Moving On

I have a parenting issue, and I’m not sure what to do about it. So, forgive me for asking, and forgive me for impinging upon your valuable time, but I do need some advice.

My son has a friend from his old playgroup. He mentions him every day, well, at least every time I see him. They haven’t seen each other since March. T doesn’t go to the same playgroup any more but the two of them used to play every day. He always said that this little boy (and me) were his best friends.

Whenever we’re going somewhere T always says he hopes his little friend will be there. I don’t sense he’s disappointed when he’s not, but I don’t know. All I do know is I don’t want my son to be disappointed in anything right now. I know he’ll suffer disappointment at some time and I can’t stop that but, right now, I’ll take the disappointments son. I’ve got broader shoulders.

So. Back to the shizzle. My ex-wife has the contact details of T’s friend’s parents and I’ve asked her numerous times if she’s made contact to set up a play date or get-together. She hasn’t. Last weekend she said that another friend from T’s new playgroup had moved from the area and he should just get used to this. ‘People move away, people move on’ she said. It seems he doesn’t want to make contact, for whatever reason. I don’t know the reason. We don’t talk really.

The thing is T’s friend hasn’t moved away. He’s over there. *Points over there* A 15 minute walk away, or a 3 minute drive. He’s not moved away. T has new friends from his new playgroup but he does keep talking of this boy fondly. And, as far as I can see, there should be no reason for them not to see each other, unless of course they’re both busy doing other things or his parents disapprove, which I can’t imagine.

I’d like my ex-wife to try arrange something, even just a couple of hours a month at a playground or soft play place out of town. Somewhere they can play together, see each other, be friends.

Because I don’t feel I can do this. I can’t simply email T’s little friend’s mum and suggest something. Can I? She’s always been friendly but surely it sounds better coming from my ex-wife. Mum emailing mum and all that. Perhaps I’m overthinking this side of it a bit, but how would you feel if the father (divorced) of a friend of your child emailed you out the blue suggesting a playdate somewhere? It’s not like the kids could come round to my studio flat so it would have to be… oh I don’t know. It couldn’t be at my old house it would have to be…

See. I’m confused. I’m overthinking it aren’t I?

So it could be easier for my ex-wife to suggest something but I get the impression my ex-wife doesn’t want to. As I said. I don’t know the reasons.

I realise that this may make my ex-wife sound cold, or a little thoughtless, but this isn’t the case. Perhaps she just finds this hard too. Perhaps she doesn’t want to sit down with T’s friend’s mum and get asked some questions about ‘what happened.’ Perhaps she’s just too busy. There could be a whole load of valid and real reasons why she doesn’t want to do this. I just don’t know what they are. And, of course, I don’t want to step on her toes or do anything she doesn’t want me to do. Obviously.

All I know is ‘people move on’, as she said. T hasn’t – he wants to see his friend. And I know that if they do meet again they’ll have a lot of fun. But me organising it all seems more complex. Or am I just being a dick? Or is this just actually all about me me wanting something that used to be? Do I need to move on?

Because people move on.

I’m faced with the prospect that in 3 years my children and my ex-wife will be moving on. To Scotland. Where I’ll be I don’t know. Should I follow them? Do I sort out a life for myself here, now, for the next few years, only to have to stop all that when they move? Do I relocate too? My ex-wife is looking at houses now to get a feel for things, to see which areas she likes and what the schools have to offer. Fuck. Scotland. Okay, it’s not the moon but unless I move with them I’m not going to see them as much.

Fuck.

But in the meantime, what should I do about my son and his little friend? All answers and advice, all suggestions and comments, warmly welcomed.

Thanks for reading.

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57 responses to “Moving On

  1. I can see why you’re bothered about it but I suspect you are over-thinking it. I honestly don’t see the problem in you emailing the mother of the friend to say that T really wants to see his friend and would it be possible? She might say no (which would be a bit weird) or be vague and non-committal, but at least you’ve tried.

    If you do it on your time (as opposed to asking your ex-wife to do it, which might seem like you’re making an imposition) then I think you’re just being a good dad and listening to your children and responding rationally. All IMHO of course.

    • Thanks. I think I should give it a try and see how we get on. The kids and my ex are off to Spain this weekend so I’ll try to set something up for when they return, providing she’s okay with that.
      Thanks for your advice.

  2. Can you ask your ex if there is a reason why she doesn’t want them to stay in touch? If not, I think you should just get in touch with the mum. My kids used to talk about their old nursery friends, but on the rare occasions they see them things aren’t the same. Sadly, they do all move on in the end – to new schools and new friends. Good luck!

