I try to find the positives in how my divorce has changed me and the first glaringly obvious thing is how I view my children.
When someone says they are glad school is starting up again after a vacation, I cringe.
It’s different when you are a single parent and don’t have the luxury of seeing your children everyday. It’s not as if I didn’t appreciate my monkeys before, but I definitely got caught up in, after a 12-hour day alone with my kiddos, wanting a break. I couldn’t wait for my ex-husband to get home so I could relax, even go to the bathroom alone.
Dinner was always ready upon his arrival, we would eat and then I’d go lay down, read, watch T.V. and do nothing while he helped with the bedtime routine.
I regret ever complaining about taking them to preschool, the bus stop, bathing them, potty training, diaper changing, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, switching over to solids, swim lessons, doctor appointments, playdates, birthday parties, dentist appointment, flu shots, sporting events, doing homework, visiting relatives, doing their laundry, cooking their meals, packing their lunches, the list is endless.
Because now? On the nights I don’t have them? It’s awfully quiet and I get a preview of what life is going to look like when they have grown and left the nest.
When my kids aren’t with me? It’s lonely. I miss them. You realize how much space they fill in your home, in your heart. Sometimes in the quiet, I get so sad that I’d welcome a sibling battle full of tattle telling to fill the void.
On my days, those wonderful days when I do have my kids, it’s cherished time. If someone asks if I want to do something on the days I have them? I decline the invitation, without explanation.
I no longer go to book club or mom’s night out, not because I don’t care about my friends or enjoy their company, but I realize time is fleeting. My kids still want to hang out with me and that isn’t always going to be the case.
My social outings are specifically reserved for when I know I will not have them. I find it intrusive when someone else wants to enter our circle as our time together, means so much more now.
Today I value the little things. Like getting the kids off the bus, I find myself smiling with joy at the sight of them. Getting them get onto the bus, sometimes it still causes me sadness and moves me to tears. Especially if I know they won’t be coming home after school that day because it’s not my scheduled day.
I force time to stand still. I stop what I’m doing and listen to them more. I play with them more. I am more present in their lives because I know that they aren’t always going to be with me.
Divorce is no fun. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make because I knew in doing so it would mean fractured time with my children. It’s my only regret as far as divorce goes.
The one thing I knew in life that I wanted, more than anything, was to be a mother. To give up any of that precious time has made me feel awful at times.
But in some ways divorce has provided me with a greater appreciate for my children. It’s driven home for me, sometimes in painful ways, to remember what matters the most. The two amazing creatures who were created inside of my body, right next to my heart.
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