How Old Do I Have To Be Again?

Guest Post by Zaira

“Mom, how old do I have to be again before I don’t have to visit dad anymore?  I have already made my decision that I want to live with you.”

“You do live with me, honey.”

“I know, but I mean all the time.  Every spring break and winter holiday and summer vacation.”

“But then you won’t see your dad.”

“Yes, but we have the memories…”


It doesn’t matter how much I reinforce that it is important to have a relationship with his dad.  Nor does it matter that he doesn’t complain too much out loud.  These conversations reinforce what I already know.

He is struggling inside.

Oh, how I know about that!

I know what it’s like when it’s all confused and churning inside, but on the outside it doesn’t appear that anything is wrong.  To think that I have to wait a couple more years before he has a voice for himself makes my insides knotty.

I wonder to myself, why wait?  But I know the system.  I know it has to come at a time when it is right and unfortunately, something has to happen on the outside for them to listen.  You can’t use history because they believe it will be different this time and as long as the stage lights are on, it may be.

But inside it won’t be.

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  1. Update:
    Last night, when I picked up my son from his weekend visit, he hugged his dad, said goodbye and got into the car. Then he started crying…

    His stomach hurt so bad and he didn’t know why. He didn’t mention it to his dad (and was acting normal to him) and couldn’t explain any particular thing that happened to upset him. You know it is serious when he refuses McDonald’s! So, we went home and he perked up after some quiet time in his room.

    The parenting coordinator meeting was today to discuss the summer schedule. The N displayed in full force what I tried to explain to the counselor in previous emails about his behavior. She gave me an opportunity to tell her about this conversation (above) and his stomach ache last night without him in the room.

    I have been adamant about no more than 2 weeks at a time to allow my son recoup time between visits. It is tricky because the ex gets the majority of the summer, but I managed to make it work. Of course, he refuses any suggestions that I make. I am so happy because she ruled on maintaining no more than 2 weeks with his dad and the schedule I set is the one we will use.

    She also mentioned that schedules change and sometimes children choose to spend more or less time with one parent as they get older. (thank God!) Counseling is the next step for my son to have his voice, the one he so desperately needs.

    I am hopeful. Bit by bit, opportunity by opportunity, we will eventually be free…

  2. Z,

    Interesting timing.

    I read this to Will and Jen. They can totally relate. They know about that feeling in their stomachs – the feeling they can’t describe with words.

    We are in our “Monday Funk” today because we have a visit. The first in two weeks. It’s an interesting dynamic. Our day starts out like any other, and as the minutes tick by and we get closer to the visit, we start snipping at each other, losing interest in school work, reaching for chocolate (me), looking for diversions and craving a group hug.

    It’s time to turn on some music.

    Just now, Jenn handed me a flashlight and said, “I have a plan. We’re gonna crawl under the covers and hide from the world.”

    Wanna join us?

  3. Absolutely!
    We’ll be right there…

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