Of all the suckitude of divorce, losing my kids half the time is the worst. Nothing prepares you for that pain. In the early days, after The Ex picked up the boys, I’d stand in each of their empty bedrooms, absorbing the awful silence, picturing them snuggled under their fluffy comforters, remembering kissing them goodnight every night and taking those moments utterly for granted. Sometimes I’d sink to the floor and weep, my chest aching not only with sadness but also with hatred for The Ex. When I wonder why I stayed so long, I remind myself that this pain is why. I stayed so I wouldn’t lose them, even though there were a million reasons to go.
When divorce gurus talk about the pain of missing half your kids’ childhoods, the usual response is a peppy list of all the things you can do to distract yourself from your sadness. Get together with friends! Volunteer! Exercise! Rediscover your interests! Don’t forget to eat right and get plenty of sleep and take good care of yourself! Before long, you’ll cherish your alone time! And if you’re not feeling the holiday spirit … fake it till you make it!
I’m here to tell you: Fuck that.