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Ten Minutes in the Car is Not Enough

I would have stayed in an unhappy marriage forever, just to be with my daughters 100% of the time. So when I told Jon that I wanted a divorce when the girls were eleven and seventeen, the arrangement was all I was thinking about. He would pick them up every morning and drive them to school. I felt so lucky.

I felt so lucky when he said, “Ten minutes in the car is enough,” and “The girls belong with their mother,” that I didn’t think any more about it until he moved out and a week went by without a request to see them other than on the way to school. So I asked, “Don’t you want to have dinner with them?” and “What about taking them to a movie?” This time he answered, “Will you come with us?” I felt so lucky.

I felt so lucky, so I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so terrible if he took them one at a time for sleepovers just so they could have some one-on-one “daddy time.” I asked him, “What if you took Amy one night every other weekend and Olivia on the other night? That way I wouldn’t be without both of them at the same time?” He answered, “No, that’s okay. Ten minutes in the car is enough.” I felt so lucky.

I felt so lucky, but I was also concerned that they were being hurt by his choices. It wasn’t that he didn’t love them; he did. He just wasn’t comfortable with little children and preferred to be in the company of grownups. So we continued to do things as a family every weekend — dinners, movies, Amy’s plays, Olivia’s tennis tournaments, and birthdays and holidays, we were together. I felt so lucky.

I don’t believe he was a bad father. He was always within reach and loved them very much. I felt so lucky for me but so sad for them. Ten minutes in the car was not enough.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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