Usually I'm a pretty upbeat guy. I've learned over the past few years to focus on the positive and to be grateful for what I have, not resentful for what I don't. It's tough sometimes given the situation we single parents find ourselves in. I didn't want a failed marriage, certainly didn't want to spend time away from my daughter, and only chose to leave my marriage because I was getting no help from my Ex in trying to work things out.
Last year was the first Christmas we spent separated. Due to the custody agreement, Miss M spent Christmas with me. This year, it's my turn to sit at home. Miss M is spending Christmas with her mother and some friends on Long Island, so I won't see her from the 23rd to the 26th. I know, it could be a whole lot worse. She comes back to me the afternoon of the 26th and stays until the evening of the 28th. Really not so bad, right? Then why am I having a hard time with it?
Truth is, if money weren't an issue, I'd be a stay at home Dad. My career is good and I'm relatively successful, but as I got into my mid 30's I stopped defining myself by my career and became more concerned with the happiness of my personal life. As long as I can pay my bills, my daughter can live comfortably, and I don't hate going to work every day, my job is really just necessity, nothing more. I'd much rather be at home playing with Miss M and her Barbies, baking cookies, and digging in the sandbox. No such luck.
Being relatively new to this single parent thing, days off of work and downtime are kind of hard for me. True, I have Hot Girl to hang with and she's GREAT, but when we're together and Miss M isn't there, I feel bittersweet. And then I feel guilty for feeling that way. Hot Girl deserves 100% of my attention when she's there given the tremendous understanding and flexibility she gives me due to the custody schedule (we've not yet done a reintroduction). She gets it, she really does. She'll spend Christmas day through the 28th with her folks (to which I'm invited but have declined since I need to be back on the 26th). I'm ok with that and have a host of friends and invites for afternoon Christmas parties.
Still, there's that hole I'll feel: the absence of my little girl sharing her new toys with Daddy, spending the morning in our jammies drinking hot chocolate, and going outside to try out our new skates and scooter. We'll do that on the 27th, so am I being a baby? Maybe. I just know I feel a bit sad today.
How do you all cope with it? Is this feeling just a part of the deal?