When You Miss Your Kid's Firsts (and other events)

When you go from seeing your kids daily to seeing them half the time (or less for some people), it's hard! When you realize that there will be times when you miss important things (first steps, first time reading a book independently, getting them ready for picture day, first lost tooth, etc.), it gets harder. 

This coming week, my 15 year old will be going to her first College Fair. She and I have been talking about this, planning for it, and getting excited about it for a year now. When we got the email giving us the date for the fair, we realized 2 things: it was on Dad's day and I had to teach a live class (which I try to only schedule on Dad days). Talk about bummed! Here's this event that we've both been so excited to attend together and we can't.  

That's part of divorce, though, isn't it?

This isn't the first event I've missed, it won't be the last as I round out the last years of co-parenting while our kids are adolescents (only 7 years to go with mine and 10 with my step-daughter!). While it never gets easier to miss events, it can be managed. Here are my tips for managing when you have to miss out on events with your kids. 

  1.  Ask for photos/details/whatever you can get.  When I missed my oldest daughter's second homecoming because I was out of town, she sent me tons of photos (teens with phones aren't ALL bad in these situations). My 15 year old and I are having college info sent here so we can review together. Sometimes all we get is the story, but it's better than nothing because it shows our kids we're interested, and let's be honest - we ARE completely interested!
  2. Accept that it's not the same as being there.  If you know me at all, you know I'm a HUGE fan of accepting the reality of any situation. The reality is we won't always be there for these things and the less we fight it, the more we accept it, the easier it is to move on and enjoy what we do have - stories, pictures, and the feeling that comes with our kids knowing we WANT to be there for everything and are genuinely interested in their lives. Not everything in life can be planned, which means there will be events you miss. 
  3. Be thankful for what you DO have.  There are many moments that you will be there for and those moments deserve gratitude! Parenting after divorce is hard, so when you do get those moments, soak them up and be thankful for every second you have because, as we all know, they may have been missed. I'm missing out on the college fair with my 15 year old, but I did get to take her to her first day of her first job - nerves and all - and that is a moment neither of us will ever forget. 

Memories are made in a lot of different ways. When my kids and I reminisce, the stories aren't just about my days, they're about Dad's, too, and that's ok - in fact, that's good! We may not have lived them together, but we definitely lived the stories together and sometimes re-telling the stories is just as entertaining as the event itself. Let's all take a moment to be happy with every moment we do have as co-parents knowing they're a little harder to come by at times. 

Reminisce with this community, comment below with some of your favorite memories!  

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