(This post is a little rambly. Sorry I’m having a hard time collecting my thoughts lately.)

Dave flew back to Seattle on Sunday. All things considered, his visit here with the girls went exceptionally well. He texted me pictures of them when he took them out places (even the grocery store).

Girls take the wheel(s)! Look out!

In fact, one evening he came to pick up the girls a little early, and I had ordered pizza for them for dinner (because I thought he wasn’t coming until later and I knew they’d be hungry). So he hung out and we ate pizza together, and we talked about our kids and the upcoming election.

It was easy and familiar and completely freaking weird, all at the same time. I’d like to think that it’s the start of a trend, but I also worry that the other shoe is going to drop at some point. (It usually does, right?) But in the meantime, I have to think that it’s good for the kids to see us being pleasant with each other, so I’m hoping that we can keep it up.

On the nights Catie spent with him (we both agreed that Lucy is too young to spend the night away, she needs her crib and her normal bedtime routine), I made a point that I wanted to have a few minutes to either visit with Catie in person or Skype with her each day that she was away. It worked out really well.


One time after spending 2 nights in a row with him, she started to whine that she was homesick, so Dave brought her home to hang out with me. This just happened to be on Friday, which was my mom’s birthday, so she and I put on our matching aprons and made Mimi a birthday cake.

me & my girls on Mimi's birthday
Ignore the fact that I’m a sweaty mess in dire need of lipstick. Look how proud of herself she is!

Oh, one more unnecessary picture because it cracks me up.
Happy birthday, Mimi!
That was taken while we were singing “happy birthday” to Mimi. The WTF-ness on Lucy’s face just slays me.

(And yes, the cake looks pretty awful. I am not a very good cake decorator under the best circumstances, but with my tiny sous chef, it was even more challenging. Doesn’t matter, though, because it was DELICIOUS.)


So, that was Friday. Saturday, I took Catie to her cousin Elizabeth’s birthday party, and then the girls hung out with Dave for a few hours so I could take a nap (which was blissful). Saturday night, I had them both back at home because his flight left at 6 a.m. on Sunday.


At this point, I know I don’t really have to worry too much about how Lucy handles things because she’s still so young and oblivious. She won’t be soon, and believe me I know that.

But I primarily have to keep a close eye on Catie’s stress level. I’ve figured out a lot of her stress indicators (crying frequently, getting physical with Lucy and pushing her, etc.), and I try to be sympathetic while not letting her get away with too much crap. I mean, hey, I get that you’re upset that you haven’t seen your dad for a few months, but that doesn’t give you the right to shove your baby sister to the ground, you know?

I’m also trying to get her to talk about her feelings more. One of the things she frequently and randomly bursts into tears about is because she claims she misses Teenie, our cat who passed away in February. And I’m sure she does miss Teenie, but I don’t think that’s the whole issue. The last time she had one of these outbursts, I said, “Baby girl, are you crying because you miss Teenie, or because you miss Daddy?” She cried, “BOTH!!!” And sobbed harder.

It’s so hard for her, and I try to make it easier where I can, but we have moments like that where she just breaks my heart and I don’t know how to comfort her because I can’t fix it.


I knew it was going to be bad when he left, so I randomly said, “Hey, you know what? I know you’re going to be really sad after Daddy goes back to Seattle, so I think we should think of something REALLY SUPER FUN to do after he leaves, and I think you should pick what our adventure will be.”

She thought about it for a few minutes, and said she wanted to go see the dinosaur bones at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. She went there recently on a field trip with her daycare and she loved it.

Did I mention that admission to the museum is free? DONE.

Catie & Lucy at the NC Museum of Science

Almost every picture I took turned out blurry because both girls were having so much fun that they never stopped running the whole time.

I did, however, get one picture of my girl sitting with a dinosaur footprint.

My future paleontologist poses with a dinosaur footprint.

This is sort of how I see her as an adult, since she’s so adamant about wanting to be a paleontologist when she grows up. I can imagine her 30 years from now at a dig site in South America or God-knows-where, sitting just like this next to some brilliant discovery she’s made.

