Monday, October 10, 2011

Life, As We Know It.

I'm frazzled. So frazzled that a perfect stranger took one look at me a couple days ago and said "You OK, Hon?" I guess spending every day being worried about the kids and our future, shows on my face, plain as day. I'm trying to walk a fine line between obsessively monitoring their behavior, and letting them work things out as they need to. And either way is wrong...being in the middle is wrong too. Apparently, there is no magic way to bring them, and myself, through this, unscathed.

At the Shelburne museum last weekend, Myra and Jana remarked, "Geez, if we ever get separated from you guys, we'll be able to track you down by just listening for Emily calling: "Come here!" "Don't touch that!" "Hold my hand! "Don't run!".....Relax, Emily." Basically saying I should lay off. But when I tried to loosen up a little, we had several incidents, including one where Eli grabbed a handful of a valuable costume's skirt with a muddy hand, making an armed guard very unhappy, and Ira tried to slide down a mahogany spiral staircase, three stories up.

I feel...hypersensitive to everything. I feel like people are judging me, and judging my kids. And judging me BY my kids. If ever was the time to be a perfect parent, it's now, when they are going through such changes. And yet I feel like I'm failing them. I'm making mistakes left and right. I'm not used to dealing with things alone, I get so tired and feel like I'm being a terrible nag. But since THEY are feeling pretty emotionally unstable too, when I don't carefully watch and react every second, they do things that are unacceptable or unsafe, because of course they're testing these new boundaries and trying to understand things.

I'm trying to do special things all the time with them, letting them know I love them and that Dad loves them, everybody loves them...but still, I understand they are angry and scared. The tricky part is: I'm angry and scared too. I'm setting up counseling for the kids and I, which I hope will help us deal with each other the right way. I can't figure out if I should be a little more lenient of Eli's wild fits of defiance, or be as consistent as possible through this. Either way, I'm exhausted.

John has been an amazing help. I'm very thankful to have him in our life, although it's a complication that obviously adds more anger and awkwardness in certain areas. Sometimes I feel like Justin and I could be in better agreement with our parenting if there were no other people in our lives, because we tend to feel so hurt by each other, it's hard to think straight. Needless to say, Justin does not approve of John, and the more John helps me with the kids, the more Justin disapproves. But as I said before, I'm not used to dealing with things alone, I get completely flustered in public, there's two very confused little boys, testing me every moment. John has been there for us, helping me take the them places, watching one, while I take the other one to the bathroom, keeping one from breaking something while I chase the other, holding ladders while we pick apples, helping impatient seven year olds set up tents, and sharing the occasional cup of tea with me in the evening, while I cry about what a lousy job I'm doing. It can't be fun for him. I honestly don't think I'd be a good enough person to date somebody with kids if I didn't have any myself. It's a pretty unfair deal, because you never get to come first. Never get somebody's full attention, and are forced in the position of having to take on loads of parenting responsibilities, but always required to yield completely to the actual parent's opinions/rules/rights. I know it's selfish of me to think that way, but God, it must be hard. You'd have to have the patience of a Saint. Plus, in that situation, you've got potentially upset children, not to mention their upset, newly single parent, all damaged and gun-shy about relationships.

So, that's where I am at the moment. Happy and sad. Thankful and guilty. Tired and confused. Optimistic, yet battling depression. Overwhelmed. A fresh page in a brand new, blank book, without an idea in my head of where to start writing, but somehow it must be a sequel to the last book...I need to include all the characters I love, but continue their stories in a whole, new way. And add things that I know nothing of yet. It's scary, but I'll try my best. I just hope it's worth reading.

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