Posts Tagged With: blended families

I don’t give a f**k who judges me

The post I wrote the other day about managing my expectations seemed to elicit a great deal of response.
And what I love most about that is each one of those thoughts or opinions had kindness at the root.

Most of you were sympathetic but not judgey. I thank you for that.
This blog is filled with my thoughts. My perceptions of my life. I’m never ever going to point a finger and decree that I’m a billion percent right and the other person is a billion percent wrong. That’s not how life works.
I know I’m difficult.
I can be a real dick when I get frustrated.
I have been known to make bad choices in how I behave or react, however the underlying stuff is real.

I want to thank you for your kindness in choosing your words when you shared your thoughts with me. Your words were sympathetic, they came from a place of knowledge of circumstance. For the most part they were not blaming, and some even shared great ideas about how to circumvent the food drama!
I appreciate the positive feedback.

That morning, I got a message from Thing 1 in our group chat saying she’d read the post and wanted to know how I was. It was right as I was getting to work. I thanked her and promised to talk later.
She texted me in the afternoon that the post concerned her and asking how I was.
I assured her I was fine then explained that I was frustrated and being a dick but didn’t feel like I was terribly wrong.
Her response:
“I’m sure you are. And I’m sure you were a dick, but I still feel like Thing G shouldn’t be running the freaking show.”

We talked a great deal about how much growth there’s been.

About how most of the way he behaves isn’t really his fault. He’s adapted to it. I don’t believe there is purpose or malice in his actions. I believe he’s been insulated from being engaged in his life since his diagnosis, and simply doesn’t have the tools.

This is not to say I blame his parents. They did what they had to do to function as a family. They did what they had to do to make sure he was safe to himself and other children. Every family functions differently. And they did what worked for them.
Only now it doesn’t work.
The kid flat refuses to engage in his own life. He simply puts forth the least amount of effort to get by. Sure, that’s teenage behavior, but this is different. Most teens desire to GTFO of their parent’s house. They desire to be in control of their own choices, etc. (As adults we see the ironic hilarity, but we’ve all been there.)
This kid literally wants to eat crackers or ramen, drink soda, and play video games all day every day. My interpretation of that behavior is this is someone who is not engaged in his own life.
That’s cool if that’s your choice. And if you can find a way to eat and drink trash and play video games all day and remain solvent I say, bravo!
But I refuse to sacrifice my own comfort so that he can continue to live the life of Riley.

This kid isn’t actually the problem. The kid is simply the lightning rod of focus for the problem.
As I see it, the problem is that his family sacrificed their own personal comfort for his.
And y’all I get that! What parent or older sibling hasn’t done it!?!?
Though in most families as children age and develop that behavior changes. We expect kids to learn that we all have feelings. Needs. Things that make us comfortable or uncomfortable.
We expect them to respect these things in others.
I know I’m guilty of behaving as though the world revolves around my girls, especially Thing 2.
I own it. I know I do it. I admit I do it.
There are two huge differences.
The first is I don’t expect anyone else to do it.
The second is they’re engaged, and however they struggle, they’re actively participating in their own lives.

Every parent makes sacrifices for their children. That’s part of being a parent.
Older siblings sometimes make sacrifices for their younger siblings, that makes sense, but still doesn’t seem all that acceptable. But I’m the big sister, so I know it just sometimes is.
This becomes a problem when everyone else is expected to behave in the same manner. It’s not other people’s job to put the comfort of someone else’s child, sibling, etc. above their own. And in all honesty, I don’t believe YBW and his family ever consciously expected that behavior from others, and they certainly never verbalized it. I feel like it was and remains very obvious by the way everyone functions.

I don’t think YBW is wrong for wanting to sacrifice for his kid.
I don’t think he’s an an idiot or stupid.
And I will own the fact that I’m judgey as fuck.
Judgey. As. Fuck.
But I don’t judge him for doing what he believes is best for his son. I’ve done what I believed best for my girls, sometimes it worked perfectly, sometimes I cocked it right up.
No one else has been in our hearts, in our families, it isn’t for another to tell anyone how to raise their children.
I’m guilty of pointing out what his kids don’t know. That doesn’t mean I think he failed. It means I don’t understand why they don’t know how to do X. And instead of examining that, YBW thinks I’m saying he failed as a parent.
Dude. We all fail as parents. I just want people to bring in the mail and trash can when they walk right past it every damn day.

