Like many other broken families, I've been sharing children. While other families have been doing this for many years, I've been doing it for only a few months. After all the legal dust settles, the thing, it seems, that one is left with, is sadness.
So sadness is an not a familiar emotion. Perhaps I feel more sad for the little guy than for myself (tho not sure). His life (I feel) could be so much richer if I were more involved (daily walks on the beach at sunset like before, etc.).
••• continued •••
On the *positive* side, it has become clear that you definitely appreciate your time with your children more when you have little of it.
If you're allotted only X number of hours per week, you are going to cram 3X worth of love & affection into those hours.
One thing that has become apparent is that my experience of his growth has become perceptibly *digital* .. as opposed to analog (continuous).
Every week, when I pick him up, I'm expecting to see the same person I dropped off last week. But he's always different. He's grown .. into a different person. Strikingly so.
It always takes me back for a moment, when I first see him. And for a moment, that same sadness hits. It becomes obvious that I've missed yet *another* part of his growth.
And you can't help but feel how unfortunate it is .. especially during these magical months .. when he's growing so fast .. days you can never recover. Lost forever.
And you feel helpless, cuz there's nothing you can do, nothing you can say. The situation is out of your hands. "Others" will decide for you .. what is best .. because you were unable to negotiate a compromise yourself. Disappointment becomes your constant companion. Discouragement a familiar bedfellow.
Sharing children normally occurs when children are older. But he has been shared since well before his first birthday. Maybe that is the reason for my pronounced perception.
The concept of analog vs digital can be applied philosophically to life in our modern society (which is another discussion entirely). But I can't help but feel it applies to my experience of parenting, which has become discreet, separate, unnatural. A weekly, rather than daily thing.
Analog is natural. The sun moves across the sky in a *continuous* arc. If it were to move only once each hour, it would appear unnatural.
Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud, sharing observations. What surprises me most is that (here in SoCal, at least), so many families share children. The divorce rate here in SoCal (I've read) is 68%. It keeps the lawyers busy. Families that manage to stay together are a minority.
I guess, after a while, it will become "normal". But while he's so little, growing so fast, it seems so unnatural, so unfortunate, and even for an upbeat person like me, sad.
The good thing is that (as many have noted) he's so young that he won't know any different. He'll grow up feeling this sharing thing is normal. He won't feel like it's his fault .. cuz it's all he'll ever know.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, he's one of the happiest little tykes you've ever seen. And there's a reason to be glad.