This morning in a quick text message I told YBW, “Sweet darling boy, I love you so!!”
To which he responded, “Most of the time that amazes me.”
So naturally I asked, “What? Why?”
It wasn’t until after I switched to chat and said, “Is it because you’re a big dork?” did I see that he replied, “I guess I’ve been feeling below average this week.”
(Yeah…feeling like the best girlfriend on the planet right about here.)
I write in the chat window, “I just saw your text. I was being flippant not unkind.”
And this is when he said a very interesting thing, “I need more flippant I think.”
“You’re about to get a big redhaired assload of flippant.”
“You say yay now…I worry you’re going to be like, you’re a total bitch! Which, if you recall I told you when we first started talking.”
“Well I’ll just slap you in the mouth.” (Immediately followed by KIDDING!!!!!!)
“You’ll draw back a nub.” (Mommie used to say that, and P.S. I knew he was kidding.)
He replied, “HAHAHA I know you’d kick my ass.” (So we’ve already got that one straight.)
(I swear to you I’m going to make a point…the “backstory” is important to where my thought process took me.)
I told him I believed he needs to be shaken up, that he’s ruttified (yes, I made it up…too many years of watching Joss Whedon shows coming back to bite me in the ass) and that he can’t seem to shake himself out of it. I asked what happened to living for yourself a little more. I told him I thought perhaps we were meant to help each other do that, and I acknowledged it would be hard for him to change his focus from his two Things to himself.
This is when he said, “I wasn’t using those words, but I was thinking about that this weekend.”
(It happens to be the weekend the two Things are at their mom’s house…these weekends are very hard on YBW, even after all this time.)
I said, “What a great opportunity for you! Getting to begin a “new” life at this time in your life. Big kids who need less. More you time. More us time. It’s an ADVENTURE!”
Now, oftentimes when I speak to him of adventure he kind of ‘poo-poo’s’ it, as though his life isn’t his, it is theirs, and he doesn’t think he’s deserving of adventure. But today he said, “Thank you! I need a different perspective.”
A different perspective.
I have approached life with a different perspective since making the decision to leave this place and live with YBW full time. I realize that my two Things have been raised “properly” to the best of my ability, not within a vacuum, if a certain person is to be believed, and I have responsibilities towards them, but at this stage of the game I can take a step back from them, shift my focus if you will, and learn to pay attention to what I need.
The needs of Thing 1 and Thing 2 will never be discounted, but I no longer need to be hyper focused on them…I actually probably never did need to be hyper focused on their needs…but I was, so what are you going to do? Hindsight and all that jazz. (But I digress.)
I’m at a new stage in my development as a parent…that ‘one foot in the (partially) empty nest and the other foot longing for the days before kindergarten’ developmental phase.
This new place in which I flounder is curious to me. I know, and I mean truly know, deep in my gut that it is time for me to tuck back my wings and trust these two Things can fly on their own. There is a nest to return to…two actually…as their dad also has a nest for them. I have faith that I gave them what they needed and they’re capable of choosing to utilize that to make the best choices. And if they crash and burn I’m always their safe place, but I’m no longer completely responsible for the choice or the consequence. The flip side of this seeming enlightenment is me coming straight home because that’s what I’ve been conditioned to do and feeling guilty when I don’t. Of choosing not to leave the house because I don’t know what the Things might need or want. The guilt chokes me. But I am learning to recognize it, and hopefully, starting to change my behavior will ease the guilt as I recondition myself.
I’m kind of like a deer in the headlights with all this free time and extra energy. What can I do? What do I want? What sounds like fun for me?
I think YBW is in this deer in the headlights place too…I don’t think he knows yet. Or rather, I don’t think he is choosing to admit it to himself.
His Thing 2 is younger than mine…by 3 years…so he’s still got more parenting prep work to do…but I don’t think he’s ready to see his Thing 2 in a new and different light. YBW’s Thing 2 is a special little dude…he’s on the super-high-functioning end of the Autism spectrum…he is freakishly smart, but not great with social situations. (Think…a 13 year old Sheldon Cooper.) Couple this with serious impulse control and anger management issues thanks to his ADHD and you have a kid who has struggled to “be like all the other kids” from the time he was about 3 years old.
Now, I didn’t live through him being kicked out of day cares or being suspended from elementary school, neither did I experience the process of fighting like mad to have him diagnosed and starting medical treatment. YBW and his Thing 2’s mom were very, very brave. They amaze me.
But I often wonder that because I didn’t live through all of this, I can see their Thing 2 with a bit more clarity, or at the very least, without bias. And what I see is an extremely bright boy, who is scarily smart about math, reads well above grade level and was the only 6th grader from his school who placed in the district’s science fair last year. I see a boy who is quick to laugh and hug and be silly. I see a boy who is so much more capable than anyone realizes…and who, in my opinion, should be given the opportunity to show that. I see a boy who struggles to understand sarcasm and asks ‘inappropriate’ questions at ‘inappropriate’ times. (I use quotes because he has no real social filter and occasionally he will say something or ask a question in public that is more appropriate in a private situation.)
This boy is forgetful and he doesn’t pick up on the fact that sometimes he comes across as rude or unthinking, because he is neither, he just does not adhere to social niceties. I could go on and on, but I really wanted to focus on the positive things I see while acknowledging the less positive.
My point (I told you there was one.) is this: I think YBW is so fearful that his little Thing 2 isn’t going to be successful in acclimating into regular daily life, he’s fearful that it will always be hard for his Thing 2. That he won’t find real friends, or love, or a job that he’ll be happy with or successful at…and that’s when I want to say, “DUDE! Stop right there! ALL parents worry about that for their kids! It’s about the wellbeing of our babies…and even though yours had a rough start doesn’t mean anything different.”
What I do say this, “give him a chance to dazzle you.”
YBW needs to pull back his wing and let that little Thing 2 test his own wings a bit.
But I don’t mean this in an ‘I’m telling someone how to raise their kid’ way…I mean this in an ‘I love you and want what’s best for you’ way.
And this all brings me back to a different perspective.
Focusing on you. Not the kids, not the house, not your job, etc.
Believing that you exist for yourself, doing what you want just because you deserve to be taken care of as well as those you care for.
Honoring yourself…as a person, not just a parent.
If we saw someone treat our children the way we oftentimes treat ourselves…well let me just tell you I’d get my icepick and go on a stabbing spree. What does that say? It says we’re not kind enough to ourselves, we don’t do fun or nice things just for us.
And that is an absolute shame.
YBW is a smart, funny, kind and loving man, I believe he deserves to experience life as a man, not just as a dad. So he can begin to figure out what he wants just for himself, is it something fun? Is it something active involving a kayak? Is it sitting at home in his jammies playing video games? Is it lying on the sofa with his head in my lap watching nerdy television? Doesn’t matter as long as it pleases him…as long as he does it for the sheer joy of doing it…his own personal joy
I say this to him…I say this to all of us:
What happened to that sense of adventure?
Find it! Find it NOW!
Dust it off and try it on for size…does it fit? If it’s a little tight, tug on it and it’ll fit…if it’s loose here or there, tuck it in and go! The more you wear it, the better it will begin to fit.
Honor yourself! Take yourself on an adventure! Do it with love and kindness and for the love of all things holy, make sure you do it with a sense of humor!
I’m ready for my next adventure.