What bothers me so much is that he continues to put the desires of that particular kid above everyone else’s. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. And he sacrifices so much of himself for that kid.
The difference between YBW and me is that I refuse to do it. I will not choose Thing G’s comfort or happiness over my own.
Because I don’t want to. And because it’s not what’s best for any one.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for me.
Just because I don’t like it, or I won’t do it, doesn’t mean I’m judging him for doing it. It just means I won’t make the same behavior choices he makes. My emotional and physical comfort are important in their own right. No more no less than anyone else’s.
And when I see him sacrifice his, I don’t like it because I believe he deserves more. But I can’t make that decision for him. I can only make that decision for myself.

I spent a long time talking with a friend who also has a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what I see, in their family, it’s just a thing. It means some tweaking here and there. It means she’s (the mom) working hard to meet everyone’s individual needs. But she’s not letting that diagnosis run their lives.
In this family it is everything. And because it is everything all the tweaking must be done around the diagnosed. It means everyone should work hard to meet the diagnosed’s needs. The diagnosis runs all our lives.
This is not the fault of the kid with the diagnosis. It’s not even the fault of his parents. It is simply the way it is.
I don’t choose to function that way.
I don’t choose for my children to be expected to function that way.
I don’t choose people who enter this house to be expected to function that way.

I don’t believe the desires of one should rule the many.
I mean come on! There were revolutions about shit like that.

I love my husband.
Like, in ways that sometimes have no words! I want to be with him in the life we build. And I want to get old with him.
I want him to feel loved. To feel understood. To feel like I’m in it with all I’ve got, not that he’s something I have to endure.
Right now, I think the best way to do that is to be quiet. Just be quiet and do my thing. Just be quiet and let him do his thing. Because clearly talking about it makes me a dick and him a failure.
I want to stop putting each of us through that.

Only this is a conversation worth having, and because we’re in it for the long haul, we have to figure it out how to have it successfully. Last night we talked a little and seemed to get to a place that’s better. So good for us!

I will be the first to admit I want what I want.
But not at the expense of others.
And that is the little nugget of truth I cling to.
Therefore, it seems just that I expect the same from others.

I choose not to live my life for anyone but me.
I believe YBW judges me for it.
I accept that.
I am not ashamed.
I feel no guilt.

I did the hard work of raising my children. I do the hard work of being the mother of adult women.
I did and continue to do the hard work of keeping myself safe and sane.
I do the hard work of marriage to a man I love all the way to Pluto and back.

I’m doing the best I can to live my intention.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Do everything in love.
I’m over here working to do everything in love and still have a sense of self.
I own my truth.
I don’t give a fuck who judges me.

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Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

while my behavior is (probably) unreasonable, my motivation is not

Things have been tricky with YBW lately.
Tricky may not be the best word to describe the situation, but it’s the word I’m purposely choosing, and that means I’m hopeful.
Here’s the thing, it might be mostly me. I’m completely wrapped around the axle about feeling overwhelmed by the fact we still have kids at home.
I am acutely aware that I’m overreacting to this.
I’m letting fear and anxiety drive the bus.
I’m smarter than that.
I’m more mindful than that.
I’m more capable than that.
Yet here I am. Shrieking and flailing and foaming at the mouth at the man I love.

I’ve worked myself into a state of chaos that I cannot seem to break from.

While my behavior is indubitably irrational and unreasonable, I stand behind the feelings behind them.
Now, those feelings are quite possibly a jumbled hot mess, but I feel them just the same.

What it ultimately feels like to me is that I sacrificed everything in my life to come here and have my life revolve around YBW’s children.
I’m not exaggerating.
Here, life is focused around the boys.
You may find it interesting to know that I understand why it was that way for so long. What I don’t understand is why it’s still that way.

