I have been a noncustodial parent for over 10 years. In those years I have not had my children for one holiday dinner since they have to be back in the afternoon. There were not the first day of school pictures or even school visitation. When I would try to visit the kids at school I had to being my legal paperwork and a written note from their father.
Now that they are getting older I do not see them for dances or when they get home from school, I am not there to help them with homework. Most of our conversations are over text. I am at the mercy of whatever extra curricular activities that they are signed up for which often eat up a portion of my weekend.
The good news is that I still get to see my kids. I realize there are those parents out there who cannot and that has to be agony. I know that when I had my children this is not how I pictured watching them grow up. In bits and pieces when I have a chance too.
In my case it was my mental illness. I have had to fight to see them since then. It seems as if court is never ending. One day they will be old enough to choose. I am hoping to have that dinner or one more night. The future is promising, yet one child has been convinced that I am a horrible mother and no longer speaks to me.
Hang in there is you are in the same situation and keep fighting for as long as possible. It is an uphill battle, yet there is an end to the hill and the grass is greener on the other side.