Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thirty Three Days

One of the most commonly visited pages on this blog is one I called “The Loneliness of theLong Distance Father” which was at a time shortly after my separation where my kids didn’t really want to have a lot to do with me.  

As with many things, time alone can cure some of the angst and distress that comes to most kids when their parents break up.   But whilst the pain eases for the kids perhaps so too does the desire to keep contact with both parents, or maybe it’s just the classic cats in the cradle stuff, the natural pulling away as you get older and become more independent.

We built a big house because at the time we entered into the contract we had four of the six kids we have between us that needed a place to live.   Over the months of waiting for the title to settle and the house to be built their needs changed and so we have a four bedroom house occupied by the two of us and the two furkids and in an area now far away from where the kids mostly reside.

And that’s OK, the place is there if some time in the future they need it, but there are times when I miss knowing what is happening in their lives.   It seems that unless I make a call then we don’t talk and I am left to watching facebook for updates.

Last week I asked my two daughters if they would like to set aside one Sunday evening per month, visit us for dinner and watch a movie.  I was actually hoping that maybe we would just sit around the dinner table and chat and just find out who they were loving or feuding with, what books they were reading or movies they had seen, any one of hundreds of mundane day to day things that they do.  One daughter said she heard me but it would have to wait awhile because she’s working a lot of overtime and very busy but I did find out on Facebook that she enjoyed her day at the Races and her roast dinner at her mothers in the past few days.   Daughter number two has been silent and that usually means I am in the bad books with her.

It got me thinking that if they spent 3 hours one day a month with me that would be a total of 1 and a half days a year.  If I live as long as my father (and I hope it is longer than that) then I have 22 years left and that would mean that for the rest of my life I would spend a maximum of 33 days with my kids, half of which I would probably be sleeping.

So if the remainder of my life was equivalent to an hour on a clock for every month that passes without seeing them the clock advances another two minutes and we all know that as you get older time speeds up and the 33 days will rapidly become 30 and then 20 and 5, until those last few precious minutes come in a huge rush.

And knowing all that makes me regret the times I didn’t call my own Mum and Dad other than on the special occasions.   So maybe what goes around…


terri said...

I'm so sorry that you're feeling so disconnected from your kids. It seems like most divorces result in some sort of arrangement where one parent gets the short end of the stick. I hope that sooner rather than later, your kids will realize they want and need to make time to spend with you.

Jen said...

It is difficult I know Laurie. I only have one living here now and at times I wonder if she does live here anyway. She is busy with VCE, working, boyfriend, friends... there doesn't seem much time left.

But then I try to see that that is what's meant to happen. They are meant to be empowered enough to be out doing their own thing and taking responsibility for their own life.

Agreed there should be perhaps a night a week that everyone can get together. To sit and talk and catch up. Nice idea. Will it happen? Does it happen? Maybe in some families. But certainly not mine. lol.

I remember back to a family I admired so much when my kids were in primary school. I admired this family on so many levels and refer to them as mentors to me. All our kids are now coming to the finish of the School years. A new time again. I could discuss anything with them and often did. I admired them so accepted their advice and guidance.

And they did do things like that. Making sure certain nights were for family. They would all have dinner together, talk, share a movie perhaps... that sort of thing. And this was amongst them having four kids and all involved with sport, music, and whatever else.

I recently caught up with them and we discussed family life again and now the kids are older, my friend said she had put in place a (new) family tradition that they all have dinner together on Christmas Eve. She accepts her boys have girlfriends etc and that the possibility is there of them having Christmas day with the other families so wants to ensure all her lot are at least together on that one day. I like that.

Ways have to be made of keeping the ties. It is important. I think you can make a demand for want of a better word of a permanent day a month for your guys to get-together. Everyone needs to set a side the first sunday or the second Friday. Something like that.

Good luck... I might try too! hehe


lily lilac millar said...

Not sure if I am in the right place I am looking to buy two books on the smith family history written by a lady called Irene in Victoria I had it gave it to an aunty thinking I still had the ladies email address any help would be greatly appreciated Karen Millar