Christmas is a hard time of year, as a non-resident parent, from managing money to getting to see your children at an appropriate time. Even trying to get your ex-partner to communicate over the little things, like what to get the children and who is getting what, becomes a nightmare. As a child of separated parents I remember the one-upmanship, intentional or not, between my parents. The duplication of chemistry sets and the comments that I was not to worry and that things were better this way.
So as we negotiate over the time and days we are having the children it is sometimes difficult to try to put the children at the centre of things. My boys have gone for a few days with my mum in Taunton some 150 miles away. When I collected them the concern from my ex wife was not that I drive safely or that the boys have a good time, but what time I’m returning them back. She explained that she has plans to go out that evening and “around 5” isn’t specific enough, nor is “between 5 and 6 dependant on the traffic as it will be the last work Friday before Christmas….”
So on the drive home to pick up my partner we chat about presents and gifts, both boys know money is tight, but they reel off all the things they have asked for from my ex and her family then my son said something that brought a tear to my eye… ‘Daddy it doesn’t matter what we get from you as long as we get to see you”
That is all I can ask, as a non-resident parent, that my children want to see me. As they get older I also hope they start to appreciate that the not stopping over mid-week (that they loved) has only not continued because my ex has chosen to break a court order on contact. Which given the recent case in the news of a women who after over numerous court orders still denied contact to a father makes me wonder why do we have them, if as a non-resident parent you are a the beck and call of the resident parent?
I joke about the control my ex wife needs to feel she has to has, but I also see the damage it is doing to our children. As Christmas approaches I will try and let it flood over me, I don’t want to worry if I can afford presents or can I afford a Christmas trip out with the boys, I just want to focus on them being with me, give then my time and my attention. If they have love, my time and good memories then I know when the books are read, the DVD’s watched and the computer games obsolete, the memories will live on.
So am I looking forward to Christmas? Yes
Am I worried about it ? Yes, but then I am sure all parents are, just try and enjoy….
Have a Happy Christmas
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