For reasons that I suppose really don't matter, that changed last year. Now my kids are gone half of the time, and I've never even seen the inside of the house they live in when they're away. When I do have them, it's always just the three of us. I used to tell people that I wasn't a single parent. I was just a parent who was single. I think I'm a single parent now.
It's funny the things you miss.
There are the big things: making all the decisions yourself without having anyone to talk them over with, not knowing what your kids are up to and how they're doing, having no control over who they're seeing and what those people are saying to them. Those things are hard for obvious reasons.
Then there are the little things: I miss that quick exchange of amused glances over the kids' heads when one of them says something they didn't realize was funny. I miss the conversations I get to have with them when just one of the kids comes to the store with me. I miss having someone to tell about the cutest thing one of them said, even though I know it's really not that cute and you'd have to know her to get how funny it was. Those things seem silly, but they're the bits that make me the saddest.
I think my kids still feel like they have a whole family. I hope so. I don't think they feel like they're missing out on too much, although I know there are things that they wish were different. But I feel like I am. I wanted to have a whole family, too. Even though there are certainly perks to the current arrangement, I wanted to raise my kids with someone.
Maybe all along, I was just being selfish, and it was never for them that I insisted we stay some kind of family even if we were separated. Maybe it was always just for me. I mean, they seem to be pretty okay with everything. And their dad is the happiest he's ever been. I'm the only one who's not all right with this.
I don't suppose I'll ever get a second chance to do this over again--obviously not with these kids, anyhow--so I better find a way to enjoy it more and accept that me not getting exactly what I wanted doesn't really matter that much. I got two great kids, and that's a lot. It ought to be enough for anyone, really, so it's probably time to suck it up now that I got it out. I'll go see about doing that.