A Different Kind of SummerJuly 5, 2011
Since 2002, when the Ex and I separated, the girls have spent a significant amount of time with him in the Middle of the Country over the summer. The amount of time has varied over the years. Started off as too much time the first year, cut back significantly the second year, then settled into the 3-5 week range for a few years, with one spike for a 7 week summer because of a vacation with his extended family.
Every year, the girls dread going. They don’t want to leave “home.” (3-5 weeks in the summer plus one holiday visit and one spring break have not worked to create a second “home” for them at his house.)
Every year, there is a part of me that looks forward to the break. I feel guilty, because they are unhappy and they are tearful and I am sort of “Go!”
When they were little, and I was dealing with tight budgets and tight timing (work, daycare, school), it really was a break. Also, by the second summer that they were gone, WD and I were beginning our relationship. We took things pretty slow, in light of the girls, and so the summer was our time to really try on the relationship.
But as our family blended, as the kids got older, the stresses less, summers became sadder. Throw in a dash of tearful miserable phone calls from the Middle of the Country, and summers became almost unbearable.
WD and I tried, over the years, to capitalize on the time that they were away. We went on trips. Hikes. Dinners out.
During my first law school summer, we were too broke – I don’t think we went anywhere.
During my second law school summer, WD and I went on a fantastic trip to Bar Harbor, Maine.
After my third year of law school, we went to Europe! (My post bar exam trip.)
But then, WD went to school. He got his masters in fine arts (creative writing), and starting that first year of my employment, he went away while the girls were away.
I had 10 days to myself?
Well, not so fast, sweetheart. That was the year we moved.
So I had 10 days with empty boxes, cans of paint, and very “helpful” parents. (The quotes aren’t fair – they really were helpful. But they were also “helpful.” Just because they’re my parents.)
And last year, I really did have 10 days to myself. I was so looking forward to it.
Now, this year is happening.
No trips to the Middle of the Country. Just girls, at home, every day, every weekend, all the time. (For the most part.)
But WD is still heading to his alma mater, where he still functions as a graduate assistant for 10 days in the summers.
10 days with no WD.
The cook. The grocery shopper. The one who is home to make sure that Lemon has her snack before her transition between activities.
10 days without him.
It was hard enough last year, when I had to come up with things for my own self to eat every evening for 10 days. But now I have to do it for the girls? But they eat a lot!
Which means I have to be home at a reasonable time?
[Fortunately my department continues to be very, very slow. So I don't have to worry too much that work won't let me out. Never mind the other worries that this causes - that's a post for another day. Or not.]
I was sorting through some of the girls’ various activities today – looking at where and when they are doing what, and found a secret little golden nugget: A week that they’re both away! Mouse’s second week of sleep-away camp is the week that Lemon has decided to go and visit the Ex. It’s not a full week, but it’s something.
I wonder what WD and I will do?
[Especially since every one of our pennies are paying for this very full summer!]