Baby Daddy and I are working out a new schedule with the kids. Without getting into details, I can say this: While I am delighted that he is being more proactive about seeing them more often (and for longer periods of time), I am struggling with letting go. My identity is so wrapped up in motherhood and being "needed" by them that I don't feel grounded when they are away from me more than one night a week. I don't like it. I miss them. And I don't know what to do with myself when they are gone for more than 18 hours. I want them to see their father as much as possible. I have never stood in the way of that and I never will. But this new plan is, well...new. Change isn't easy, especially when I'm used to doing pretty much 100% of everything 100% of the time. There is a measure of comfort in all of that control, even if it's not healthy.
So here we go. A new routine. A new way of looking at things. A new way of being. So far, the kids seem pretty content with it, and that's my only real concern (even if Sean frequently complains that there aren't as many toys at his father's house. That's fine, I tell him. There is a brook and fishing there instead.). As for filling up my "down" time, I'm not worried about: I've got plenty to keep me busy (or not). I have to push aside the ego that whispers--no, screams--in my head: They might prefer him to you, sucker! They might never want to come home! What IS that? Why does that happen? I know they love me and I know they love their father and I know it's not a contest. So why do I sometimes worry they will reject me, or not need me, in the end? Boy, just when I think I've had enough therapy...
In the meantime, I have the rest of this thing called life to have fun reshaping and building. I'm trying to do well at my job, as tasks mount and responsibilities shift and increase, blurring the lines of what my role is here. I welcome the challenges, I'm happy to be busy. At home I have closets to clean and flowers to deadhead and fabric to sew and photos to print and a wedding to plan and a porch to sit on with nothing to do but look at the water. Life is good.
Today is July 1. My late great-grandfather's birthday (he was born in 1894). Talk about letting go. When he was ten years old, his parents put him on a boat in Ireland and sent him here, alone, to live with extended family, because they couldn't afford all the kids they had back home. He never saw his parents again. He never met some of his siblings who were born after he left, either. He always wanted to go back, but he never did. His descendants have tried to make up for it, in a way. The old family house in Co. Meath is a shrine of sorts; we've all been there. We've all walked the path from his home to his old schoolhouse. We've all tried to imagine, as mothers and as children, what it must have been like to be shipped off. To let go. To be ten years old and arrive in Boston, trusting you will be taken care of, somehow.
July, July. Not a beach day for me, though. Today I'll have meetings and clear my desk of work. Today I will pick up the kids from camp and take Sean to his Tae Kwon Do class. Today the kids won't see their dad, but tomorrow they will. Today my cousins will bury their 22 year old friend, Mark, who crashed his motorcycle on Thursday. Today I will think often of someone I know who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Today I will drink a big glass of lemonade when I get home. Today I will play a board game with the kids before they go to bed. Today I'll hear more gossip from around town, winding its way out of the bar Ian works at and into my life, briefly, before it vaporizes, unimportant, stupid, silly, irrelevant, because I'm not part of any "scene" or "clique".
Today is just another day, in the middle of summer, in the middle of my life, in the middle of it all. Today is today. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed, but it does hold some promise: If I let the kids go, a little at a time, it will make it easier for them to spread their wings and fly someday. If I help them figure that out, and allow them to have that freedom, they can always return to me, to the nest, to home. I am their mother, and that will never change.