    • I don’t know of a reason. Perhaps she just hasn’t got round to it or, as she said, she thinks people move on so should get used to this early. I don’t know. I will try to make contact as I know my son will enjoy it. For however long.
      Thanks for commenting. πŸ™‚

  3. Did you used to take T to playgroup? If you did, then the Mum of his friend would know you and I cannot imagine would react badly at the boys being friends. Of course you may want to run your plan of making contact with the Mum by your ex out of courtesy and she may well give you the reasoning behind her reluctance.

    There is some truth in your ex saying people move on – but there is that thing called closure that makes the process easier for us all too. With regards to the Scotland thing – it all comes down to what is best for the children and only you know the answer. Much love to you as always x

    • I did used to take T to playgroup so I saw his friend’s mum there and at other play things I used to take T to, purely so he could play with his friend.
      It’s tricky as this is still quite new so I’m conscious not to tread on someone else’s toes and to do the right thing but thanks for your advice. It’s much appreciated.

  4. I would have no issue with a dad contacting me to arrange playmates. Perhaps you could meet at a park or indoor play area? Have to say I am rubbish at play dates because I am really very shy, unless drunk, and drunk tends to be frowned upon on play dates I think. So i never initiate them, but I do always say yes to invites because I want my kids to be more outgoing than me!

    • LOL, thing is I don’t get invited on any. I don’t seem to be the one that does get invited. So I don’t feel confident in trying to organise something. But I should give it a go.
      Thanks for your advice.

  5. What I would do: I would pass by the old nursery, leave a little note with the teacher for the parent, very casually saying T really misses seeing her son and if possible, could the kids get together for a playdate. Leave your number and if she gets in touch, then great – if not, then unfortunately I have to agree with your Ex, they do move on very quickly. I thought early friendships my children formed would last forever, but a change in nursery/school sees them make a whole new lot of friends.
    As for Scotland, let’s hope it doesn’t happen too soon, that would be devastating & only you will know at the time the best thing to do. Hope this helps.

  6. Oh man this is complicated. Judging by the post you are certainly over thinking it but that’s a good thing.

    If it was me?

    I’d contact the mum of your boys’ friend. What harm can it do? You’re a marvellous wordsmith and am sure you can craft something as equally polite as it would be practical. You’re putting your boy first and if the answer turns out to be a resounding “no” or nothing at all then what have you lost? You try your best and looking at what you’ve written you need to follow what your heart tells you.

    As for Scotland? Sheesh. My older daughter lives in Scotland with my ex. We talk, we Skype, we email. I miss out on things I wish I didn’t but you take what you can. If it feels right then do it. If it feels wrong for you, but it’s the right thing for your kids then I guess that’s right too. I am sure you’ll do the right thing even if it breaks your heart.

    As you were soldier.

    • Thanks very much. I’ll email T’s friends mum, if my ex gives me her email address.
      As for the Scotland thing. It’s in 3 years so I’ve got time to think about what to do, but my son’s 3 now, and to me it feels like he was born last week. 3 years goes bloomin’ quickly.
      Thanks for reading.

  7. I totally would email and arrange a playdate at a park or something. That way T’s friend’s ma would see you are an involved dad (let XW know you’ll be doing this as you feel it is important). Yes people move on but there are times you need an anchor. Maybe that friend is T’s anchor to say things have changed but not ALL things are changing. (Maybe I’m over thinking too) as for Scotland, I totally would move too – I know it’s easy for me to say but I just can’t imagine my kiddos that far away! Hugs mate hang in there!

    • Thank you. I think she knows I’m an involved dad, or certainly was in the past when I looked after the kids full-time. I’m sure it won’t sound too odd me suggesting something like this.
      Many thanks.

  8. Not quite the same thing because my wife and I are still very much together but she tends to work weekend mornings which means that is a time that I almost always have the kids. My eldest left pre-school last year and is about to complete his first year in reception but he goes to a different school to his best friends (twins) from pre-school. Their mum’s partner is often away working but I had no problem texting her so that the children can ‘accidentally’ meet up at the local park on weekend mornings. I’d probably email in your situation.

    Scotland sounds shitty though. No idea what I’d do myself. You can’t put your own life on hold for ever is probably the only useful thing I have to say on that.

    Good luck. I hope whatever you do works out for the best.

  9. In your shoes I would say to the ex again – have you contacted the mother. Of she says no, casually say ‘no problem, I’ll do it as I know how much T wants to see his friend’

    I can see why you are a little reluctant being a male contacting a female for a play date. How about as its likely to be a weekend when you have them, ask if her and hubby fancy meeting you and the kids at a soft play or play ground?

    Obvs I don’t know your ex but I suspect she maybe avoiding the situation due to lots of questions potentially being asked.

    As for the Scotland thing, geez, it’s a long distance to travel to see your kids and you are right, it may mean seeing them less. Try not to over think it too much now as you don’t know what the future may bring.

