A few weeks ago, my husband and I delivered news to our 7 year old that would change his life forever. We told him that daddy was moving out and getting his own place. We may or may not have said “for a while” on the end of that sentence, and that mistake might end up doing us in. But time will tell with that one.
Tonight, with the first day of grade 3 looming tomorrow, I tucked him to bed and asked him what the best part about the school holidays was. Without missing a beat he said, “Spending time with Daddy.” I didn’t ask what the worst part was, I didn’t even want him to have to think about it.
I guess when people who are parents separate, we tend to focus on the negative. Not being in the same house as your child every day, not seeing them every day, not having that daily influence in their life. If I’ve learned anything these last few weeks, it’s that it doesn’t matter if you don’t SEE them every day, as long as you are there when they need you. If they can pick up the phone and talk to you, if you can see them even for 5 minutes if they need you, that is what makes a difference to a child.
I’ve also learned kids are resilient. But that you have to be patient with them and be flexible. I’ve learned that when your kids best interests are put above anything else, they can survive just about anything you throw at them.
And I think in many cases, not living in the same house means the time you do get to spend with them is of far higher quality than the time you were spending with them before.
I have felt incredibly guilty that my son has spent all these school holidays at vacation care or tennis camp, bar a handful of days. He hasn’t had much down time and we have done practically nothing with friends. But he told me the other day that he has loved tennis camp because of all the new friends he’s made.
The best part of the school holidays, for me, has been seeing how resilient my child is. Seeing how he makes the best and sees the best in a bad situation. It’s been being reminded that he is tougher and more understanding than I give him credit for.
I am sad the holidays are over. I feel like I am in the minority of mums by making that statement. But then I also haven’t been home with him for 6 weeks. I hope that he takes on grade 3 with the same passion for learning that he finished grade 2 with. And I hope that his resilience and toughness will help him get through the challenges that are sure to come his way. And if he struggles, I hope he knows his dad and I are always here to help him.
Did you learn anything these holidays? What was your favourite part?