As far as distracting her from Dave’s departure? It kind of worked. She’s mostly been fine for the past couple of days. Maybe it’ll be a delayed reaction, I don’t know.


Last night, she said that she wanted to make Daddy a card. I gave her one of my blank note cards, and she asked me to help her spell out her words. (We’ve been doing this a lot lately since she’s been practicing writing at kindergarten. I help her sound them out and try to help her figure out the next letter herself.)

She wrote on the card:

“I miss you Daddy. Love Catie and Lucy.”

Then she covered it in stickers and asked me to mail it. Even though seeing those words printed out in her little 5 year-old handwriting made me want to hold the card to my chest and cry, I put it in an envelope, stamped it, and shipped it off.

I have no idea if it’ll break his heart like it did mine. I guess that disconnect to each other’s feelings is just one of many reasons we aren’t together anymore.

On anger

It’s 11:30 at night, the girls are asleep, the dishwasher is running, clothes are folded and put away, daycare bags for tomorrow are packed. I should be sleeping right now.

Yet all I can think about is this rage I feel swirling around in my head, and I don’t know what to do with it.

I’m not generally an angry person. I don’t like to hold grudges. That’s not how I want to live my life. I don’t want to be one of those angry, bitter people. (You know the people I’m talking about. Everyone knows at least a handful of them.)

Lately all of my anger is aimed at Dave. Other than the obvious reasons, I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Generally we’ve been ok with each other lately. We’re civil, anyway.

But then I have a day like Monday – and of course, even though I texted Dave to let him know we were at the ER, I still had a lot of that resentment, that “your kid is sick, you should be here right now; or at the very least, you should be taking care of your other kid while I take care of the sick one” feeling.

I’ve also felt that way a lot over the past couple of weeks, when I’ve been having problems getting Lucy to sleep. Because yes, as it turns out, I do kind of need another adult in the house who can take over at 4 a.m. when I’m at the end of my rope.

I’m guessing it’s natural to feel that way when the father of your children lives 3,000 miles away, and is no longer a regular physical presence in their lives.

But it really hit me hard this past Saturday. Why Saturday? Because I spent all day with the girls, just me and them. And yes, it was exhausting (my god, was it ever), but there were so many good moments.

And I just stop and think, god damn you, you’re missing everything.

He doesn’t know how Lucy asks for her bottle, what words she knows, her favorite foods, who her favorite person is (hint: my dad), or the little “jokes” she tells. (Slapping her forehead and saying, “D’oh!” is one guaranteed to make me smile every time.)

He doesn’t see the way Lucy’s face lights up every morning when she sees her big sister for the first time.

He doesn’t get to look in his rearview mirror and see the two of them in the backseat, and catch a glimpse of Catie reaching over to tickle Lucy to make her laugh.

He doesn’t know what Catie’s favorite bedtime book is this week. He doesn’t know the songs she sings along with on the radio.

He misses the bad stuff, sure – he never has to do the grunt work of changing diapers or reminding Catie again that she needs to pick up her toys. But he misses all of those amazing and precious moments too. It makes me so angry FOR THEM. They won’t get to have memories of their childhood that involve their dad. At best, those memories will be sporadic and fleeting.

We have a lot of mutual friends on Facebook (obviously, we de-friended each other a LONG time ago), so I hear things about how he talks about the kids. He makes it sound like he’s this super-involved and loving dad. I guess that’s what he wants his friends and family to think, because the reality of it is just so unbelievably shitty.

And he brought it all on himself. He chose to leave. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t force him to stay in North Carolina and be a present figure in his children’s lives.

I’ve dated/am dating guys who are divorced with kids. So far, all of them have joint custody and see their children on a 50-50 basis with their exes. I’m jealous of that. I mean, sure, I’m jealous that their ex-wives get a break, some “free” nights off here and there. But I’m mainly jealous that their kids will grow up with their fathers in their lives. I wish to God I could make that happen for my girls.

I can’t fix this. I can’t change what it is. I just have to figure out some way to work around this anger that I can’t seem to get out of my head right now.