    Hope this helps a bit,
    Rach x

    • It does help. Thanks for your advice. In this case I’ve just been thinking about things too much. I think.
      See I’m thinking again. It’s thinking that causes the shizzle. πŸ˜‰

  10. Ok.
    Firstly, I have no real clue as w isn’t ok’d enough to tell me about friends but my initial feelings on this are…
    1. You ARE over-thinking it
    2. It is fine for you to e-mail friends mum. She has met you. Not your ex-wife. It would be MORE weird of she did it.
    3. I think in your ex-wifes position I might feel awkward doing it myself as it was previously your role. She may feel embarrassed.
    4. Your gut is telling you to do it.
    5. Your son and his buddy will be thrilled.
    6. Do it.
    7. Apologies for the list.
    8. Am typing this on my phone. If it now makes me log in again and deletes everything I have typed I will scream.

  11. Tricky one, but you’ve obviously been pondering this for a while and I reckon you will eventually bite the bullet and contact the kid’s mum. You have nothing to lose. The mum can a) ignore you, b) say no, or c) say “that would be great, when and where?”.

    But I do think there comes a time when we have to move on; you deserve a life and you need to break free to live it. If your ex-wife is considering taking the kids to Scotland then it’s obvious she’s having no trouble moving on, and in a way I admire her. I moved on when my daughter was 18 months old – I was in a dead-end relationship with her useless knob of a father who was cruel and abusive towards me, and I really had no option but to get away. Moving on for me was easy because I wasn’t prepared to let Amy grow up in an environment where the man she was supposed to look up treated her mother like shit on a shovel, and that was on a good day. I hate the bastard still, but he has mellowed over the years and does see Amy from time to time.

    What you have is a strong bond with your children and NO ONE will EVER take that away from you. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in Scotland or Australia, they will still be your kids and they will still love you – and you them. That isn’t the case for me as knob-head lives, fortunately, 200 miles away and Amy doesn’t call him dad – she calls my husband dad, she’s known him since she was 18 months old and has grown up with him. This is a very extreme case and nothing like your circumstances I know, but sometimes you have to think about yourself, too. Remember your kids will be well catered for and no doubt happy in their new life, and you will be happy as well, knowing that they will always be on the end of a phone, Skype or whatever.

    Take care, CJ x

    • Thank you for your advice and for sharing your story. I know that where ever my children are I’ll miss them and they, hopefully, will miss me. Of course Skype is an option so perhaps I should stop worrying about this and just concentrate on the now, for now. If you catch my drift.
      Many thanks for reading and for commenting.

  12. Blimey! I think you have more than enough advice (above). But my feeling is you should contact T’s friend’s mum (phaw, this is apostrophe hell!) – she will probably be delighted that her son is popular and well thought of.
    ps.T is lucky to have such a caring and thoughtful father.

    • Thanks. All advice is welcome. Everyone has something different to say, different experiences to share, so all comments welcome.
      Many thanks for taking the time to comment. And for the comment. πŸ™‚

  13. p.p.s. Just wanted to add that kids are quite mercurial when it comes to friends – best buddies one day, sworn enemies the next! I think most children make their lasting friends at university don’t they?

  14. Does your ex now feel that maybe she is starting afresh, hence the moving on? If its important to your boy then I reckon just arrange it. As for Scotland, a lot can happen in 3 years and if you choose to rather live where you are now there is always a local flight (which is probably v cheap booked in advance). You are a good dad who obviously cares about them a lot, I don’t think there’s any way they’ll become distanced from you even if there is physical distance between you (if that makes sense).

  15. Pick up the email or phone and make a play date for you son. You are an equal parent and one that is hearing what your son wants. Nothing bad can come from your son having a play date. There is discord in dovrce but the kids should not be affected. Make your son happy and get the playdate on the books. xx

  16. Personally, and this may have been said in comments before but I’ve not had a chance to read them all, I wouldn’t mind one bit if a Dad emailed me rather than a Mum. Even if said Mum and Dad were no longer together. I would understand that actually you get to spend time with them too, and do fun things during that time and maybe the fun thing would be a playdate for T and his little buddy.

    I would suggest maybe meeting at a soft play place, or a park on a nice day or something. That way she won’t feel it’s inappropriate (i.e. you suggesting you go round to theirs or something). You could always suggest you do it at a weekend when his buddy’s Dad is around too.

    I wouldn’t over think it too much mate. You’re doing what you think is right for T, that’s honourable. Do it! x

  17. I can’t really add anything else to the discussion because I’m in total agreement with everyone else. Do it. Email the mum and arrange a weekend play date at the park. I can understand why your ex wife would be reticent about doing it herself because until recently you were their full-time cater.

