Every parent has been there. Your kid coughs during the day and it’s allergies and you tell them to go play. Kid coughs at 3:00AM and they must have the Bubonic Plague and you start searching for boils. Anyone who says they haven’t overreacted, is lying.
My youngest had to have an Endoscopy recently. I kid you not, when asked what we are dealing with, the Pediatric Gastroenterologist responded, “we could be dealing with anything from heartburn to cancer, I won’t know what until I get in there”. I almost turned his testicles into a bow tie. So her parents, Aunt and Uncle, and grandparents spent the next 2 weeks practicing deep breathing exercises and sitting on the edge of our seats while awaiting biopsy results. I never again want to have to say “biopsy” when discussing my child. And you wonder why I drink? Needless to say she got lots of Popsicles (I would’ve gotten her a damn pony had she asked). Turns out it was just a little inflammation but seriously, who the hell says that?
Every summer my girls go away with their grandparents for anywhere for 2-4 weeks. I miss them terribly and I never want them to go but I let them because it would be wrong to deny them these memories with their grandparents just because I’ll miss them.
That being said, I spend that time constantly telling myself that just because I haven’t gotten an update does not mean a band of rednecks has found them in the woods and is systematically torturing them. Most likely, they just don’t have signal…..spaz.
Past years have been tough because the girls weren’t old enough to contact me on their own and ex-daughter-in-law, is not high on their grandmother’s list of priorities. Therefore, I sometimes go for extended periods without hearing how they are doing (one summer was 10 days and I made sure it was clear that if that ever happened again, they would no longer be going on these trips – boundaries folks). Recently though, they have iPads and can FaceTime me (how is that a verb?) regularly so it has been better.
What does all this mean for you? It sucks being away from your kids and as divorced parents, we have to do it regularly. It’s never fun and it’s easy to overreact when you aren’t there, or you only have half of the story. Sidenote: Don’t listen to stories from a kid and take it as Gospel. Ask the other parent before getting upset because let’s face it, kids are idiots. Don’t look at me like that, when we were kids we were idiots too (some of us didn’t grow out of it) and yes, yes, your child is brilliant. Can we move on?
The chances of them being dead on the side of the road or contracting the Bubonic Plague is slim, so simmer down. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. If it has been excessive (like 10 freaking days), then speak up and set boundaries – they are still your children too. Otherwise remember that you don’t want to be tethered to your ex either (which is why you’re divorced), so let them do their thing and talk yourself off the ledge.
Self-care goes a long way here. Take a bath, get some exercise (yes, I’m one of those crazy people who believe that exercise induced endorphins can keep you from being homicidal), do the shit that gets put aside when your kids are with you (or just freaking sleep in because yay! the kids are gone), or whatever you need to do for YOU. Take care of yourself and your psychotic symptoms will lessen. After all, your kids are fine and they still love and miss you.