Here’s what I know. My husband and I love each other. And we’re committed to each other and our relationship. And that gives me hope.

Hope is a powerful ally. One for which I am grateful. For without hope, I would feel that we made the biggest mistake of our lives. But because I have hope, I know we didn’t.
At the moment, what I need more than hope is an end date. I need practical reassurance that my hope is well founded. That there will come a time in the not-so-distant future that the life I am creating with my husband will revolve around our relationship and not his children.
He told me once that he didn’t want to be a step-parent to my girls. Well, first of all, this was hurtful to hear, and secondly, this was obvious as hell when my daughter came to live here. And more hurtful that I can even express.
Yet here I am, living my life for his children.

In my vision, we are a little solar system. (Interplanet Janet, much?)
And in that solar system, YBW and I are a planet. Our four children are nearby moons. Only, unlike a “real” solar system the moons and planet can occasionally occupy the same physical space and be together.
In my heart of hearts, I don’t consider that unreasonable.
What hurts me so much, is that it seems to me that YBW does.

I don’t want to “get rid” of his children. I want them to follow the natural course of development and fly the nest.
I think this goes back to what I was musing over parents developing at a different pace than their children. And while I acutely understand the pain of it. I don’t believe following the natural course of development is unreasonable.
I can want it to be the way it was when it was ‘we three girls against the world’, but that’s not the natural course and it’s not fair to them, or to me.
YBW never had to make the choice to accept the discomfort of those feelings. It was, and remains, these three boys against the world.
Only here I sit, ‘against the world’ adjacent.
Who’s against the world with me? Not a damn body.

Here’s what I’d like…YBW realizing I’m on his side. That I can be part of his against the world with his kids. BUT the time for that is waning, that soon they’ll be on their own, with us as back up.
I’d like to experience the shift from three boys as a unit, to YBW and me as a unit.

We’re parents. We will always have the backs of our children. There is no doubt of that. But there comes a time when having their backs is less active than it once was. That life is more focused on each other and our place in the world and we know that we’ve got our eyes on the moons that are near us.

In Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Belle sang,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.”

Well, I want that too. I want that with YBW.
Truth is, ain’t nobody adventuring while the focus is on an adult male that chooses not to launch, and a nearly grown male that chooses not to be invested in his own life.
Sad truth is that because they’re not choosing, they’re missing out.
That actually makes me feel worse.
I want more for them.
Unselfishly.

I see my girls struggle in their lives, but they’re out there trying.
Thing 1 and Husband N haven’t any money, but they have tenacity and they have love. They have a plan and they’re making it work.
Thing 2 is stuck physically, but has decided not to let that stop her from making the best life she can. She’s working within those constraints to get her life together and make something of herself.
I have their backs, helping them when they ask for it.
I suffer discomfort at their struggles.
But I see them making the choice to live their lives.

Contrary to opinion, I love YBW’s boys a great deal. I want them to choose their own lives! I want them to try! I want them to be successful humans in this world.
I want YBW to experience the pride and joy I feel when this happens for his children.

I don’t share these comparisons to point fingers. I share them because I know what it feels like to be on both sides of the coin.
Just because I didn’t give birth to his children, doesn’t mean I don’t love them. Doesn’t mean I don’t want the best possible lives for them.

Yes, I want to be a unit of two.
That’s what you’re meant to do with grown-ass kids.
The thing that kills me is that honestly don’t know if that’s what YBW truly wants.
And I don’t know how much longer I’m supposed to silently wait and see. All these thoughts and feelings I have can no longer be contained! In my trying to be kind, or respectful, and say nothing, I’ve created a toxic pit inside me. I much less successful at controlling it. I’m much less concerned about being kind to others than I am in being kind to myself.
I shouldn’t be silent when I’m unsatisfied.
Neither should I lose my shit completely.
It’s a delicate balance.
I’m not super successful at mastering it.

I refuse to believe that wanting what I want is unreasonable.
Though, I am aware that I am inclined to present it in a way that probably is.
I’m being mindful.
I’m working at it.