    I won’t mention the big ‘S’ other than to say it’s something like 1,095 days away so make the most of each and every one with your children until then. After that, you’ll know what’s for the best. You are – and will continue to be – a fantastic dad

  18. This is not about you and your ex. It is about your son and what you can do for the little lad. As parents I assume you want to make your kids’ lives happier, make them more rounded individuals, allow them to have opinions etc. Your lad had a great time and wants more great times. So – let it happen. Walk over the the friend’s house, knock on the door, smile and say hello. Forge your own relationship with the long lost friend and sideline (in a nice way) your ex. You have nothing to lose and your lad has everything to gain. Just go for it – or arrange a neutral place to meet. As a dad I do feel that the Mums can organise freely and arrange stuff between themselves, and sometimes my daughter is left out .. because it still is a world where being a stay at home Dad is not commonplace. Ah, who cares. Just get the kids together and enjoy πŸ™‚

  19. Hi, if I was the mum of T’s friend, I wouldn’t mind an email to arrange a possible meet up. Maybe her little boy has been missing T equally as much and she may feel awkward asking after him also, if she knows about the split?
    I had a similar situation when my daughter left nursery. She kept asking about a little boy she played with. It was a year later that I contacted the nursery and left my contact details for the boys family. I felt like a bit of stalker and was worried they’d think I was weird. They got in touch immediately and even though it was a year since our kids had seen each other it was like they’d never been apart. Both myself and the boys mum were happy to see them so happy.
    What’s the worst that can happen? She’ll ignore you or say no. If it annoys your ex wife, well… It’s not the worst thing in the world, it doesn’t make you a bad dad or a bad ex, just for trying to arrange a play date. Personally if my ex tried to arrange stuff like this for my children I’d be pleased that he’d shown such an interest!
    Yes your boy needs to learn about people moving on, and he will given time, certainly at school, when children leave and new children start wtc I think you’re right, what’s the harm in avoiding disappointment where possible.
    You are over thinking things a bit, but better that than the opposite. It’s a harmless suggestion and it shouldn’t offend the mum or your ex. Go for it!
    As for Scotland, I’m very sorry, that must be so tough to think about. I’m sure when the time comes you’ll make the right decision for both yourself and the children. You’re a great dad and whatever happens with regards to that, when they’re old enough to understand, your kids will think do too!

    • Thanks for taking time to read and comment. I will contact T’s friend’s mum as I’m sure they miss each other equally.
      As for the Sctoland ting, yes, it is tough to think about but I guess it’s some time away, and I still have time to enjoy time with them before this move. πŸ™‚

  20. I completely understand why you feel odd about contacting the mum. I know I would also be hesitant in your situation. Having said that it is probably the best thing, as has been said here in numerous comments.

    On another note. I think it’s great that you have thought about this and are prepared to go for it. Hope it gets sorted in the end.

  21. I totally understand why you would be hesitant about getting in touch. In your shoes I would also feel a bit odd. Having said that it is probably the best things to do, as numerous commenters have already said.

    On another note it is great that you have thought about this like you have and that you are prepared to go ahead and do something because you see your son needs it doing. Well done, I hope it all gets sorted in the end.

  22. My cunning plan: ring the mother, say ‘we’d love to get the boys together’ then text/email her and your ex to say the boys are so looking forward to seeing each other again, I’ll leave it to you to set the date. Except maybe they won’t. Oh dear, it’s tricky…

  23. um, sorry to comment out of the blue, and I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but no one else has brought it up… You were married to the mother of your children, right? That automatically gives you parental rights and equal custody, normally, so your ex can’t actually move, with the children, to scotland, if you object, and you can take it to mediation and on to the family courts if you need assert your rights.

    And totally, email the mum!

    • Thanks. The reason for relocation would be to enhance my ex-wife’s job, career and improve prospects for her and the children, and I can’t stand in the way of that. Irrespective of how I feel. She does have full custody and I can’t cause problems like this as I know my wife’s career is important.
      Thanks for your advice and for reading and commenting.

  24. maybe one day you might accidentally bump into them on the way home from nursery and then you could casually bring up in discussion how much T misses his mate?
    slightly stalky?

  25. I would try and arrange something yourself! Is there a reason why you can’t take them to a soft toy place for example? Sounds like it would do your son good. I know that I wouldn’t mind if a Dad (divorced or otherwise) wanted to arrange a play date between my child and his.

    Sorry to stick my nose in, but why shouldn’t you take you son out with his friends?!

    Good luck!

  26. I vote contact the mum and maybe explain why you feel awkward doing so. She’s a parent, so you’d hope she’d understand. I think it’s a very dadly thing to do on behalf of your son.

    And Scotland’s not so bad! If you end up moving north of the border, I’d be happy to show you the sights and, er, smells.

    Good luck!

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