My kids go with their father tonight. Their father takes them every other weekend for a total of about 52 nights a year. I have all five boys by myself the other 313 nights.
I remember my lawyer saying at one point, “We have to make your husband take all the kids on his weekends. One day, you’ll look forward to your kids going with him so you can go out.”
I remember thinking, “Are you crazy? These are my babies. Why would I want them to leave? Why would I want them to go with this man who is living in such a way, who is teaching them things that go against so much of the faith I think is so important?”
Well, I can’t say that I now look forward to my children leaving every other weekend. Sending them off is still one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It still tears a small piece of my heart out each time I wave good-bye from our front steps, and I am still very concerned about what my boys are learning from their father and his live-in girlfriend.
But, I have gotten used to the idea a bit. It always amazes me to think about what we can get used to, what we can condition ourselves to accept when we are forced to.
And I am accepting the boys going with their father.
I still don’t like it.
I still think it’s wrong much of the time,
but I am getting used to it.
And while I don’t completely agree with the lawyer’s words, I do not look forward to the children going with their father so that I can go out (I am still rarely able to go out), I do have to say there is some truth to them.
I have found that I really need that time alone.
And that need makes me pray even harder for single parents and children with completely absent parents.
At least, I get 52 nights off a year – I am trying to look on the bright side when I say at least and off, but I know that’s not really what I mean.
My Wild Weekend Plans:
So, what will I do with the boys away? What are my wild weekend plans?
When the boys go for the weekend, I have found I can get an amazing amount of stuff done – stuff that desperately needs to be done, stuff that many people take for granted.
So this weekend, when my children go with their father,
I will do the normal straightening others do daily.
I will (attempt) to organize my cabinets since the boys have been putting our groceries away (Bless their little hearts, they really do try, but why anyone would put cereal and spaghetti sauce on top of the nachos and under the juice boxes is beyond me. Their idea of putting things away is, quite simply, putting them out of sight, which often means shoving groceries randomly in the nearest cabinet).
I will pay bills and restudy the family budget.
I will memorize the new material I need to teach on Monday.
And I will try to learn to rest, something I don’t do well.
I will try to shake this sore throat, the mildly throbbing headache, and the aching body I’ve been trying to ignore for a few days now.
I will rest the stabbing pain in my broken toe and read up on what to do for gout which has been striking more forcefully lately.
I may even try to find a Christian alternative to the obamacare system I so distrust and dislike and (so far) have been unable to join for lack of time (and working websites!)
And of course, I will write.
I will work on Single Mom Smiling and update Facebook and Twitter if I find worthwhile posts.
I will research articles to sell to Catholic magazines.
And I will work on the book I hope to have completed this summer.
And I will attend Mass – by myself.
I will arrive on time and un-harried.
I will kneel without separating fighting children on ether side of me.
I will celebrate without giving the evil eye to elbowing brothers snickering to each other while their little brother whispers something loud and inappropriate like – Why doesn’t Jesus wear clothes in church?
I will take home linens from the church’s open continental breakfast because, with the boys gone, I don’t have enough laundry and because I enjoy knowing I can give back, even if it’s just through clean tablecloths.
I’m not sure if that was what my lawyer meant when she said I would look forward to my children going with their father so I could go out, but maybe I am finally looking forward to this weekend – just a bit – because it will make me a better, more caught up, more focused, healthier, less stressed, mom.
I would change all of this divorce if I could. I would give almost anything to have my children raised in a loving, two-parent household with true Catholic values, but since that choice was taken from us, we are all doing the best we can.
For me, that means learning to see the good even to situations as sorrowful as my boys being gone. It means using time wisely to get caught up on things I wouldn’t have treasured as much beforehand, things others say they understand but really just can’t: like a pile of folded laundry or a balanced checking account or a clean bedroom – was that on my list for this weekend? <sigh>
It may not be the wild weekend some picture single mother’s having, but for me, it will make me wildly happy to be caught up on chores, to look around my house and see it clean and dusted and vacuumed (as long as I keep my bedroom door shut!)
and it will make me wildly happy to know that, if I get enough done this weekend, I will have a bit more time to spend with my children next week.
So maybe this will be a wild weekend for me,
And maybe I am beginning to look forward to my children going with their father this weekend – just a teeny-tiny bit.
And maybe one day, I will look forward to a weekend where I do go out,
And maybe one day after that, when my annulment is finalized, I will even look forward to going out and dating again. Maybe…
But that would be a whole ‘nother story 😉
There is often a silver lining if you open your heart to finding it.
I’d love to hear your silver lining stories. Leave a comment below or email me and share. 🙂