Blending Our Families

J & I have known each other for years.

We met ages ago, when I was working at a theme park & he was the [self proclaimed] weird kid who would come to the park as often as possible. I’m 1000% oblivious, so I never really ‘got’ that he had a crush on me back in those days, but to hear him tell it, I was the pretty girl he was obsessed with seeing when he’d come to the park for the day.

In 2017, we reconnected in a mutual interest chat room. I posted a selfie of myself & there was an onslaught of comments & questions. “Hey did you work at [theme park]? Yes? Do you remember me?”

Y’all, I’ve had two brain surgeries. I don’t remember much from before 2011. Just saying.

Anyway, when M & I made the call to split, I needed a place to live when I figured out I was moving to Virginia. I had offers from friends to stay with them much closer to my restaurant while I worked out my situation, but because I knew where I wanted to live since my mom had offered to take care of the boys, I chose a different direction. I chose to move into an apartment 45 minutes away from the restaurant.

J had been subtly pursuing me for months. We didn’t start dating casually until September 2018 & I absolutely thought it was too soon. But because I was thrown into an awkward situation when I brought the boys back home for the 2018-2019 school year, I decided to say, “Screw it.”

From the start, we said if our kids didn’t get along or agree to our relationship, it was a done deal. We both sat our kids down for a frank discussion. “I am choosing to date [name]. How do you feel about it? If you don’t care for them, this entire thing is off.”

Luckily, Butter, Bear, & Bonus Kid get along famously. BK adores me & my boys genuinely look up to J. They get into little spats sometimes, like all siblings do. I assumed incorrectly when I made the call about which one of my boys would be closer friends with BK, but they all play together really well & they’re a great team.

Anything I didn’t touch on? I know this seems super hastily thrown together, but it took me literal ages to write it because I wanted to word everything the right way.

Questionable Parenting Choices

Several nights over this summer, Bear has announced to me that he doesn’t like going to bed. So, I came up with a solution.

One night when I didn’t have to work the next day, the kids could stay up as late as they wanted to. Stipulations included not waking the adults & not arguing. If either of those things happened, it was an immediate trip to bed.

Last night was the night & honestly, the three of them did very well. Butter had a bit of a freak out somewhere around 4:15 this morning & the kids were told to finish the episode of the TV show they were watching & head to bed. All of them claimed to be very much NOT TIRED. They all slept until just before 11 AM, though.

I don’t know what prompted me to come up with this plan. Normally, they start getting ready for bed around 9 PM & are in bed no later than 9:30 PM. It’s a bit earlier during school time. Though, who the heck knows what is even going on with school this year, so who knows whether or not their bedtime will change? I knew I had to make sure that I didn’t have to work because I didn’t want to stress J out with having them be annoying to him. He’s currently at work, but he got up later than the kids & took a nap this afternoon. I was up most of the night, not because of the kids, but because my head felt vaguely like someone was shoving an ice pick into my right temple.

Maybe I came up with this because I want to be the fun parent? That’s very likely not it but I believe kids should have that kind of fun. In the past, we’ve made it a point to have ice cream for dinner at least once during the summer. J & I are talking about a role reversal day with them, where they get to be the “adults” for a day. They’re already planning how they’re going to make us do all of their chores & especially that they’re going to make us go outside for an hour & a half [they have to do at least that much time outside most days] without our phones. I laughed & reminded them that they’ve got just about every excuse in the book for not actually staying outside their allotted time. Yesterday, they came in after about 40 minutes because they saw a spider & thought it was dangerous.

They’ve been well behaved today, too. Bear was a bit grumpy when he had to go to bed this morning & when he woke up. Butter didn’t want to get out of bed. Having them do their chores in order to get their electronics today was a little closer to pulling teeth today but nothing terrible.

Maybe my parenting philosophy is not yours, but these kids were safe & they had an absolute blast staying up until almost 5 AM. M thought I was teaching Bear a lesson when I told him that I let them stay up last night, but it wasn’t about that, either. I’m want to say that I’m teaching them real world experiences. Had I wanted to be hard on them, I’d have woken them up after only a couple hours of sleep so they can learn what parents go through when they’re in the throes of parenting. But no, I wanted to let them have fun. They had a great time, they didn’t give me crap when I told them they had to do certain things before the night could start, & they worked through 90% of their issues without needing parenting intervention. Because I was up all night, I know how often they had discussions about what they were going to do next. It was surprisingly democratic [and we’ve got two who can be super bossy].

The fact is, I’ve got a 9, 10, & 12 year old in the house & I’m learning on the fly. I only had boys up until J & I starting dating & now my mom thinks it’s hilarious he’s got a daughter since I always said – because I was & am a total tomboy – I had no idea what I would do with a daughter. I still don’t know what to do with a daughter. Blending our families is a something one of my dear friends asked about, so I’ll address that in a future post.

Enjoy your evening, everyone.

Here We Go Again

Hi.

Are you surprised to see me writing again so soon? Not going to lie, I definitely am surprised to find myself sitting at my computer [which is on the verge of dying thanks to being six years old] clicking away at the keyboard.

Where was I?

Oh, my cat. He’s actually sitting in the chair off to my right at the moment, staring
at the computer & wondering why I’m not sharing pictures of him. He’s sassy, this one.

Say hi to Lucifurr, aka Luci with the Fur [he has his own song which may or may not have taken me two days to write, even though it’s just a reworking of Flo Rida’s Low], aka the cat who is the perfect cat to deal with my crazy.

This is his, "Hey lady, you interrupted my nap!' face.
This is his, “Hey lady, you interrupted my nap!’ face.

I don’t know that I can put in to words what it felt like to be the one to leave when M & I split. And then I read an amazing book called, Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still by Kristina Kuzmic & she put it into words so beautifully: “No one gets into a marriage thinking it won’t work. And when a marriage fails, it feels like a death. If there are kids involved, it feels like many deaths. Many slow, painful deaths. And when you’re the one who is making the decision to pull the plug on a marriage, it can make you feel like a murderer.”

Holy crap, she is right. Whether it was myself or other people, I felt like the worst human being in the entire word. I couldn’t believe I “left” my kids. I couldn’t believe I left a marriage I was determined to make it work when I said my vows. The thing is, even before I read the book, I realized that sometimes people are just incompatible & don’t realize it soon enough. Unfortunately, that’s what happened between M & me. We tried, but in the end, it was best for us to separate. The kids are happier, the two of us are happier. It sort of worked out in the end.

I felt the part of the murderer sometimes, though. I know I was vilified by many people. Not always to my face, mind you, but I know without a doubt it happened. I had people say to me, “I can’t believe you moved four & a half hours away from your kids! How on earth could you do that?” A] They were in a better school distract where they were & B] they needed some sort of stability. If stability meant not uprooting their entire life at once, I was all for it because me moving away uprooted them enough.

I will never say it was easy. In fact, it was damn difficult. We FaceTimed almost every day. I came back to Delaware for a week at a time every month or so. They spent Thanksgiving, Spring, & Summer breaks with me. I came back for Christmas.

But in late 2018, I decided I’d had enough. In November 2019, I moved back to Delaware. J came with me after working through some stuff with my Bonus Kid & coming to an agreement with her mom. The move was supposed to happen in the summer [right around the time the boys went back to school], but it had to be pushed back.

It’s working so far.

With the full understanding that not a whole lot of people are reading this, I’d love it if you’d pose questions I can blog about in the future. It gets old for me hashing out the same things. I can only say, “I suck as a mom because I moved away from my kids” so many times before even I am sick of myself.

Until next time . . .