Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two Years And A Day

Doug and I spent the last few days celebrating our two year wedding anniversary. Saturday we had brunch at our favorite restaurant, Salty's. Followed by a helicopter tour of Seattle. Last night, our actual anniversary, we took the girls out to celebrate with us at Mama Sortini's in Puyallup.
Marriage is not what I expected it to be.  I know that sounds funny since I had been married once before, but this is different.  Marriage was hard and a lot of work. There were constant battles.  It was bi-polar.  It was something I swore I would never do again.  When Doug asked me to marry him I agreed because I loved him enough to be willing to put the work in to build a life with him. The funny thing is that I haven't had to.  What I'm learning is that marriage with the right person is easy. Sure, there's conflicts and we have our less than stellar moments. But it's not hard. It's not work.
I think I have married the most patient man on the planet.  He is beyond patient with me when I feel like the house is falling down around me. When I apologize for the house being a mess he just shrugs it off "I don't like to clean, why should you?".  When I forget to take the dry-cleaning in - for the fourth day in a row - he says "I could do it just as easily and I didn't".
He's my buoy.  He gives me something to anchor myself to. When the waters get rough he is there, riding the waves and being a beacon of all that is good and stable.

I said them two years ago, have lived them since and will continue to do so:

from today, I will belong to you for the rest of my life. I promise to love and honor you; and to give you my strength, and to stand by you in joy and in sorrow, and ask you to stand by me.  I want you to share your hopes, desires, and dreams with me.  I know that our home will be one of love and understanding.  I promise to care for you when you are sick, stand by you when times are difficult, and to share the warmth and joy of life.  I give you all my trust and all of my tomorrows.  I will grow with you as long as I live.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Broke My Daughter's Heart

I had to break my daughter's heart - and my own while I was at it.  It's bound to happen sooner or later - it does with all of them.  That knowledge does not make it easier.
Allie had a "boyfriend" that she's been talking about for a few weeks now. I hadn't given it much thought, as middle-schoolers cycle through boyfriends like they share pens.  There's been a few that she's liked and then not and then liked again.  I figured after a couple of weeks this one would be old news, too. Krystyne, having had to submit to the torturous task of bringing her boyfriend home decided that it was high time that Allie be subjected to the same disgrace.  That's when we found out that he "doesn't live here". Um, what? He lives in WI. Um, WHAT?!?! My head went firmly into the are-you-freakin'-kidding-me mode.  "Dad said he'll take me to see him while I'm there". Oh, this just gets better and better.
From here the details of their meeting get a little fuzzy.  He's the cousin of a friend's ex-boyfriend, he's was in town for a funeral. She first saw him on a Warp Tour message board and happen to recognize him with a friend.  It gets a little fishy and I realized that the "how" of it all was not really important.
There were some text messages that had pinged my Mom Radar as a little concerning. Just basic ever-lasting-love teenage crap that is to be expected.  There was just something in it that gave me reason to pause. I had shrugged it off to my over protective Mama Bear stuff, but it just didn't sit right.
Last night I sat down with Al to try to talk some sense into her. And by talk some sense, I mean really explain how the hell this was NEVER going to happen.  Let's start with logistics of the whole thing. The kid lives an hour away from where her dad lives.  Just the chance of seeing him is almost non-existent, no matter what Dad says.  There's a lot of "sure, we'll go to the lake, mall, whatever" that doesn't happen. Not with any malicious intent but sometimes you just don't get to it.  It happens here all the time, it's not something I fault him for.  Add to that taking away the very little time that they get out there, how likely is it really.  Here's what the next few visits look like:
Summer - Late June to Mid August
Christmas Break - Two weeks at the end of December
Summer - 6 weeks in July/August
How do you have any kind of relationship in that time? Is it really fair to ask Dad during the only few weeks he gets in the next year to take you somewhere for a few hours to make googly eyes at some boy? This is all around just a bad idea.  The 65-ish days they get with their dad should be spent with him. It's all he gets and it's not fair to ask that he give that time up.
I hated to do it but I had to draw the line.  How crazy would I be to allow this to continue?  I'm a little nuts, I'm not that nuts. 
I know that I had to do what was right for my daughter even if she can't see it now. Even if she can't see past the hurt that she sees me "intentionally" dishing out for her.  I can see the 800 ways this could go terribly wrong. Maybe it's too many Lifetime movies.  Maybe it's my own paranoia about my girls having to go through even an ounce of the horrors I went through in my early (and even later) relationships.  I can see how isolating something like this could become.  I can't sit by and watch while she passes by opportunities and experiences that she should be having out of some misplaced loyalty to some mangy, weird kid that can't land a girlfriend in his own town.  My Allie is beautiful, even with the mounds of eyeliner and ever-changing hair colors.  She is a complicated, sensitive child. Under normal circumstances she stands back and watches before making her choices. She can be impulsive. She is goofy and funny and pure joy.  She worries me more than any of the other kids.  She is stubborn and sarcastic and helpful.  I will not stand by while some little freak-job (hey, I am not required to be diplomatic here) pulls on her heart-strings and toys with her emotions.  I won't. I don't have to.  I am asserting my parental right to come in and destroy their hopes and dreams in the name of knowing what's best.  A part of her may hate me now, but I'm OK with that.  In 5 years I will remind her of this and she will say "who? I don't remember that, Mom".  I can wait.  
For now I offer distractions and give her a little more leeway with friends. Summer is coming and she'll be leaving soon.  This trip will be longer than most.  I will block the little punk's number from her phone and erase it from her address book. I'll give it to her dad to do the same and watch for.  (Amazingly enough Kraig actually agrees with me on this one.  We don't often agree when it comes to parenting. I'm glad he's on my team for this one)
Eighth grade will provide a whole new set of boys to make googly eyes at.  I hope one day she understands.