I’m tired of the same old conversation. Eight years later and I’m still wondering if he truly wants a life with just me.
Do I just need to get over myself?
I have no earthly idea.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

the sound of silence

Sssshhhhh.
Listen.
Do you hear that?

It’s silence.

There is nobody in our home but YBW and me.

All the Whos down in Whoville, the tall and the small, have gone to their other homes.

Thing C and Thing G yesterday, to their mother’s.
We just took Thing 1 and fiance N to the airport. They will go to his mother’s to grab their things and move to their new home this week.
(Thing 2 and boyfriend D left last Sunday in order to spend NYE with their friends.)

YBW told me several times that this was “the best Christmas ever”. I couldn’t agree more! All our babies at home together was truly a Christmas blessing!

That said, I’m honestly happy to be alone in our home. That many people for that long just about wore me out.
Now, what will most likely happen is I’ll enjoy the quiet for about three or four days and then I’ll miss my girls.
(The boys will come back Friday.)

But for now, I’m happy to be at home enjoying the sound of silence with my love.
We’ve already decided not to leave the house tomorrow. I’m going to suggest a bath for two, perhaps a bit of love making, and some serious lounging on the sofa time.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

and there was much rejoicing…yaaaaaaaaay

All the Whos down in Whoville, the tall and the small, are really irritated the rain falling from the sky isn’t snow!

The forecast for Washington DC today: 72° with scattered showers and thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe. Winds SW 10 to 20 MPH. (Thanks, weather.com,  for your bleak Christmas Eve forecast.)
The rain has plagued us for days on end and will continue straight on through the weekend. Damn this warm weather! If it was cold outside, we could have a white Christmas!

I’ve already checked my camera battery (new SD card fully functioning) and will head out in a couple of hours to Cathedral Crèche Exhibition!
It’ll be a lovely day to be inside the Cathedral to see all the baby Jesuses! It’ll be a shit day to drive around the Metro area.

Thing 1 and fiance N arrived safe and sound yesterday evening! YBW picked them up at the airport on his way home from work.
Thing 2 and I danced around the kitchen to the Nutcracker while we waited for them to get home.
Finally they got here!
and there was much rejoicing

Boyfriend D was scheduled to get on the train at 4:00 this morning, only the train is running five hours behind and is stuck in Savannah. Thing 2 wonders if he’ll get here by Christmas. I’m with her, but I worry about the poor sod who has to go get him as the train arrival time pushes back later and later.
Our plan was to grab him from the King Street train station at his 2:00 pm arrival time on our way out of DC. New plans are in the works.

Thing C and Thing G come home from their mom’s this evening!
Our own Whos, the tall and the small, will be under one roof tonight snuggled in their beds with dreams of sugar plums and Santa in their heads!

My beloved sister-in-law celebrates her birthday today! In the old days when we lived near each other, the anniversary of her birth would be celebrated with a delicious white cake with white icing and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Now that we live far apart, I post on fb, I text and call. We say: I lovey you! and promise to see each other soon. I miss her so. I long to wrap my arms around her, especially today, on her birthday.

My heart grew three sizes writing this post! I am filled to overflowing with love!
I wish you all the happiest Christmas!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

making a list and checking it twice

I’ve been so busy making lists and checking them twice, I just realized I haven’t started a countdown to everything I’m excited about in the next two weeks!
Thing 2 will be here in four days! We’ll be at the ballet in six. Thing 1 and fiance N will be here the very next day.
Okey doke, countdown checked off my list.

I talked with Thing 2 today and we’re all about getting dressed up all fancy to go to the ballet. Even though we’ve seen the Nutcracker several times, we’re both positively giddy! There will be so much squealing and clapping. We’re just little girls at heart.

YBW had the idea that we should do our annual trip to see the nativities at the Cathedral on Christmas Eve. I can hardly wait to see all the baby Jesuses!
Both the girls are excited to go and you know I’m thrilled! It’s my favorite Christmas outing and this year, my camera’s stupid SD card won’t be wonky so I won’t lose all my photos!

