Happy Birthday to Ashley! Although it was a joy to have my parents here visiting and we had a great night of celebrating with them along with some of Ashley's favorite cousins, aunts and uncles, I still felt bad that Ashley's dad, Matt, and stepmom, Jody, were unable to fly out to surprise Ashley for her Birthday. Matt got the flu right before coming out and was unable to fly. The thought was there and an effort was made, so I thought Ashley should know. That's who Ashley kept texting during dinner. She was missing him.
It's got to be hard dividing your free time and holidays between two families. I didn't grow up like that, so I can only imagine what it's like. When Ashley was celebrating with one family, she would be missing out on those celebrations with the other family. Since Ashley lived with me year round, whenever she would get a break at school she would usually spend that time visiting her father and his family. That was also the same time CJ was out of school, so we would travel or do things as a family that Ashley would have to miss out on. It was hard on both of us, because although I was happy Ashley was with her dad, I wanted her to be with us experiencing and enjoying what we were doing. Ashley felt the same way.
I have always encouraged Ashley to have a good relationship with her dad. I think that is very important. I never talked badly about Ashley's father to her while she was growing up. I could never make her feel that her daddy was a bad guy, because he's not. That is something Ashley would have to grow up and decide for herself. Matt's relationship with me would never be the same relationship he would have with his daughter. It wouldn't have been fair to put my issues with him on her. I just wouldn't do it.
Ashley grew up idolizing her dad. He was the guy she would look forward to seeing and taking her somewhere fun. He'd make her laugh for a few hours and then would bring her back home to me. She always wanted more time with him and waited anxiously for the next time he would come get her. I was the one making her clean her room or do her homework and taking her privileges away for bad behavior, and so on. Of course we had our wonderful fun times together also, but she saw me everyday. Maybe she thought he was cooler than me. LOL! As Ashley grew older, she seemed to respect and admire Matt more than she did me. As much as I wanted her to feel that way toward her dad, I also wanted her to feel that way about me, especially knowing all I've done for her. I was the one who was always there for her, so it hurt me that I didn't get the same attention that he got from her.