When we decided that SS was ready for school, it was assumed that I would have a difficult time with that transition. SS and I have been attached at the hip since the moment we met. At times (my surgeries come to mind) I have wondered if this was wise. P has been steadfast about the decisions we have made raising SS, no matter how unpopular. The interesting thing is that I have handled the transition well, while P is still adjusting to his little girl growing up. My stint as a stay at home mother was completely unplanned, and I am still in shock that I have not committed hari kari. It is just not me. But children have a way of worming their way into your heart and changing life as you knew it. Last week we were talking about SS's next transition, attending school full time. Much to my surprise P nixed the idea, he simply is not ready for SS to be raised by someone else. Never mind that most children in America are raised by someone else, and so were P and I. When I asked him when did he think SS should make that transition he said, "Oh, in a few months, maybe by summer." Weird, to me summer is more than a few months away. Never tought my tough guy would think that way.
Grandpa's condition has understandably made P reflect on his life. A few nights ago he was telling me how funny is that although JJ's chronological age is not lost on him, he can't help but see him as his child and treat him accordingly. When JJ comes home at this time of the year P is even more anal about checking road conditions, texting JJ about them, and offering advice. Guess what buddy, that is what parents do. It cracked me up when P said that he looks at his 20 year old coworker and thinks "I have raised a child older than you."
The importance of the relationship between SS and JJ has never been more clear than now. We have done a lot of soul searching and have come out feeling rather satisfied about what we have done to foster their bond so far. Because when one of us is ill and on our way out it is not the time to have regrets about favoring one above the other. We are also realistic that this has been very easy because of their age difference. Still, I am impressed by how P sometimes calls me on certain things he does not see as fair to JJ. P and I are children of divorce and not fans of step-parenthood. To be honest, I do not know if I could do what P has done. To me it was a terrible experience and not one I would want to embark upon. I admire how P has taken negative experiences and used them as a learning tool, as a way to be cognizant of how his words and actions can hurt JJ forever. Has he made mistakes? Hell yes, and so have I, and I gave birth to the child. It is a tough balancing act, but one so important.
I almost managed to torpedo our holiday by opening my mouth without thinking, quite a common occurrence. I had been thinking a lot about my last surgery and how I rationally worked out the timing. It was intentional that it was over a holiday, because I knew P did not have time off to take, and giving up even a day's pay was not good for our family. JJ's arrival to help was also timed to provide the least disruption possible to JJ and P. The thing is that I was scared sh*tless about that surgery. Once my first surgeon fessed up about how close I was to not make it, all I could think about was that at least SS had seen me just before I went into surgery, but JJ was three hours away. Again, that whole balancing thing between my kids.
The second surgery was easy breezy compared to the first one. The probability of something going terribly wrong was there, just like with any minor surgery. But I knew that it was highly unlikely that anything would go wrong. It was a less invasive procedure, and my surgeon was kick ass good. Still, I wanted my husband and my kids there, I wanted to hug and kiss them and tell them I would see them on the flip side. That is what I needed emotionally, but the stupid rational side took over. A friend refers to my rational side as my robotic side. He said that he hated watching me changing into robotic mode when things got tough. I am as irrational as it gets over small stuff, it is the big stuff that brings out that side of me.
So I did the pragmatic thing and scheduled the surgery when it would be the least disruptive to P. And I told JJ that there was no need to be there because it was minor surgery, not worthy of him taking time off. In my defense, my bio mother had abandoned me without a second thought when I really needed her help after the first surgery. My sense of worth was not at its best. If your bio mother abandons you, really, you must be a shitty human being, because mothers do not behave that way. Of course if that was the case SS would not be with us today, and Child Protective Services social workers would not be needed. Needless to say I am not looking forward to the moment when SS starts to have the same thoughts. Having been there gives me a lot of insight about how she will feel, but there is no way I could ever take the hurt away. When you are abandoned it cuts deeply, it is a forever thing.
And as I was ruminating about all that on a specially trying day I shared my thoughts at the wrong time. P was royally pi$$ed at me and my rational planning. He was angry that I was scared and did not ask him to stay longer with me. he was angry that I pushed JJ away at a time when he should have been with family. We were about to have dinner and go shopping and I completely ruined the evening. P was looking at me as though he had caught me in bed with his best friend. Right now we are too busy to give my silly thoughts too much time, but eventually we will talk and I hope to make it OK with P.
The last few weeks have been difficult for our family and we had to make decisions to protect us, without caring about anyone else. It sounds harsh, but such is life. We just do not have the time to give a rat's ass about anyone else. Once we realized how neglected SS felt we set out to rectify the situation. It is also why yesterday we made sure to get the requisite holiday calls done before JJ arrived. We wanted to reconnect as a family, to give him our full attention, because no matter how old you are, you always need your parents. Well, if they have previously been there for you. We do not want JJ and SS to feel neglected and that they should take on the world on their own. P and I are masters at that, and it really sucks.
Abuela asked about the lack of pictures of our dinner on the blog. There is a good reason for that omission. An hour before JJ arrived we received unsettling news. We are not going to share what happened. It is to remain within our island of four. It did make for a very subdued day. And as upset as we were, we were glad that JJ was here with us, we were so grateful to have both our kids home.
Not everything was doom and gloom. We actually had a lot of laughs. Both SS and JJ are fantastic comic relief. P rented the movie Grown Ups. It looked kind of lame, but it turned out to be awfully funny. There was one of those "Oh shoot" moments. There were two kids playing a rather violent video game. The father asks what is so interesting about it, and his kids excitedly tell him about how fun it is to kill the passengers on the cruise ship. One of the kids says that a cool part is the ability to throw a grandma overboard. Of course they then show the kid doing just that. Totally appropriate humor for the three adults watching. Much to our surprise SS found it freaking hilarious. OMG, our three year old finds throwing an elderly woman overboard funny. Another golden moment in parenting for us, and a how the heck did we pass a home study moment to boot.
So that's what has been on our overly cluttered minds lately, and why I am getting to P's point to really dislike holidays.