For joint custodians, the days without our children can be hard. Sure, there's a sense of freedom, what one divorced mom called the "hidden benefit" of being divorced. You actually get time for yourself.
And while I must admit I enjoy that on occasion, I more often find myself missing the Little Girl to the point of restless distraction.
What's toughest during these days is being at a park, or a mall, or other spot where there are kids playing.
Like so many aspects of divorce, it's yet another thing you could never have anticipated. But watching other children run and giggle when my daughter isn't with me becomes a singular kind of discomfort.
Unknown kids cavort in front of me, and soon enough I begin imagining the Little Girl laughing on the slide or commandeering the see-saw with a friend. I hear and see her in my mind's eye. And when the reverie ends and I return to reality, the day seems that much lonelier.
I thought this stuff would stop bothering me by now. But divorce teaches you that there are certain things that defy accommodation.
Ultimately, it's probably a good thing that I can never get used to living without the Little Girl. I never want to be complacent when it comes to her.