Choosing between our children is not something anyone wants to do or likes to do, and most never do. This week I am feeling like that is exactly what I have done.
You see, my ex left 8 and ½ years ago, and since that day I have chosen not to leave my children on my parenting days. In my mind, I only get them 50% of the time, not my choice, not their choice; if I cannot do “my” things on the 50% of time I don’t have them, then there is something seriously wrong with me. I include my children in whatever I do when they are with me. I have turned down many invites that did not include children, or rescheduled to a time when I was without the kids.
But this week I found myself feeling like I had done just that, chosen one child over another. Although I made the “choice” months ago, it took place this week, and I didn’t really handle it very well.
Months ago, my oldest and his wife were not just invited to, but asked to be part of a very close friend’s wedding. The wedding was taking place in Hawaii. When they couldn’t find anyone to stay with their girls for the week they would be gone, they took to asking several people to take parts of the week. As much as I would have loved to say I would go for the week and take care of my granddaughters, it was a parenting week with my daughter.
Of course my ex and or his wife “couldn’t” do it, using my daughter as an excuse. Since she was going to be with me all but 2 of the days they needed someone, my ex’s excuse just didn’t fly, not with me, and not even with our son and his wife.
So we scrambled, trying to come up with options to help them out.
Fast forward months and it is the week of the wedding in Hawaii. My middle son takes vacation days and stays with his nieces for the first 4 days, then I prepare to take over for him for 3 and ½ days.
I am so grateful to be where I am in my life that I am able to help out my kids, all of them. And being able to have one-on-one time with my granddaughters is a dream. I want them to grow up with memories of time spent with me, of me being involved in their lives.
So, what is the problem? Well, I am flying out on a day that is my parenting day with my daughter, so the time from her getting out of school until going to school the next morning, I am not going to be with her. I can’t even explain the emotions running through me. This is the second time in the 8 and ½ years that I have been away from my daughter on my parenting days. She survived the last time and didn’t seem to bothered by it, but that does not make this any easier.
You see, that is one of her biggest gripes of being at her dad’s house: he is never there. Even more of a push for me to not do the same thing.
When I was first trying to make the decision, I discussed it with my daughter, and she said I should go. She was fine with it. I explained why I was hesitating, and she argued that I was being silly, it is not like I do it all the time.
The night before I leave, I go to tuck her into bed, and she sits up to hug me and the tears start flowing. My tears, that is. As she hugs me, she asks, “are you crying?” I just hugged her tightly. She assures me it will be okay. Funny how she is assuring me, the mom.
Now as I stand in front of my granddaughter’s school saying goodbye and reminding her I won’t be picking her up today as I am headed home, it is all I can do to keep the tears from falling. We hug and she runs off onto the playground just like all the days before. I pick up her little sister and we head to the car. As she clings to my neck, the tears flow freely. I am sure the other parents and grandparents dropping off their kiddos thought I was looney. As I strap my littlest granddaughter in her carseat, she asks, “mommom, why are you crying?” I try to explain to the precious little face staring at me that I am going to miss her and her sister so much. She reaches out and hugs my arm. Once again, being assured by a little one that all will be okay. I have had a wonderful time with the girls. They have grown so much. We played and read and took walks and cooked dinners together. Okay I cooked and they just talked my ear off. Of course there were treats that only a grandma does, Starbucks after school and a shopping trip for fun stuff.
Good thing we have plans to see the granddaughters in a month, but it is still so hard to leave them. How much will they change in that one month?
And because my daughter has told me so, I know she does not feel like I chose her brother (and his girls) over her. But for whatever reason, I still do, when I stop and think about it. When you love them all so much, how do you give to all…equally. I have been told that no one notices if it is equal or not, no one, that is except me.
Do you ever feel like you are choosing one over the other? Do you think it is all in your mind, or do others see it as well?