A lot better than I expected.
One of the things about being a non-custodial parent is that you become accustomed to not being a parent most of the time. Consequently, when the time rolls round to be one, you get all sorts of nerves, second-guesses and self-doubts. Can I do this? Do we still know each other? Am I any good as a parent?
Another thing that I struggle with is that when Tommy comes, I continue to pay child support at a phenomenal rate, and meanwhile everything costs me twice as much. This is a financial strain and part of me resents it.
So there's always some trepidation associated with his arrival.
However, this time, out of all the times he's come to stay, I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of it. He's good company, I really do love him and he continually astounds me with the way his brain works. I can see him turning into an adult, and I'm really happy about the adult he seems to be turning into.
I will miss him when he's gone home. But, despite my utter contempt for his father as a partner, I have to say I'm impressed with the job him and Evelyn have done of bringing up Tommy so far. I can't honestly say I could have done better myself, and that is reassuring when most of the time I get little to no contact with him to see how he's doing.
This doesn't stop me from having the guilt feelings that most non-custodial parents probably have, but it sure helps a lot.
So, I have been pleasantly surprised. Maybe, after 7 years, I am finally getting the hang of my on-again-off-again parentliness. And I have a kid who I can enjoy and be proud of. What more could I ask for?
Also, note to self: Windy days, floaty skirts and bouldering do not necessarily go together.