One more hour until I am sprung from my cell, I mean, until I can leave work! I’ll have just enough time to drop my stuff, say hi to the cats, hug Gary, and then the front door will burst open with 3 little hurricanes ready to spend the weekend with us.
Gary is hobbling about and barely moving without the aid of Ben-Gay and smelly muscle rubs, thanks to a vigorously renewed exercise interest that has left him so sore he grunts when he has to lift so much as a finger. I laughed today and told him, “You know the kids are going to have no mercy about whether you are sore or not.” It is not unusual to see Gary with all 4 kids draped over him in various positions like those monkeys with velcro paws, usually laughing uncontrollably, sometimes upside down and loving it.
During these moments, I still find myself uselessly calling out, “Be careful!…watch out!…oh, not in his eye, please…try not to kill him, ‘k?”
I’m looking forward to the weekend so much. One thing I never look forward to, though, is how hard it is on the kids when it’s time to leave their father. Expecting kids to get used to seeing their father a handful of days a month is simply not realistic. Are they supposed to go 2 weeks, see him for basically one full day plus a snippet of Friday and Sunday, then hop out of the car with a cheerful wave backward and a flippant “See ya later, Pops”?
I found this online today: Managing Visitation in High-Conflict Situations. The author states, “…when extreme conflict persists even after the couple has parted ways, the children of that marriage may find it difficult, if not impossible, to heal. Indeed, when parents cannot put their mutual anger aside, and when they sweep their young children into the conflict, they have ceased to protect their children.”
I couldn’t have said it better, except that the anger need not be mutual. One bitter, obsessed parent is enough to cause plenty of harm. A fundamental and crucial role of parenting is carelessly cast aside when ego and bitterness win out over protecting the kids’ hearts and minds. The proof will be in the tears at the end of the weekend.