Split Custody


editors pick

By Rachel Doherty

Again, I’m left waiting. It’s the third time someone forgot to pick me up at school this month. Mom will blame Dad and Dad will blame Mom. I blame them both. Living half my life with one and half with another. In other words, all of my life without someone.

They say it will get better. They say they just have to work out a better schedule. Ever since the separation I am told just give it time and the kinks will get worked out. I know better. This is the new norm. I’m done waiting. I’ll just walk home.

17 thoughts on “Split Custody

  1. Nicely said, but… (“but” is a conjunction that implies contrast and conflict, “but” is a word we hate to hear, like “dear, I have something to say…”) I would like it better if you could take me out of her mind and put me in front of the school, watching and wiling away the time, waiting. Don’t speak of despair, show me, but what do i know?:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The story was written in response to a photo prompt of a child standing in front of a school. I chose to let the child’s internal monologue tell the story. Sorry if that wasn’t to your liking.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. That works if you’re older, but what about the little ones?

    My son is divorced with a similar arrangement, but fortunately nothing like this has happened. Plus we grandparents are always there are back up.


  3. A keen look at a situation from a kid’s point-of-view and greatly appreciated as a parent. I have two kids of my own. Different fathers. Neither of the fathers wanted them and begged me for an abortion. With nearly five years before dating again, the second man clearly stated he wanted me to get pregnant. Afterward, he decided the timing wasn’t quite right after all.

    Of my children, the first was a boy. When he was five and “old enough to reciprocate play,” his father climbed back into the picture. I suppose it was great not having responsibilities of taking care of Cameron when he was sick, enrolling him in school, taking him for his shots, or even seeing him in school productions. He always claimed he had to work. But when he picked him up every other week and played the whole time — another story!

    My daughter’s father was completely different. He visited me in the hospital after she was born. He picked her up, lay her on his lap and stared at her for what seemed an eternity. I remember thinking he was bonding with her. Imagine the shock later when he explained he was “saying his good-byes” so I could give her up for adoption. He hasn’t seen her since she was four. She’ll be eleven this year.

    At first, I lied and told her he died serving our country. The fact is that he was given a dishonorable discharge from the service after a recording of pedophilia. So I was lucky he opted out of the relationship. I didn’t want her to feel rejected because he wasn’t there. When she was nine, I told her the truth. I explained that being a man didn’t mean he was a good father, it just meant he had the stuff in him to make babies, that’s all. He didn’t have the brains to raise one. And he made a terrible mistake by saying he wanted nothing to do with her. Then I told her I love her so much, and she’s lucky to have a mom who loves her twice as much as her dad ever could. I prove it every day. I also say it every day.

    I know your pain is difficult. I know you try to make it better by saying it’s “the norm.” But whether it’s normal or not doesn’t really matter. The only aspect that you need to care about is how it makes you feel, normal or not. Perhaps talking to your parents can help. I would suggest letting them know how you feel so you can embark on family counseling. As a former teacher, I understand how depressed kids can get normally, without added stress, just from active pituitary glands. This is a crucial time in your life, and you should let them understand what they’re up against.

    Listen, if either of my kids felt the way you do, and I didn’t know about it, I’d be kicking myself! “Why didn’t I notice? Was there something I should have done differently?” etc. At least give them the benefit of a doubt and the opportunity to try and make it right. It will take work, and it won’t be perfect, but it has to be better than what it is.


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