For reasons I don’t want to go into at the moment, my daughter lives with her mother 160 miles away. She spends most of her school holidays with me, and the occasional weekend in between, and I visit for special occasions. This means the time I do spend with her is very precious, and I want it to be “quality time”. For this reason, and this reason alone, I try to make our time together exciting and fun. If I can put of the mundane ordinary tasks for a day or two, I will. I would rather go out for the day and do something she wants, than spend it at home or in town doing normal everyday stuff.
When she’s here with me in the summer, we spend four weeks together. Obviously it’s not possible to postpone everything during this period, and yes, the normal stuff does happen. But then, if we’re spending that amount of time together, it’s as if we are a “normal” family anyway. But during our weekends, and to some extent half term, things are different.
I feel envious of those separated parents who manage to see their children most weeks. For them, having a normal routine is a good thing. But in my case, and I suspect plenty of others, I don’t have that luxury. Our time together is precious. If we go to a theme park or the cinema, it’s because we want to, not because we have nothing else to do nor because I feel guilty. If I have to to do something which doesn’t involve her, then I feel guilty. Take this week for example. I’m involved in a amateur dramatic group and we’re putting on a show next week. That means this week we’re putting the stage up and rigging the lighting. This will require spending a large amount of time in the hall working. Time which I would rather spend with her. But it’s stuff that needs doing, so I have no choice.
In fact, if my daughter had her way, we’d probably spend all day every day at home just so she can surf the ‘web and play Sims2. I think she’s turning into a geek already!