Some people get divorced thinking that their new life will be simpler because there won't be as many people to coordinate.
But if the separation is going to work well for everyone, and if kids are involved, then the scheduling becomes even more complicated.
In the two months since my ex-wife and I split up, I've struggled to maintain my work schedule with being there for my kids and also for her. Why her, you ask? Because I think it's the right thing to do, and I would expect the same from her.
Case in point was a recent Thursday afternoon.
My 14-year-old son wanted to go to a local park to hang out with some friends for the afternoon. So at lunch, I drove home and dropped him off at the park at 12:30, with the understanding that I would pick him back up in an hour.
An hour later, he was nowhere to be found. I called. I texted. I went to his friends' houses to see if they had gone there. I texted and called his mother to see if she heard from him because I had to deliver him to her at 4 p.m. She was getting Lasik eye surgery at that time, and she needed him to take care of her.
Finally, at 2:56 p.m., he called, using a friend's phone. His phone had died, and he hadn't thought to use another one until that time. They had decided to go swimming at the park's pool, and he had lost track of time. Unfortunately, I had gone back to work for an important 3 p.m. meeting with my boss.
By this time, his mom was freaking out that I wasn't going to be able to deliver him by 4 p.m. So I left my meeting early, picked him up from the park, took him home to get some clothes, and dropped him off at her office at 3:57 p.m., three minutes early.
It may seem like a small thing, but when families separate, I think that both sides need to work even harder to make the new arrangement work and to make sure that the children aren't affected. Yes, I was mad at the kid for not keeping in touch and for forgetting the pickup time, but he realized his mistake and quickly apologized.
It's not been the only time in the past two months where I've had to sacrifice my schedule for the greater good of everyone else involved in the now-broken family. I would hope that the gesture would be returned in the future.
We now have an online calendar for all of us to add and subtract appointments and meetings. That's helped coordinate everyone's busy schedule some, but it's still an adjustment.
And it's still a nightmare some times. But when you get a separation, you learn some humility and to make more sacrifices than you did before.
Next Up: Ignoring the Lingering Anger
Just joining Chris' story? Check out what you've missed here:
Chapter 1: Out of the Blue
Chapter 2: The Fear of Being Lonely
Chapter 3: Telling the Kids
Chapter 4: Did we Make the Right Decision?
Chapter 5: Splitting Things Up
Chapter 6: The Fear of Getting Taken
Chapter 7: Anger from the Kids