"It's nothing," returned Mrs. Chick. "It's merely a change of weather. We all must expect change."
-Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son
A new quarter begins officially next week. My family looks out for me. Both my mom and my mother-in-law called a couple of weeks ago to see what I'd need of them in the line of babysitting to help with school. I didn't think much of it; not much at all of the fact that, typically, when I get my school schedule, I call about to make arrangements so that the kids are always in the same place on the same day each week. It helps to have consistency.
And so it was agreed that, though all of my classes are online this quarter, my mom would take them every Sunday night and drop them to school on Monday mornings to give me some guaranteed time to do homework. Todd's mom agreed that, since I don't need her regularly, she would let me know when her days off are and take them one night a week accordingly. Additionally, I agreed to take Treasure's kids on Mondays and her mine on Tuesdays to help each other out with school.
With my children spending a few hours two nights a week with Todd, as well as every other weekend, if I budget my time correctly, I'll have plenty of time to dedicate to school. No excuses. Right?
It hit me today when my mom brought Alex home after dropping Jenna off at school (he doesn't start school until tomorrow). One of my mom's very best friends lost her husband to cancer over the weekend and she was running down times for visitation and such trying to get a feel for when I can go. I told her I could go tomorrow since Todd will have the kids for a couple of hours. Only I remembered that he's on vacation this week and is staying with his girlfriend in Indiana. So I have no help from him this week. I have to find someone else to watch the kids. No problem.
But this week is my sample. He's moving in with her permanently in October. I knew it was coming. I just didn't really entertain how it was going to affect my life. It's going to be much bigger than I expected.
During this time of transition for my children, I have to stifle all possible hints of whatever inconvenience this is to me and ensure that they are well taken care of and know how very much I love them.
He's going to be over 350 miles away. He won't see them on average of three days a week. He'll see them one weekend a month and alternating holidays.
At first, when he announced he was moving, I was gung-ho ready to support him and do everything I could to make sure his kids would see him as much as possible. I grew up without a father; I don't want my kids to grow up without theirs. But that's just not realistic.
Now that it's almost here, not only do I see how it's going to change my life (and bless my family for being proactive in offering support and not waiting for me to call for help), but my kids as well. It's kind of breaking my heart.
He says he's lonely and has become extremely bitter and the only happiness he finds is with his girlfriend. I get that, truly. Still, no matter how much I felt empty without someone, it doesn't compare to how empty I would feel if I didn't have my kids to come home to. If I couldn't watch them sleep. If I couldn't go to the school play and see my daughter nervous on stage. If my son wasn't in the other room building me a trophy made out of Legos.
It hurts. As much as I want them to have their father, I have to remain cognizant that it's he who chose to leave. I'm not judging him, I promise. But I have to remember that it's not my responsibility to ensure that he has his kids on any kind of regular basis. It's truly up to him now to define his relationship with his children. These things happen, it's life.
Unfortunately, not all change is for the better.
(On another note, I've been reading again and I'm determined to finish this book that I started months ago before school reconvenes. Even if it's not as good as its predecessor.)