Summer is here again. Long, warm days and staying up way too late because it doesn't get dark until bedtime! I love summer. I hate to be cold. Summer also gives kids vacation from school. That is so unfair that the whole world does not take vacation too don't ya think? Sometimes it is so hard and expensive to keep them entertained! It is summer time that makes me wish I would have become a teacher all those years ago.
For single parents summer sometimes also means sending the kids to the other parent for a part or maybe even all of the summer. Every family situation is different and each custody situation brings about its own joys and hardships. One of my best friends in the world has been fighting with her ex for nine years. He did not want to be a part of his daughters life until she was two and since then, he has not wanted anything more than to make her mother's life miserable. So much so she had to pay an insane amount of money to an attorney for her daughter to attend her own wedding! Sounds crazy right? Sadly this is an all too familiar reality. While it is great he is now in her life, what price is she paying for it?
I am blessed enough to say my ex does not cause these problems for the kids and I. His mentality is if the kids don't want to be with him, they are just going to be miserable while they are there so why make them come? Of course this is also an easy out on his part. That's okay. I love having my kiddos around all the time. Okay, Okay, most of the time! I do make them go up once in a while for grandma's sake. They also need to develop their own relationship with their dad even if it's not the greatest.
I am sure most of us remember the movie The Parent Trap. If you have not seen the original I am sure you have seen a remake. These girls were so desperate to meet the parent they never knew they switched places. At summer camp! Of course that had a fairy tale ending of the parents falling back in love when they come to switch the kids back. Well, I have heard of couples getting remarried after getting divorced! I am sure the kids always have a huge role to play in those situations. They are possible! "With God All things are possible" (Mark 10:27 KJV).
My youngest is with her dad all this week. At first she was okay with going then once she got there she was not too excited to stay. I convinced her she would have fun and she only shed a few tears this year. She is not into camps or things like that because she does not like being forced to do activities she does not like. My son on the other hand has a lot of things going on. Then again he is older. So her days were being spent either at home watching television with her brother or coming to work with me. She needed a change of scenery. So while I miss her, it is a much needed break for both of us.
I spoke to a coworker who remembered having to go to her father's house for the summer. She said it was horrible because she missed her mom so much she just did not want to be there and as you can imagine did not make family life peaceful for the step mom. She said she could remember coming back home and everything seemed so different. I felt so bad for her as I was listening to her talk about it. She hated being cut off from her friends to live a whole new life for three months. I would be so emotional and stressed I can't even imagine what our kids feel like!
Not only does the loss of the two biological parent household put stress on the kids, it can wreak havoc on us adults as well. I know when I send both kids off at the same time I get lonely. If I am not careful I get the urge to go shopping with money I don't have. For other parents I know with spouses, these feelings of anger, or loneliness, can cause fights with the new family. Yet others develop physical conditions from stress such as ulcers. Praying for peace is the only thing I know to do when the situation gets tough. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28 KJV).
Summer is suppose to be a time of peace and relaxation, vacation and fun. No matter how long you have your kids in the summer you can always find time to do something memorable with them. Even if you don't have a lot of money or time, make the most of what you do have. Anything you can do to show them how much you love them is worth its weight in gold.