The boys come home from their mom’s after church Christmas Eve, then we’ll do Christmas Eve pressies. They know they’ll find jammies and a book under the tree, but love the tradition. I’m so pleased I’ve been able to introduce this special tradition to YBW and the boys. Thing G absolutely adores his jammies.

All the gift shopping is finished. I’ve wrapped everything and sorted out all the stocking “stuffers” into individual bags for ease of filling on Christmas Eve.
The majority of Christmas dinner has been ordered from Wegmans with a few special dishes to be made here at home. Thing 1 loves to cook, so I’m counting on her to be my sous chef. Actually, I’d rather be her sous chef…but we’ll see how it goes. Thing 2 is developing her cooking skills so we’ll call her to action too. Thing C is great at getting everything set up, so I’ll be relying on him for that.
With YBW’s mom, and brother and his family, we’ll be eleven for Christmas dinner. There’s a part of me that balks at the concept, but what the hell? The more the merrier!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
My joy is simply unquantifiable!

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tidings of comfort and joy (and donuts)

I got up early this morning to take friends to the airport. I left YBW and his two Things at home fast asleep.
My student (who’s mother died in March) and his daddy are going “home” for Christmas.
Their little family and mine have become so close that we are now truly a part of each other’s families. The little boy calls Thing 2 his daughter. He heard me say it once and then took her all around the school and said to anyone who would listen, “This my daughter, Thing 2.” He also says, “Thing G my favorite.” Mostly he says, “I go you house Robynbird?”
So Thing 2’s three year old “dad”, D has become a ‘nephew’ to YBW and me and his daddy, S feels to me like a ‘younger brother’. This morning I was their big sister/aunt and packed them up and drove them to the airport, left them with hugs and kisses and promises to let me know when they arrived safely.

A song that I always associate with Thing 2 began to play and I was flooded with equal feelings of joy and sadness. My initial concern about starting my day poorly with sadness faded as the song went on and joy overwhelmed my sadness. I’m relieved to realize I can feel sad about missing her but those feelings don’t consume me. The feelings of joy, the memories of driving too fast with the windows down blasting this song and singing it at the tops of our voices are too good to hand over to the sadness of missing my girl.

I drove home as the sky lightened with the idea to stop and get donuts to bring home to the boys…I know what each of them likes so it was pretty easy to choose a dozen and grab a cappuccino on the way home.
So here I sit, with my take out coffee waiting for three boys to wake up. The little Christmas tree lighted, the menorah waiting for it’s last few nights of candles, the stockings hung by the chimney with care and my heart filled with comfort and joy.
20141221_082552
I do wish these boys would get on up though, I’m hungry!

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saying goodbye

I survived the twenty two days between the death of my dad and his memorial service.
I celebrated YBW’s birthday two days after he died, the arrival of Thing 2 on Mother’s Day, my own birthday the following day, Thing G’s confirmation the end of the same week, his birthday the very next day, the arrival of my estranged brother from the west coast, the arrival of Thing 1 and her fiancé two days later, and finally the memorial service yesterday.

Sundance says I’m a big brave girl and need new shoes…I got new shoes for the service, but I don’t think that’s what she had in mind…shoe shopping is on the agenda.

Yesterday was a very difficult day and the love I received truly held me up when I needed it most. Friends and family who came to grieve the absence of my dad from their lives were there because of the love they had for him. Friends and family came to support me in my grief because they love me. Family I have because of YBW, his brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, who are mine now too, Things C and G’s mom and her husband, they all came because we are family now. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of my dearest friends from my ‘old’ preschool teaching days sneak into the back of the church, she came because she loves me…that’s the moment my tears began to flow.

The service was actually quite lovely, when I spoke of my dad, there was laughter and tears and love in that room. I hope I made him proud.
The pastor mentioned Daddie told him he was going to be disco dancing up the aisle after his hip healed…that will never happen, but I feel sure he’s dancing his ass off wherever he is.

I am exhausted but peaceful.
I am lifted up by love.
I am glad it’s over.

5.24.14

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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