Sunday, July 7, 2013

We Are Family

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
― Mother Teresa

I have spent the past week entirely in the company of my children.  I am currently locked away in my bedroom with a glass of wine and two dogs with the television blasting the third season of the Gilmore Girls.  After seven days, suffice it to say that I am finished with family time.

Rock, paper, scissors during the Fourth of July Festival
Don't get me wrong.  I adore my children.  I do.  But I would currently like to adore them from a distance.  Preferably with them downstairs pursuing their own activities and me upstairs not having to talk to them.  People say that I will miss them when they're gone.  And I'm sure I will.  (Surely.)  But, for now, I need some space.  And some quiet.  And a few minutes where no one is farting and then telling me about it.

We had a lot of terrific conversations this past week and we endured some fun (and some not-so-fun) activities together.  I learned more about these growing strangers in my home and I feel closer to them after hours in the car and in the house.  We've had junk food feasts, marathon movie sessions, car rides in the countryside and a variety of learning activities disguised as fun.  We didn't get to nearly all of what we wanted to do but that's typical of life with me.  One day, we decided to wake up when we wanted to and we stayed in our pajamas and ate ice cream.  We didn't have a typical "vacation" but it was one that may have been the most valuable yet.  And I'm leaving it feeling fulfilled and rested and ready to get away from these two.

I came to an interesting conclusion here at the end of the week.  For a long time, I have yearned for an adult companion to share our vacations and, in truth, our lives.  I told my Ex Husband the other day that I am glad for the ability to come and go as I please, to do what I want and to not share my bed with a snoring man.  But that wasn't really the whole truth.  I have wished for that very thing over the past several years.  I tell myself (and others) that it's better this way.  It's better to be single and do what I wish.  But I have longed for a man who loves me and, most importantly, loves my children as his own.  And, as much as I like to ignore it, I am a woman who was made to be loved by a man. 

This may really not happen for our little family.  Thing 1 will be up and out into the world in only five short years and Thing 2 will be not far behind him.  During this week together, I found that I enjoyed their company wholly and fully and we were able to be loud and silly together.  I found myself wondering if a blended family would somehow change that.  The answer is undoubtedly yes.  It WOULD change, I can't say if it would be BETTER or WORSE.  But the change would be inevitable.

So I came up with a few good reasons why it's OK for me to remain a single mom for the next seven years:

  • I can make all the decisions.  Let's face it.  I'm ALL ABOUT control.  And being right.  And, if I'm the only adult present, I can sing Janet Jackson ALL DAY LONG.  "Now I know I've got to take...control.  Now, I've got a lot..."  I can say yes.  Or no.  And we can have ice cream BEFORE dinner.  
  • I can roll my eyes when Thing 1 has an adolescent throwing-things-in-his-room-fit.  This morning, Thing 1 woke up on the WRONG side of bed.  Thing 2 and I were downstairs hearing thuds and thumps.  I knew Thing 1 was just working things out and allowed the behavior because he wasn't harming anyone...he was just getting out his feelings physically without being destructive.  That's totally allowed in my home.  When he came down and slammed his breakfast dishes on the table, I addressed the behavior quickly and it ceased immediately.  I worry that another adult might escalate poor behavior instead of addressing and defusing it.
  • We can eat cereal for dinner.  Rules are present in my home but I'm not a stickler for some things.  I see no reason to cook a meat and two vegetables for EVERY SINGLE DINNER.  Sometimes we have cereal. Sometimes we have nutter-fluffers.  And, while we almost ALWAYS eat at the table, sometimes we have TV dinners.  Flexibility is my middle name.
  • There is no drama.  I'm not always the best at choosing partners.  I don't want to cry in front of my kids because my feelings are hurt.  I don't want to lose myself or sacrifice myself for another person.  That wouldn't be good.  When the time is right, I will be in a HEALTHY relationship with someone who respects me and loves my kids.  As it is, we have zero drama.  Zero drama is an important part of family life. 
  • They get all of me.  I can focus on my hoodlums.  My time and attention belong to them.  OK, I understand that it's important for them to see how healthy relationships function.  But they can get that from their dad and his girlfriend right now.  Or from their grandparents.  They don't have to model relationships from me.  What I can do is give them my energy.  I can laugh at their jokes (but only if they're funny) and play games with them and talk with them about their ideas. 
 Sure, part of me is still a bit sad that we don't have a fourth wheel with a wheel or two or three of his own.   But that's just not in the cards for us.  At least not for right now.   And that's OK. (I mean, I wouldn't say "no" to, you know, a real-life Prince Charming or anything...)  Our little family is chugging along just fine.  As long as they stay downstairs for a little while...

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