Sometimes I remember that I’m one of the lucky Dads. I’m the primary parent. I’m not sharing my kids 50/50. I’m not losing time that can never be gotten back. I didn’t get divorced when my kids were real little. I didn’t miss out on all the time my Dad did with my sisters and I. I have my kids at home…and it’s great. They’re only gone these days for two weekends out of the month. If that. I should be…and am, estatic.
My Ex has given up more and more of her time. This month she will take only 3 of the 9 days that would have been allocated to her. Her average until the summer trade off starts will be 4 days a month. Her claim is that it’s too hard with her work schedule to get the boys up at a reasonable hour and to school on time on the nights she works. I’m not bashing my Ex for this…even though I don’t really buy into her reasoning I agree it’s better for the boys. But my schedule isn’t much better, and I make the sacrifices because there was no way I would give up any time with my kids. I didn’t sign on to be a part time parent. It’s costly though and as my Ex gives up more and more of her time I’ve found that my costs have gone up. My Ex got herself a nice little arrangement. She’s been getting a montly check from me for “maintenance” and hasn’t really stepped up to pay anything for the kids. No medical bills, no clothes, no school supplies. After her last email saying she was giving up her alternate Thursdays as well I finally made a decision to ask the state to seek out child support from her. I didn’t do it out of anger or to be vindictive. I did it because it’s the right thing to do. I am the one who is meeting their needs. I’m the one footing the very large grocery bills for teenage and near teen boys. I’m the one buying new clothes for the school dance, and paying for the dance. I pay for their phones, give them allowance, and I would very much like to be able to afford driver education courses for my eldest. It’ll be a process, but I’ve put in the paperwork. We’ll see what the state comes up with. Like any other parent who has taken majority parenting time I just want what’s fair.
In the meantime:
I was reflecting the other day on how I was doing as a parent, wondering whether I am doing it right, how many mistakes I’m making, and wondering what the boys are getting out of it. I was doing this while we were sitting at lunch at Hu Hot after the boy’s therapy session. I’ve taken to buying the boys lunch after therapy at this Mongolian Barbeque because it gives me a good hour and a half where they are captivated… and its been fun for all of us. My eldest is currently on the honor roll at school, his lowest grades as a freshman so far were two B+’s. My youngest has been a bit more challenging, but is doing better even as he struggles in reading…not because he can’t read but because he doesn’t like how the class functions or how they want him to participate. And I sat there listening to the two of them discuss various subjects — from geometry to geology and I was amazed at how much both of them actually knew. But as we were sitting there I think what I enjoyed the most was that they were getting along. There was no fighting, no arguing, no abuse, no cell phones, just the guys enjoying a meal together. And I realized I can’t be doing it all wrong…