Usually, in a divorce case, the mother gets custody of the child. In rare cases, fathers may get custody if the courts believe that the mother is an unfit single custodian.
In even rarer cases, fathers manipulate the courts to get custody just to get one over their ex-wives. Sadly, this is what happened in my case.
While I don’t claim to be mother-of-the-year, I do love my daughter, Jessica more than life and certainly believe that she would be better off with me than with my ex. Dan had lots of money and influence and was able to swing the courts to give him full custody of Jessica. I do get to see her now and again, but I have never managed to share her birthday with her.
It always turns out to be his turn, and he won’t cut us some slack so that Jessica gets to celebrate her birthday with me. I have to celebrate this special day with her on the nearest weekend to her birthday.
While this may suit Jessica as she gets to have 2 cakes and open at least one present early, it most certainly does not suit me. I don’t get the luxury of seeing her joyful face on her actual birthday and have to make do with enjoying her reaction on a day that is not her birthday.
While I try to make it as special as possible for her, on the inside, I am dying. I don’t think it is fair or right that Dan can control us like this.
I go through painstaking effort to recreate a birthday for Jess so that she has a truly incredible and memorable day. We have a great breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, toast and orange juice.
This is one of Jessica’s favourite meals. We then go to the movies to a movie of her choosing. We then head home to enjoy her birthday cake and a quiet dinner. I cannot host a party for Jessica as all her friends live close to where she lives with Dan. I don’t get to take birthday photos, and Dan does not bother to send me any copies of photos taken on her actual birthday at her party.
I have to confess that her actual birthday is most the miserable day of the year for me. I manage to get a rushed phone call in the morning to say “happy birthday”, and that is the extent of my involvement in her birthday.
I usually phone in sick at work and take the day off because I simply can’t bear to be in the presence of anyone on that day. I stay in bed all day crying, trying to read a book and sleeping. It is the fastest and easiest way for me to get through this dreadful day.
Dan and his new wife do spoil her rotten and give her a birthday bash second to none, and when I next see her, she will tell me all about it. I’ll pretend to listen with enthusiasm and happiness, but it destroys me on the inside.
I can only hope and pray that next year Jessica’s birthday falls on a day that she spends with me.
Disclaimer: Please note that names of people, places and other personally identifiable information have been changed to protect the privacy of the author and her family.