By Friday night, I was dreading the thought of 8 hours working a conference while simultaneously keeping a 2-year-old entertained. I kept dwelling bitterly on the thought of “I shouldn’t HAVE to choose between making money and spending time with my daughter,” so my defiant solution was to combine the two options. The logistics were starting to materialize a very BAD situation in my mind.
She was awesome. She was an image of toddler perfection. She didn’t go to the darkside once. She flirted with the participants. She laughed at the police dogs. She served cookies and milk. People were coming up to me and saying how smart and friendly and wonderful she was. I was basking in selfish pride.
There was no Finding Nemo to distract her, no playground to entertain her. It was just 8 hours of mommy and daughter time; talking, reading, playing with puzzles, pretending to shop, putting Ariel to bed, painting with watercolors, and yes, eating lots of cookies. At the end of the day, after we had cleaned up and collected paperwork, I was completely exhausted, but the satisfaction was oh so sweet.
I kept salavting on this thought: Maybe just being near me is enough to make her happy? Which could also translate simply into: She likes me, she really likes me!
I’ve been thinking about my initial reaction to being away from LB, and how depressed it made me. I started to realize that maybe I’m scared to be without her, because it intensifies the lonelinessof single parenting. At least when she’s nearby, I have a purpose; I feel useful and needed. When she’s gone, what’s my purpose? I know this may sound pathetic, but every decision, action and intent I’ve had in the past 2 years have been centered around what she needs, and my brain is having a hard time unhinging from that.
I don’t want to think about how lonley I am, so I cling to my daughter’s presence. In way, I’ve become co-dependent on LB, and that’s not fair to her.
What I discovered on Saturday is being away from her has given me a deep appreciation of the time I DO get to spend with her. I get to see how intelligent, inquisitive, enjoyable and beautiful she is. This may just be a coping mechanism I’ve created in order to deal with separating from the child I gave birth to, but I think this philosophy may do me some good.
I’m filing for a modification of child support. I’m paying almost $250 more than I originally filed as my childcare expense. They increased the tuition about a month after I received an order, and I didn’t want to go through the paperwork again. Now I really have no choice. Its obvious that I can’t foot the bill anymore and I might as well try everything I can to recieve the child support that’s owed to LB.
Merry Christmas ya filthy animal Rooferman.