Historically this has been the worst week of the year for me, the week prior to the beginning of Declan's summer visit with his mother. I will still miss him at almost an unbearable level over the next two months but this being his third summer trip to Colorado, it has gotten gradually easier each year. As the years pass I get a little more affirmation that making his relationship with his mother a priority, over any soap-opera her and I may conjure up between us, is the right thing to do. This year he is excited to go and as I look back on my own childhood and not knowing my father, I am excited for him. His relationship with his mother is intact and it gets a little stronger each year, despite the miles between them.
Being divided parents makes for such an emotionally charged playing field that it takes extreme effort from both of us to avoid confrontation. For example Declan and I were discussing this years upcoming visit and the distant-sister he will get to see as well. My ears perked up and I grew concerned, as I think any parent would, when he said that his sister was mean to him. When I questioned him further he explained that "when I was downstairs and walking upstairs she wouldn't let me pass. And she kept asking for the word dad. The word I don't know. I don't know the word to tell her because she wouldn't tell it to me." He threw his hands in the air as an emphatic display of his frustration. I had to hold back the laughter as I realized she was simply playing some version of an open sesame game with him. This obviously didn't constitute being "mean" but it was a nice reminder of how patient his mother and I needed to be with each other to keep Declan's interest as the top priority.
I am crossing my fingers that she will be equally understanding this weekend when she sees the black-eye he suffered at preschool this week while running through the outside play area. "I just didn't see the shovel when I was running dad and I trip on it" he explained to me as he jumped to the ground and smacked the fresh wound on the carpet in an attempt to unnecessarily provide a demonstration of how he landed.
Hopefully his mother doesn't have a shovel within reach when she sees me walking up with our 5-year-old looking like a young prize fighter.
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