Tag Archives: mom

Saying Goodbye To My Son

In a few days, I will walk my son down to the American Airlines gate and say goodbye to him for the summer.  The time has come for his annual, eight-week summer visitation with my ex.

Photo Credit: Roberto Trm via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Roberto Trm via Compfight cc

For nearly five years, I have traveled with him each time he flew, but this year he will fly alone at his request.  The airline charges an additional $300 round trip to accommodate him, and he will have someone with him at all times while negotiating the gate changes.  But it is a milestone nonetheless.

I have a love/hate relationship with this particular visit to see his mom.

I love the opportunity to catch my breath, to do a little less laundry, to read a little more, and to catch up with some friends I do not often see.

I hate not having him near, not playing with him, not tucking him into bed, not hanging out with my son for two months.

I know he wants and needs time with his mom, and understand how critically important it is for him to connect with maternal grandparents and relatives beyond phone calls or FaceTime sessions.

I know I will soon be the one on the other end of the phone or iPad for those brief moments to talk and tell each other what we have been doing during the summer.

I know how quickly eight weeks can fly by, but also know how long the walk will be from the American Airlines gate to my truck in the garage.  I know I will cry.

You may face a similar circumstance this summer or at some point – a time when you have to say goodbye to your kids so they can be with your ex or with her family.

During these times, consider the following:

Your kids did not choose this separation from their mom and they long for that connection.  Do not let those natural feelings they may share with you intimidate or make you feel like less of a father.

Allow your kids to be with their mom without guilt.  If we try to manipulate our kids so they will want to be with us instead of mom, it will backfire.  Again, I do not have a double-blind placebo study to back up that statement, but common sense tells me it is true.

Ask your kids how you should communicate with them while they are away.  I have made it a practice to ask my son how often he would like me to call or FaceTime.  In the past, I have smothered him, but learned over time the value of finding a balance with him.  Each child will have different communication needs, so let them tell you what they desire and find a balance.

When you walk by their empty bedrooms, express gratitude for being a dad.  When your kids return home, your grateful attitude will help ease their potentially rocky transition.

I can’t wait for you to come back home, son.

How do you prepare for an extended time away from your kids?  How do you prepare them for an extended time away?

Make Sure Your Kids Celebrate Their Mom’s Birthday

My son spends both my birthday and my ex’s birthday with me.  He is young enough to have limited ability or interest to keep track of any more than his birthday, Christmas, and whether or not it is Friday so he does not have to go to school the next day.

I felt badly waking up on my birthday this year and casually telling my son what day it was.  He felt badly he did not know and gave me a big hug.

Photo Credit: Robots are Stupid via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Robots are Stupid via Compfight cc

We do not have family in town to remind him to make me a card (no glitter please…I hate that stuff) or wake me up to a cheery rendition of “Happy Birthday” at the crack of dawn.  And I am OK with that, although I am sure there is a better way.

But what to do with my ex’s birthday?  Despite the physical and emotional distance between the two of us, making sure my son knows about her birthday and making sure he sends a card and speaks with her must be a priority.

I have no interest in spending money on my ex, but the cost of a card or supplies to make a card (including glitter if he wants to send her some) is worth every penny.  Me reminding him about mom’s birthday allows him to connect with her and not feel tension he may experience at other times.  It helps maintain an emotional connection and allows for positive interaction between the two of them.

So, here is what I recommend:

  • Set a calendar reminder about one week before your ex’s birthday.  That gives you enough time to go with your kid to pick out a card or gather the supplies to make one for her.
  • Do not dictate the message.  Let the card be 100 percent from your kid – mom’s know what words are theirs and which ones are yours.
  • Make sure your kid calls or FaceTimes mom on her birthday.  Let him know you recognize it is an important day – just like his and yours.

You will see benfits to doing this:

  • You will gain trust with your kid.  He understands something painful happened between you and mom, and knows you actively engage him with significant events in mom’s life.
  • You may see improved co-parenting because this fosters trust and appreciation with your ex.  Can’t hurt…might help.
  • You may encourage reciprocal actions on the part of your ex.

We all need to heal from our divorces.  Holding on to anger and disappointment does not allow for healing.  Channeling our anger through our kids harms everyone, so find a way to have them acknowledge and celebrate important events in your ex’s life.

How do you celebrate your birthday with your kids?