After Spending Time Togther
After time apart, reconnecting is the most important event for both the child and parent who live separated. Unfortunately, every trip, weekend, summer or other occasion will end and when it does, this can tear open the wounds and pain felt during the first separation. It can feel like you are being ripped apart again and is one of the worst feelings. It can even start to creep into your minds at the halfway point of your time together, and without close care, can turn moods from bonding into something less fruitful.
In my case, my daughter spends the summers with me and we make sure to schedule some great bonding time and fun activities but of course those too come to an end. Nothing can make this process easy, but there are some techniques we have found that help to cement the positive time we spent together.
Talk About Feelings: Don’t Avoid Them
As the time nears, it can be tempting to look for a shortcut from the pain with ideas like “Don’t be sad, we will see each other again soon.” While this seems like a quick fix, it is important for you both to acknowledge that the experience is painful and that you both feel loss and sadness when you separate. The last thing you want is your child thinking you don’t feel hurt leaving her and being sad is the normal reaction to saying goodbye your parent or child! Talk it through and let the tears come, it will only make you closer in the end.
Scrapbook: Cement Those Good Memories
One fantastic technique my daughter and I use is scrapbooking. When a trip is coming to an end we go and print all of the pictures we took together during the trip. We choose them together and make sure to include silly and fun things. Then we sit down on the last few days and cut them into funny collages and paste them in a blank photo book, decorating with paint, glitter, stickers and anything else we can find. It is time for you and your child to get creative and build something beautiful together. Not only is this a great activity to do together, but it gives us time to relive those good times and joke around together. We normally do it in chronological order and put draw a timeline on the front page. She keeps the book and it sits in her room as a resource for her when she is feeling down; a reminder that dad really cares about her. I strongly recommend this activity and hope you find as useful as we do.
Create a record of your time together to lock in those good memories!