Shared Custody: When “Me -Time” Also Brings The Loudest Silence

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During the year I look forward to that small window of “me-time” when my daughter takes her annual summer vacation in Montreal, Canada with her Dad. Yet, this year, more than any other, I realized, she is my life and without her, I don’t have one.

My parents are going on 50 years of marriage. I grew up in a pretty traditional family (traditional, that is, for 40 years ago.) Mom was a stay-at-home mom, my dad worked hard to provide. I have an older brother who I love but we also experienced normal sibling rivalry, which by the way, I don’t think we’ve out-grown. We lived in a pretty house on a cul-de-sac with a white picket fence and a dog. Yes, it was, for all intended purposes, “The American Dream.”  At least that’s how I remember it…

Today, I have been divorced for what seems like an eternity…9 years. I couldn’t forget that fact even if I tried because for whatever reason my mom continues to remind me on a bi-weekly basis. Nevertheless, she’s not wrong. I am in fact, a divorced, single, full-time working parent with 100% legal and physical custody.

My daughter, Delicious D, and her dad have a good relationship. He is a good man; he has been a great father. However, at times, his demons get the best of him and because of that our daughter lives with me, full time. “Full time?” you ask, as if it should be a given. I only wish it were true. The thing is, I don’t have a traditional family. I don’t live a traditional life. My daughter hasn’t grown up in a two-parent home since she was 9 months and there were parts of her life where she split time between two homes. Things changed and for the better part of nine years my daughters lived with me, full time.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I loathed every minute she slept at her dads and it wasn’t because it was her dad it was because that’s not the way my life was supposed to be, nor hers, or his for that matter. Or was it?

Early on in our divorce, merely walking past her empty room, especially at night, brought me to my knees. I hated not seeing her little face scrunched into her pillow. I didn’t like that I couldn’t kiss her good-night, read her a book, bathe her and snuggle her up with her big towel.  I loathed every minute that she was gone.

Prior to Delicious D going to Canada I knew full well I was going to make the best of my me-time. I had plans; places to go, people to see. I was motivated and I was going to be free! The one little thing I didn’t account for once I accomplished the things I set out to do was the loud silence that would envelop my coveted me-time. Me-time became alone-time and by alone-time, I mean by myself and by myself was lonely.

This August, my little girl officially becomes a tween and only two days later I officially become mid-life; FORTY FIVE! It is abundantly clear, if not almost absurd that I’ve built my enitre life around my daughters and while nothing gives me more pleasure it also leaves me longing for a life of my own.

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