Lyda here. It’s been a busy week. I’ll read your blogs tonight, I promise.
And amid the bustle of Monday morning, we passed a huge milestone.
We completed the last “summer schedule” per the custody agreement.
No more arranging my son’s summer around the agreement. Next summer, he will choose his own schedule.
It has been a long road. When we got divorced, our son was two years old. Circumstances have changed a lot since then. So has our son. But the agreement has remained the same.
We’ve been living like this for fifteen years. It seems like it is the way it always has been.
Often my son chafed at the restrictions, at changing houses once again, at being told where to go, at having no room to reason or negotiate. At having one foot in each parent’s world. At having to divide his life into two pieces.
But as it was designed to do, the agreement has protected our son. He had both parents in his life, and he knew when he’d see us again. And he never had to choose one parent over another.
The agreement felt too restrictive, too tight, too arbitrary. But it was steady. His parents sometimes argued about the schedule, because we each wanted to be with him – and the agreement made sure we worked it out. Our son is wanted by both of us. He takes it for granted. It never crosses his mind to wonder if we love him. He knows we do. It is our greatest gift to him, the deep and sure knowledge that he is loved.
Now the agreement is coming to an end.
Every month will bring more milestones. This fall, he will have his last childhood Thanksgiving – per the agreement he will spend two days with one parent and two with the other as he always has. And then the last childhood Christmas – when the agreement says he must spend the day half in one house and half in another.
In 2009, he turns 18. The agreement that has ruled his life will end on his birthday.
For the first time, he will have the freedom to choose how to spend his summer, his holidays, his weekends, even his nights. He alone will choose when to be with his friends, or his mom, or his dad, or alone.
For the first time, he will decide.
Perhaps more than any other thing that will happen in the next twelve months – graduating from high school, getting his drivers license, starting college, getting his first job – this will be his rite of passage.
He will be a man.
And he will be free.