekend for his usual summer trip to North Dakota and won’t be back until September, so hopefully we can have a fresh start when he returns.  (I’m hoping that he and Caroline can do the same, and maybe he’ll be able to start overnight visits again.)

How do you handle tense situations with your ex?  Any advice, or secrets to keeping the peace?

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“I Don’t Think She Smiles Like That”

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Caroline is in North Dakota with Tyler for Christmas. She will be there for about 2.5 weeks total.

Sucks. A lot.

I’m trying not to be depressed about it and to take advantage of the time to study for the next part of the boards, which are coming up in January, and to sleep in and spend time with friends. Spending the holidays without your child, though… well, I don’t even really like to think about it, much less write about it, so I won’t.

I miss her. I don’t want a whole lot of things in life, other than to be a good dentist and to be a good mom. When half of that is missing, I feel… at a loss. Empty. Purposeless. I keep the door to her room shut. I don’t turn on the Christmas tree. The holidays aren’t happy for me this year.

I can’t wait until she comes home.

But anyway. That is not the purpose of this post. This is:

I have a close friend who also recently got divorced. I was spending the night at her place a few days ago (when I had no heat and then a gas leak in my apartment, which is a whole nother story) and we were laying around chatting and looking at pictures from a Christmas party last week. She said, “hey, can I tell you something? This is going to sound so lame. But when I’ve looked at pictures of you from a long time ago, you have this really big, big smile and it almost doesn’t even look like you. I thought, I don’t think she smiles like that. But when I look at these pics from Friday, you have that same smile again.”

And she is right. I do.

I have to remember that. That even though it’s sad, this first divorced Christmas without my baby, I am me again. I am happy again, in the big picture. I can drag myself up out of this unhappy marriage and all the things we did to each other and all the pain and sadness can be lifted.

I can be me again. I can smile like that again.

In fact, I guess I already do.

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Friday, July 9th, 2010

Oh hai there. I haven’t posted in forever, so I have a lot of random things to say!

Caroline and I have been visiting Tyler and the in-laws in North Dakota for the past week and a half because I am on break from school. It’s always a nice vacation to head out to the middle of nowhere and just relax. We even went to the rodeo this year. I didn’t even know that rodeos still existed before I married this man, by the way. Caroline was obsessed with all the horses. At one point during the day she was throwing a tantrum and I said “Caroline, use your words. Tell me what you want.” and she sniffled and said in a tiny voice “hoss”. I guess all those times I promised her a pony to get her to go to sleep are catching up to me. Crap.

We are struggling with sleep these days… both of us. Her crib was in the same room as us in North Dakota, so she kept waking up and seeing us and wanting to play. Now that she and I are home, she still thinks it should be party time around 2am. I was so tired last night that at 8pm I thought “well, it’s 10pm in North Dakota, so I should probably go to bed early” and then I laid there and laid there and couldn’t sleep, and finally realized that actually I can’t do simple math and it was only 6pm in North Dakota. But by then it was 10pm here so I just stayed in bed anyway. What a boring night. The scary thing is, I’ll be able to write prescriptions for people that involve numbers in just 10 short months. Shhh, it’s fine. Don’t be afraid.

Caroline still isn’t walking, although she loves to hold onto our hands and walk. (She holds her hands up and says “awk! Awk!”) So things are improving in that department. I am for real going to suckerpunch the next person who asks if she’s walking, though. Getting pretty sick of answering that question and hearing the inevitable “wait, how old is she again?” I think I will respond next time with “how old are YOU again?” and see how awkward I can make things.

What else? She is doing a long list of hilarious things. She has so many words now that I have stopped keeping track. She brings me a tissue and says “boogies” when her nose is running. She begs to go “ah-side” and “up, up, up!” She brings us her toothbrush and sternly tells us to “open”. She pokes us in the eye (hard) and explains “eye”. She can name most of her body parts and lots of animals and animal noises. She loves to snuggle and give kisses.

So, I go back to school on Monday. It was a perfect amount of time to be free. I am ready to get back in there and keep being productive, even if it does start my long summer of single-mom’ing it. I’ve got to get going on my summer checklist, though… so far, the only things I’ve done are the girls’ night (Chicaghoes FO LYFE) and the spa treatments, which were glorious, thank you for asking. Maybe Caroline and I will go to the farmer’s market tomorrow, if it isn’t so ungodly hot outside!

Hope you’re all having fantastic summers!

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