By Amy R.
I have a 2-year-old daughter. Yes, I fully understand that she is 2 and that most of her actions don't have an underlying meaning. She's just 2. I hear that a lot. However, for the first time since she's been born, she rejected me.
My ex wanted to have a 7-day on, 7-day off custody arrangement. So on Mondays, I drop Isabelle off at daycare and her father picks her up and I don't see her for seven days. SEVEN very LONG days. I've already listed pros and cons of this situation and honestly, I've made my best effort. What changed all of this came out of my little Isabelle's mouth: "No, I don't wanna talk to mommy."
On the weeks that I don't have Isabelle, I call her every other night. She always runs to the phone saying, "Mommmmmmmyyyyy..." and then proceeds to tell me everything she's eaten that day, that she's about to take a bath and that she loves me. She then says 'bye and my ex has taught her how to hang up the phone.
A recent weekend was no different except for the fact that my ex had taken Isabelle to his parents (they live about six hours away) and was spending the night at another friend's house that evening after spending the weekend with his parents. I called, asked to speak to Isabelle, and that's when it happened.
She rejected me.
I heard her say, "Noooooo... I don't wannnaaaaa," after my ex said, "Mommy's on the phone..." He tried to put the receiver up to her ear but I could hear her pushing it away, crying, saying no. I was devastated, waited to get off the phone and then cried for an hour.
It's bad enough that I don't get to see my daughter every day of her little, ever growing life, but now she is rejecting my routine phone calls? I mean, if at the time I was rational, I would have been able to say to myself, "Amy, she's only being that way because she's had a hard weekend being in new places and away from home."
But that wasn't what went through my head. Instead I thought, "Should I never have gotten divorced? Should I have stuck it out and been miserable so that my daughter would have me every day (and I'd have her)? Should I file for primary custody?" Irrational? Maybe. But it's how I felt at the time.
I knew that shared custody would be hard, but I guess I never realized just how much I would miss being a hands-on mom during the time she's away from me. And now, if she's starting to push me away at TWO YEARS OLD?!?!
I feel like I'm up to my neck in water and my legs are starting to give way.
Am I doomed to guilt? Has my daughter realized how to get to me? Or is she innocently acting on temporary feelings she doesn't know how to deal with?
Throw me a bone here.
Amy R. is the twentysomething mother of Isabelle. She is a high school teacher who lives in Mexico, Maine and is trying to find the funny side of life as a newly divorced mom.