We’ve had the same routine of dropping off and picking my daughter up after spending the weekend with her dad for about three years now.

Spencer clearly loves her dad. She is always so excited to see him when he comes to pick her up. It low-key hurt my feelings at first, because I could barely get a hug and goodbye kiss. They drove off and I wouldn’t see her again until…D-Day.

Drop Off Day.

The initial awkward feeling of the whole situation has worn off, but the guilt is still there. The guilt that I feel is not because I chose to leave my marriage; I worry about the long term effects of my baby girl growing up in a household without her dad.

I am literally the physical embodiment of a ‘Daddy’s Girl’. When I was younger, I would’ve shouted it from rooftops, if given the opportunity. The phrase is stitched on the back of my high school letterman jacket.

The fact that Spencer will probably never have the type of relationship I had with my daddy growing up, simply because of the circumstances, makes me terribly sad. There’s only so much bonding you can do a few days out of every month.

The very thought has kept me up some nights. The saying “silence can seem so loud” is an understatement.

I couldn’t stand to be alone while she was gone. I found ways to occupy my time from sun up to sun down. Shopping. Sleeping. Eating. Sex. Visiting friends for hours at a time was my favorite. Pretty sure eating came in close second.

As long as I wasn’t alone. I stayed busy right up until Drop Off Day.

Every time I packed my little girl in the car and pulled off, I couldn’t help but feel like a failure as she cried and yelled for her dad from the back seat. The first two or three times I cried right along with her.

Spencer doesn’t get so overcome with emotion now. Thankfully, I don’t either.

About eight months into this routine I had created for myself, no one was free to keep me entertained on this particular weekend. Not one single person. How Sway?

I was finally forced to face the full range of emotions I was so easily able to avoid while on mom duty and during my extracurricular activities.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a two-parent home. I really hate that I couldn’t make that happen for Spencer. However, I realized that in order for me to do my job as a mother to the best of my ability I had to stop punishing myself for my decision

I want her to be confident but kind, self-assured but compassionate, seek happiness from within, and most importantly, love and see herself the way God does.

At 30 I am still working on all of those things myself, especially that very last part. But, you always want your child to be better person than you. Spencer will most certainly be a better woman than me.

Of course she won’t be perfect, but I don’t want her to be flawed because of my mistakes. All I can do is pray that God orders my steps in raising a woman and keeps her covered as she makes mistakes of her own.

Love you, mean it.