Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I've been smarting from the "Uncle Dad" thoughts, because I want so much more for my daughter, but I'm observing just exactly how little control I have over that.

But I'm trying to hold on to the positive, and to keep perspective, and I halfway wish that I had not blogged such a bitter post.  It was truthful, but I aim at a higher standard for myself than "only" the truth.

This weekend I was having a conversation with another divorced single parent, the father of one of Katherine's friends.  He asked about how much time Katherine and Bryan spent together, and he nearly fell off his chair when I told him the answer.  "So little?!" he asked.  I nodded.  He continued, "But how do you get any time for yourself?"

I want to say this, very, very, very clearly in response.

Every single minute that I spend with my daughter is a gift and a joy.  Some moments are better than others, as is the case with life, but...

When I think about my divorce, and my relationship to my ex, I am absolutely clear that while his lack of attention towards her hurts her and I wish he'd be the kind of involved father that she deserves, it is absolutely blissful for me that I get to spend most of my free time with my girl.

If I was married, I would take it for granted that I would spend every minute in this house with my child.  Except for a few hours out here and there, I'd be focused on mothering my daughter.  During my marriage, I had to beg for a few hours here and there to get a pedicure or meet a girlfriend for coffee or get some exercise.  Divorced, I get a zillion more hours to myself, and now that Katherine is older, I can leave her at home while I go for a run, and I get every other weekend to myself, which is more than I had before by a long shot.

I worry about money.  I worry about how my relationship to Katherine's father has scarred Katherine for future love.  I worry that his lack of involvement in her day to day life harms her.  I worry that he is a terrible role model of a man, and that our relationship was a terrible role model, and that I have modeled terrible things about how to be a wife and happy person.

But I never, ever, ever worry about spending too much time with my daughter.  Most of our weekdays are spend on "hurry up, you're going to be late for school" and "no you can't have a snack because I'm cooking dinner and I'll finish as quickly as I can so you can eat it" and "let's figure out your homework" and "would you please put your clothes in the hamper," but I don't care.  It is more than made up for with beach walks, kitchen dancing, hikes, ice skating, and simply just being there.

Being there is what I wanted, and I got it.  I'm a lucky woman.


When I run, I head straight to the water, and instantly start scanning the water looking for whales.  I do it instinctively, even though I see them perhaps once every year or two, by no means frequently.

But I'm not disappointed if I don't see them.

Today there was a rumor of a gray whale - not frequently seen here - nearby, so I decided to run where it had been sighted.  My head was turned towards the water the whole time, and it occurred to me that I could trip as a result, but I didn't care.  I kept looking.

I didn't see a whale.

But I did see a sea lion, and a seal.  And a bunch of Canadian geese, one of whom landed in the water close to me in a comical way, feet extended and awkward, making me laugh.  And cormorants, and brandts, and seagulls, and other sea birds I couldn't identify.  Some friendly divers coming out of the sea, and a handsome Coast Guard crew washing down their boat.  Several other hopeful whale watchers, armed with cameras and binoculars, all smiling and answering "not yet!" to my question "have you seen it yet?"  On the way back, the sea lions out on the buoys were barking, cheering me on.

I didn't see a whale, but how could I complain?

It's all in the perspective.


  1. Lovely piece - adds a better perspective if the coast guard is handsome too! Ha.

    Chi x

  2. I agree, the thing is miss most and am most bitter about is time lost with my son.

  3. I'm the same way, Polly. The time I'm away is always to me time misspent. I never want to leave my kids when it's time. But I'm very sorry he isn't doing better. One day he'll be sorry.

  4. “But I'm trying to hold on to the positive, and to keep perspective…” – That’s the spirit, Pollyanna! It’s really not easy to go through divorce. There are a lot of problems to face in such an ordeal, especially you have a child. But despite all of this, you managed to stay strong not only for yourself, but also for your daughter. Just make sure things will be better for her future, and protect her from the daunting process of divorce. You’re definitely an inspiration! I hope things will be easier, financially, and emotionally for the both of you.

    Mona @ LawyerStGeorge.com