Double life. When I was a toddler my parents moved to Salt Lake so my dad could finish grad school. Raising a toddler (me) and a baby (the first of my three brothers), my mom being at home with us, and my dad in school full time, they ran out of money very quickly. Eventually my mom, brother, and I moved back to Southern Idaho to live with my grandparents. (My dad’s parents).
It was dark in the hall when I heard a noise. I got out of bed from the back bedroom in my grandparent’s house. When I peeked I could see my dad leaving. He was going back to school. It would be weeks before I saw him again. I was only 4. I love my dad so much and I hated that he was always gone. I remember crying and hugging him. I never wanted him to leave.
My mom loved her parents very much. As an adult I think about her living with her in-laws. I’m sure was very hard. Especially since they we were in a town 2 hours away from her family. She went back home all the time to visit. She always left Nick and I behind. If I stood at the living room window and waited long enough, I could see her car pass through the big popular trees that lined my grandparent’s property. I remember crying and wanting her to come back. They used to bring my cousin Jessyka over to try to cheer me up. It kind of made it worse. Watching everyone around you be happy and have fun when you feel so sad and alone. (Hmm I wonder why I am on zoloft now.)
Eventually we moved back to Boise and we were a family again. By this time my second brother, Tom was born. Our mom was always going to her parents house and hanging out but that was ok because we had so much fun with our dad. Around that time my dad started having to travel to work. Sometimes for a day or two, but sometimes for several weeks. He was traveling for business to Japan a lot. By the time our parents told us they were getting a divorce we were all fine with it anyway. Our dad was in Japan half the time anyway.
Our custody agreement was to live with our mom with the exception of a couple hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and then every other weekend. We would spend the first half of the summer at our dad’s house as well. I did live with him one year, but I missed my brothers so I went back to my mom’s.
Eventually I moved away to college, got married moved back to Boise with my husband and we had two sons. When we divorced neither of us wanted to separate from the kiddos of course. My youngest son, Avery was only a year or so and we did a weird every other day schedule every other weekend thing. This way he was never away from either of us for too long. This schedule worked out for a year and then we moved to a more standard every other week schedule.
This schedule works great for me because they walk home after school to my house and their dad or step mom pick them up from there. If I get off work early enough, which I try to make happen everyday… I get to see them weekday during their dad’s weeks. The boys seem very well adjusted and they transition with ease and very little drama. There is some, but I will get into that in the future. The boys schedule works out great for everyone.
When the boys are at their dads house I go back to living my double life. I feel like I have split custody as well. On the weeks they are gone I stay with my boyfriend. He lives in my neighborhood so I can go home and grab stuff and play with my cats, take care of business. But, in general home base is at his house. It is so weird to go back to living out of a suit case. It reminds me of being a kid at my dads house for the weekend. My kids go to their dad’s house and I go to Troy’s.
My life has been a series of joint custody’s. Put that in a study for children of divorce! On top of this, Troy is a wild land firefighter. He is gone all summer. I even have split time with him. Every 6 months I am with him and the other time I am with my kids or alone. It probably sounds more complicated from the outside than it feels being in it. It seems to work for all of us. I do wish I could have everyone together at one time. The biggest pain of my life is always having to miss someone I love. Always, there is never a time when I am not missing someone. My little heart is always partially broken. No matter how in the moment I try to live. “Enjoy who is right in from of me” easy advice… but there is always a piece of my heart somewhere else. I try to imagine if we were always living in one house and not having to transition to another house all the time. The problem is… I have never done that in my entire life. I don’t even know if I would know how. Do you think I’d get bored? I think it might be relaxing. The house would always be clean… or dirty. Food wouldn’t go to waste. We could cuddle. In truth I do get a lot of cuddles no matter where I go. That is one benefit of spreading the people you love all over the place.
On my gravestone, it will read.. She is Here and There. Joint Custody.
Growing up how many of your friends parents were divorced? Were yours? What was your custody arrangement like?
First Photo by pexels.com
Second Photo by STIL on Unsplash