Took the older two to an outdoor concert with fireworks last night, since I didn't have them for 4th of July and they haven't seen fireworks this summer at all. In some ways it's easier to not have to negotiate around someone else's schedule. I don't have to find a weekend that he's here, or a weekend that he's not working, or worry if I buy tickets and make plans that he'll suddenly be called away. And when I'd organize a family outing, I would always feel like I was being judged. I hadn't organized enough, or the concert/movie/restaurant wasn't that good, and somehow it was my fault for picking it out. Single parenting makes it a little easier. Only one schedule to deal with -- my own. And when the kids whine about an outing, I can tell them to suck it up. At this point money is tight enough that there are fewer outings and they're more grateful.
The man who left me really checked out mentally on family life a long time ago. He showed up occasionally as the cardboard cutout of Dad to stick in the back of the pictures.
My oldest son was thrilled with the concert (movie music, including Harry Potter and Star Wars). He said it was like 4th of July only with music he LIKED. Middle son had a major bloody wipeout running around in the dark and slipping, and didn't have a meltdown. I introduced them to BLTs, which were an instant hit. They didn't whine when I told them no ice cream. And they both said thanks for taking us to the concert, hugged me and told me I was a great mom. Not bad for edgy tweens.
I have great kids.