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Visitation with Young Children: Can't See Them vs Don't Want to

One of the most subtly-gnawing things I've had to deal with—as a part time dad—is the notion that the Bug (until recently) did not understand the difference between:Baloo happy to see Mogli

  1. I can't see him.
  2. I don't want to see him.

I mean, if your dad can't see you (cuz he's fighting in Iraq, say for example), that's bad enough. But if he doesn't want to .. uh, that's much worse .. something which could affect a child .. their entire life. So it's important the Bug knows » I want to see him.

Whenever I pick him up, the *first* thing I do (soon as we drive away) is make a BIG DEAL about how happy I am to have him.

I mean, I really whoop it up, big time » "Wooo-whooo! It's dada's turn to get the Bug." (High-five's ensue.) Then (after a while) I say, "I wish I could have you more."

"But we have to share," he responds. (It's too cute for words.) Then we do this role-reversal thing, where I protest (like *he* sometimes does) .. "But I don't WANT TO share."

"But we have to share, dad," he repeats. "Mom wants me, too." To which I continue my childish protest, "No. no. no. I don't WANT TO share."

"But we have to share," he says, calmly, like an adult .. until I finally relent and say, "Okay, if you say so."

••• today's entry continues below •••

May seem silly, but it helps convey my point » that I *do* want to see him more. And it's all true, of course » I really do want to see him more.

And this is something I've been trying to convey since .. well, he wasn't yet 6 months old when his mom and I split up. So this is something that's been bothering me FOR YEARS. Gnawing at me. And this week was the first time I felt certain he got it.

Huge relief. Until recently, this was a topic too uncomfortable to discuss. Cuz there was really nothing I could do about it, and so much time I can't be with him.

Along these lines .. I was talking to a girl recently, who said, "I *think* my dad loved me .. in his own way." I didn't say anything, but thought, "That's sad. Cuz if your dad really loved you, you wouldn't *think* it .. you'd *know* it."

That's what I want for the Bug .. for him to *know* I love him .. and never have to wonder. (He'll be 3 next month.)

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » visitation custody young children


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