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Jon Eaves
That's so stupid that it's not even wrong.
That's so stupid that it's not even wrong.

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I had end up in my Twitter stream tonight.  It was a stark reminder that I'm not the only father dealing with the pain of separation from their child. I'm sure it doesn't make it easier for anybody but the phrase "misery loves company" means that I have a warped solace in knowing there's a shared understanding and feeling for at least some of the separated Dads (and presumably Mums as well) out there.

Our shared parenting agreement is that I have G for 5 days out of 14.  This is the sharing my ex-wife wanted, and for now I'm willing to accede to this arrangement even though in my heart I want him 100% of the time, to cuddle him to sleep every night and to be woken by him kissing me on the cheek, or jumping on my chest every morning.

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is the massive difference in ability to cope between the primary carer and the other partner when the divorce occurs in younger children.  In this case, I'm not talking about coping in a functional sense - I'm an awesome Dad with little issues in looking after G, nor caring for him or making good decisions about food, education etc.  The inability to cope relates to the isolation from the community, it's almost like being a pariah.  I'll explain further. 

In my case, my ex-wife has had 6 years to be part of the community on a day-to-day basis, make networks of friends, establish rapport with the community in a way that I've only superficially been part of.  While it's true that I could have inflicted myself deeper into the community, it's not something the average "working parent" can do - there's just not the time nor opportunities.  I went to the fundraisers, the working bees, socialised on weekends and the street parties etc and know people in the community - but it's only superficial.  There's not the daily walks, the craft groups, the roll in the grass/mud play time, the coffee shop chats. 

So now when I pick up G from school, there's not the welcoming groups of parents - it's almost like people are wondering "who is this, and why are they near our children".  I'm about as far from shy is possible without being a game show host, so it will only take time - but it's surprising how hard it is to break down the walls on the closed groups. G playing with other children and I ask him their names and parents turn to wonder "how could he not know?".

The next part is schooling - G is only in Prep, so there's plenty of years to go, but I'm constantly making sure that I keep myself up to date with his progress, and with the parent-teacher interactions.  Nothing "comes easily" any more - you need to actively work hard at the communication to make sure you don't get left behind when decisions occur, and that you feel some form of solid control over the paths that are being taken. I'm not going to let somebody else remote-control my son, I'm going to actively participate - but to do that I need to make sure I'm there 100%, and am over-prepared for every situation.

As I said in my first tweet response, it's like being an amnesiac (or at least I'm projecting, because I don't have any first hand experience) where you know you should know the answer, but for some reason you just don't and you have to keep asking people the answers and they look at you strangely - because surely "you should just know this".

I'm completely lucky and eternally blessed with my little man - I love him to absolute pieces and nothing is going to stop me from being the best Dad that I can possibly be.  I just thought it was worth sharing that for those of us who care, who love deeply and who really, really just want to be with our children the separation and the isolation from them is awful, and it never really goes away when they're with you - because there's always these reminders of another life they live that you're not part of, and never will be.  That really fucking hurts.

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So +Steven Caddy those lights are awesome. Those lights are so awesome that when I picked up George from school we're walking home and he's pretending they're lasers and shooting everything with them.

Win right there.

The lights in question are;

Absolutely brilliant. (excuse the pun)

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