During the first few months after a divorce or separation, it’s critical to take whatever time you need to get through the kaleidoscope of crap that boomerangs back every time you feel like you’ve come far enough to let it go.
Then, when your kids return, hug them and tell them how glad you are to see them—and how glad you are they got to see their other parent (this part gets easier).
After those first months have passed, you’re going to find yourself in a strange place: sad to see the kids go, but … well, kind of glad too. Almost relieved. Because guess what?
When you’re sure they’re safe and happy, you no longer feel so guilty for the time apart. And when you happily shrug off the mantle of “parent,” you start to remember yourself.