Summer planning has always been my art since becoming a stepmom. My husband was good at going to movies, bowling alleys, and parks- last minute. Otherwise, all trips, camps, etc. start with my whirlwind of thorough research, nights of staring at our calendar(s), and debating- in my head- what we should do.
Summer planning as a stepfamily with partial custody is, as you know, an insanely painful process in itself. Summers, also, are somewhat insane. Some of you have the kids all summer and have very mixed feelings about that, to say the least. Others of you see your stepkids leave for the summer, and although it is enjoyable, you do discover that you miss them. In our world, we were granted every other week with them- only in the summer- about 5 years ago.
That made every other week the only time we could shove in as much summer fun, camps, and other special things we could never do with them during the every-other-weekend-pitiful-painful-pittance schedule the rest of the year. It was this major deal for us to be able to see them morning after night after morning, at home. It was so awesome to be able to sign them up for camps for activities they always wanted to learn but were not allowed to because of their mom's (lack of) required approval (or lack of communication whatsoever). They could do VBS, or volunteer at VBS. They could go on a church trip! They could see us, we could see them, tomorrow! And two days after that!
It was a mix of stress and fitting in things plus complete, amazing joy and ease. Summer weeks were never a painful struggle of awkwardness. The only pain was wishing we could have more time, do more, have this year around. Things were sometimes so nice, it was depressing to realize we only had these special weeks a handful of times. Depending on the summer, it was about 5 weeks. It felt like 3.
Now that we have one skid 50/50 year around for the first time, I just realized how less stressful summer will be knowing that it will finally continue. I won't have to shove in doctors and dentists appointments in the summer. I won't have to feel like "our only chance is now" for the first time ever. (Although, then again, one feels that sentiment a little less when they are no longer kids and have busy teen lives...Still, there's the creeping feeling of "we only have a few years left" in there and a much, much tighter timeframe nearly gone with the elder.)
Looking back, realizing the difference of having a fair parenting schedule compared to what we used to have, and how much more logical it feels all around...It is so sad that our justice system perpetuates ridiculous parenting shared custody schedules. We had so much to offer, and we barely had the time to offer it. We were not prisoners, drug addicts, abusers. We were fully employed, capable, willing. Although I know the history, I will never understand in my heart why so many families have to endure so much pain at the mercy of a judge, mediator, or insane spouse.
viva equal custody! viva summer!