July 30, 2010

Less Busy Than Not Very Busy At All


That's what's on my calendar today.  No errands, no appointments, no plans for dinner. Just wide open...and I couldn't be happier. I have been down with strep throat for four days now, and I'm all about not having to go anywhere or do anything while this antibiotic kicks in.

Not that I've been super busy lately, don't get me wrong. I'm never super busy. In fact, last week the guy came to fix my window screens at 9:30 in the morning. I just happened to have run out to the store beforehand and had to call to let him know I'd be a minute or two late in meeting him. When I got here, he shook his head and said "Wow, you're a busy  person!"  As if I had just finished painting my house and doing all my Christmas shopping.  Yea, I'm exhausted. I went all the way down to Grocery Outlet before I even had coffee!

I don't mean to knock my job - the Stay Home Mom Gig. It's just that I never feel like I can't catch a break. There's nothing in my in-basket that will cause the stock market to crash if I don't get to it today. Sure, Jack might have to have a bagel instead of cereal if there's no milk, but he'll get over it. It's still white food.  If I don't work today, millions of sea creatures will not perish from spilled oil. Crimes will not go unsolved.

I'm pretty sure though, over time, this little corner of the world would fall apart. (Ok, maybe not under the direction of my husband, but under normal circumstances.) Like the fact that there's a weird phenomenon in my boys' bathroom. Not the normal stuff, like molding socks. Lately, I've noticed that the bottles of shampoo and body wash and god knows what else are multiplying. On their own. I haven't bought anything recently, but there are like ten new bottles of half-full product all over the place. Are they stealing them from their friends? What the hell?

And dishes. If I say "Ok, one of you has to unload the dishwasher, the other one has to clean the cat box", they trample each other racing for the litter box. Really? Maybe it's just me, but putting away warm, clean, pretty dishware is more desirable than kneeling on the dirty laundry-room floor with a bacteria-infested scoop, shoveling cat shit.  Just sayin.

Other than that, I'm not all that busy. I'm not preventing toddlers from inserting forks into electrical outlets all day, or cleaning up after Woops-I shouldn't-have-fed-the-baby-that. I'm not planning my every move around crucial nap time or trying to get my own nap in after spending the night with two small children wedged between me, the cat and the husband.

Especially in summer, anymore, there's very little care of children involved, other than basic life-or-death supervision. On occasion, I make lunch. Mostly, they feed themselves (freeze pops, Go-Gurt, cheese sticks) or maybe I have to drive one of them somewhere.  I have to make sure there's food in the fridge. Toilet paper available, gas in the car, that sort of thing. Laundry and vacuuming and all that, of course. But really, this is a pretty rockin' job.

Still, I love NOTHING days.

July 22, 2010

Family Ties...

Time to get back into writing.  I've been in summer mode since school got out, and have had a hard time spending more than a few minutes at a time at the computer (read:facebook). 

Unfortunately, our weather has turned to crap again so we're all wearing sweatshirts and hanging around the house. I shouldn't complain; I know other people are dying in heat waves around the country or getting flooded out.  I just miss my poolside chaise lounge down in California!

The vacation was good for everyone, although I think the beneficial part for Matt was taking his little brother to Mississippi for the first time.  Kenneth's family is all there, and Matt is close to all of them.  He's been wanting to take Jack down there with him for years; this year seemed a good time for me to say yes.

They had a great time, as I knew they would. No over-protective Mom hanging over their heads to direct their every move. Still, I knew they were in good hands with Matt's Aunt Kim, who has always been like a second mother to him. Jack loved her, and in his thank you note, he wrote "I felt loved". That totally brought a tear to my eye!

Since they got home, Matt has been doing ok. Kim and I both were worried about how he's not really dealing with his Dad's death, but who's to say he is or isn't? I'm not in his head. I'm just afraid that this calm, seemingly everything's ok attitude is a facade, that the real explosion of anger and hurt is right around every corner. Yeah, that's me, constantly having to be worried about something.

But seriously, if he's keeping all that inside, something's gotta give at some point, right? He won't go to counseling, he won't talk to anyone (that I know of).  He just keeps really busy with his friends.  I know, that sounds like any normal 17 year old kid, but I wish there were more of a connection to our family. The one thing that hasn't changed since he came back to live with us is his lack of interest in being a part of "us". He tells me his friends are his family - the family he wants. He is always polite and respectful to us, helps around the house, etc, but he's not connected. There's no bond there, and I'm not sure if there ever was. I pretty much let him come and go as he pleases (not what I would choose) just because it's what he's so used to, and what will cause the least tension. Fighting with him is just something I can't do anymore. The slightest indication that we're going to battle sends me into a panic attack so quickly that I have to leave the room the minute I sense it. I have no desire anymore to engage and prove my point. I have no desire to be right or to have any kind of control or authority over him.  He hasn't caused me any grief so far - meaning that he's always home at a decent hour, stays out of trouble, is nice to everyone. I can't push my luck.

Does that sound complacent? Lazy? I don't want to work too hard? Maybe. Maybe this is me, being the parent who finds that discipline is just too hard, that it's easier to say yes, to give in, to look the other way, than to create healthy boundaries. I guess I see it differently, though (of course I do, I'm trying to rationalize) since he's so much older, and the situation is somewhat unique.

I don't know. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I may be setting a precedent for Jack that will come back to haunt me later. I may be setting myself up for a fall, who knows.  Right now, what I do know is that we're all getting along relatively well and as long as I can keep it like this, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.