crabby

March 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm 1 comment

Today I found myself incredibly, and surprisingly, crabby. It was curious because I don’t have any demons riding on my shoulder these days, the sky is blue, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, but come five o’clock this evening my face was all scrunched, my lips were pursed, everything about me was prickly, and then I realized: TRANSITION. I don’t like it.

Wednesdays are the days that Xi comes back to us from her other house. In the space of a couple minutes the family dynamic gets shoved around and reshuffled, and even though it happens every week, I’m never prepared. From Saturday until today we have been a three person family, which, even just because it is a lower number of people, is pretty easy. One kid, with just one set of interests, and one bedtime, and only one finicky belly to feed.

On Wednesdays we pick up Xi and smother her in love. Echo sits in her lap and suddenly has a readily available playmate. A sister has returned. It’s beautiful. But after that moment things are a bit herky jerky for me. Until we transition to being a four person family, I fight against making two separate kid meals in addition to the main meal, and refereeing disputes. I fight against plain everyday parenting things just because it is different from how we were doing it yesterday.

Once I’ve made the transition, having Xi here feels normal, feels right. But the in between time, the transitional afternoon, is tough. And, just when I have adjusted, Bella will arrive on a Friday and leave on Sunday, which means two more transitions to round out the week. It’s enough to make my head spin.

This is not what people think about when they are contemplating leaving the mother or father of their children, or, for that matter, when they are considering having sex with someone who they would never want as a parent to their future children. They do not imagine sixteen plus years of chopped up weeks. If they could possibly imagine what that might be like, maybe they wouldn’t be as interested in splitting up, or would never have gotten involved in the first place. Of course there are many, many worthwhile reasons to break up, but at this point I know I’d rather chain myself to Nathan’s leg than leave him. I’d rather participate in twenty-five years of couple’s counseling than watch Echo go back and forth, or negotiate holidays, birthdays, and well, virtually everything.

I know from experience just how tricky it can be. Not only from loving these girls and transitioning back and forth each week, but also from being a grown child of separated parents. The back and forth doesn’t end when the kids grow up. I am still negotiating how my time is spent with my family. Holidays are carefully divided, thought is pored into each visit, and still there are tears. Every time.

Luckily I am in love with Nathan and don’t even toy with the idea of being apart. In fact I feel insanely fortunate in that regard. And there is nothing to be done about having to share these fantastic girls. That is the way it is. I feel grateful for the time we have with them, and hopefully, I keep my own displeasure with transition to myself enough to help them with their transition. To be fair, I at least get to stay in the same house while I struggle with uncertainty and change. I’m sure if it didn’t mean choosing between one parent and another, the girls would rather stay in one home as well.

I would wager that transition is hard for everyone, no matter what the cause. In our world transition means we get to welcome back two phenomenal human beings into the fold, but I still struggle. Actually if I’m going to be honest, after reading this over again, I realize that I struggle on the other end as well. When the girls go to their other homes, and Echo is left an only child with only mama and papa to interact with, I wrestle with that transition as well. Seems no matter what I am transitioning from or toward my default mode is crabby.

Perhaps this means I have “work” to do in this area. To go with the flow more. To “be here now” more. Or some other such thing like that, and I’m sure I’ll give it some thought, but for now, tonight,  I think I will simply be crabby and see what follows from there.

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Entry filed under: life lessons, parenting principles. Tags: , , , , , .

mamas in training closer than I thought

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. crystal  |  March 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    thank you for this post! i also split custody of one of my sons(7 yrs old) and today was a tricky day for me. he asked to stay with dad today because he was really missing him. so as i was prepping for that transition of him coming home i get struck with a little twinge of pain in the heart…missing him. perhaps when he comes home it will be a little easier, i’ll be more in the moment, and a little less crabby. i’d definitely take the hard transition over this feeling of emptiness!

    Reply

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