This must be how non-custodial parents feel.
When I decided to make the jump to New York, it was for a lot of reasons. Some were quite selfish, others much less so. Many of them intertwine, and some stand alone. When asked what the hell I was thinking, I typically give an answer tailored to the audience. It is never a lie, though it is probably an incomplete truth.
I commented in a short essay once that I was concerned that I had sacrificed the last vestiges of my son's childhood for Blue Cross. While I still am concerned about this, I'm also at the "what's done is done" point in the process, which is a bit of a relief. Of course, the next question is along the lines of "but what has been done?"
We're in New York this week, just the two of us. It is the first time in a year that it has been this way. Just the two of us, for longer than just a few hours. And I discovered today that I don't know him quite as well as I used to.
There aren't major changes in him, no complete differences or absolute unexpectedness. Just little things like the way he no longer needs me to order for him when we're out to lunch because he's too nervous. Or how he doesn't need the company of a parent when he's the first one awake in the morning. Small things that are part of growing up, and that I wasn't there to watch unfold.
And it leaves me feeling quite maudlin.