Visitation is an odd word for being with one’s children. You aren’t visiting with the kids, you were being with them, parenting them, supporting them as they grow. The new term of art is parenting time and child access both of which still sound so formal and distant. No matter how distant the words sound, the key is to be a parent in every sense of the word.
Being a parent means showing up at soccer games, applauding the Oscar-winning performance at the school play or dance recital, lending a shoulder to cry on, and providing advice on how to maneuver the social pitfalls of today’s Facebook and other social sites, and being there to snap photos of your son or daughter in their school prom best. Being a parent means you’re there at the birth, the graduation ceremony, the wedding, and the birth of grandchildren. You make each occasion about your children and not your divorce.
If you can’t stand your former spouse, stand on the other side of the room, sit a few tables away at the reception, but do offer to share the costs of receptions and graduations because you’re a parent and not a “show-off.” Slip your kid a few extra bucks, not just child support.
You and your former spouse created this wonderful child and your child loves you both. Every event doesn’t need to be a challenge or a recitation of past grievances, be a parent.