I spent the last year trying to balance being both a step-mom and a stage manager, having a family and having a theatre group to be a part of… well, that group decided to fold, so I no longer require that balance. And I find myself dreading not having an outlet, not having my own thing, not really making my own friends… the theatre holds the key to my identity, my self-image, in many ways my self-esteem, my passion, my circle of friends… I feel sad. At times I felt like a bad parent for putting all of that first. At times I felt like it made me a better parent because I felt better about myself, more like myself. It is the thing that makes me who I am. And I also feel sad that being their step-mom doesn’t make me who I am. It’s shaped me in ways I don’t think I’ll ever fully realize or understand… but the theatre… the theatre is a part of me as much as I am a part of it. I’ll find a new place to land. Until then, I will take a well-earned break and hope for good things.
A bit of a personal post instead of being about the kids… a good friend of mine ended up in a similar situation to where I am – her boyfriend has kids and some ex baggage but, instead of more kids being the issue, it is buying a house together (instead of her paying him rent) and getting married that was tearing them apart. She was ready to walk away and he was ready to let her. And my heart broke for her because I understand the feeling of having to be able to fight for the things you need in this world and I admired her courage for being willing to sacrifice everything to get there. I was also grateful that Curtis is willing to admit to and to try and work on his issues. And then a funny thing happened, faced with the thought of losing her… he changed his mind and they are going to look for a house to buy together and build their life together. Just like that… and I thought to myself… Yes, Curtis is trying to work on things (for which I am eternally grateful), but when I was ready to walk away and he was ready to let me… Losing me wasn’t enough to change his mind. And, on the other hand, she also gives me hope that my happy ending isn’t totally lost. It could still happen for me, too. He is working on his ex baggage. Sometimes the good ones will step up and make the right choice.
Well, the kids have gone to their mom’s for the rest of the break. It’s funny, we had them for 8 days and it definitely feels too short, like we wasted it somehow. I know I didn’t appreciate it and the house feels empty now that they’re gone. And it was stressful at times, Curtis and I didn’t have any real time together at all and our relationship is hurting because of that. We need to find better balance for ourselves. All I hope is that the kids had fun. And even that they have fun on whatever expensive adventure their mom is taking them on. It’s not a competition. We had a fun week of hockey, a birthday party, baking, crafts, experiments, swimming, skating, and play dates. It was a little stressful that we both had to take time off because my mother-in-law hurt her back, but better in the long run because the kids had some real, fun, quality time with Curtis. And that’s worth everything. We rolled with everything, including a flat tire, where Taitum and I made funny faces and listened to music.
After the kids left, we went to see the lawyer. We found out we have very little legal recourse to make her take them to their sports and that the amount Curtis has to pay her will end up increasing significantly when she goes on mat leave (with the baby she’s having with the man she left him for… life is cruel). I think Curtis left discouraged by the meeting. It is what I expected. This ongoing battle will continue. We have 5 days to think about it before the kids come home and hopefully we’ll find some clarity on how to move forward.
I haven’t posted much lately. I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy when being a step-mom is such a great thing. Things with his ex are increasingly difficult and I don’t want this to be a daily rant on how I think his ex is a horrible person. That’s as unproductive as it is boring to read.
I had an interesting weekend, which, unfortunately, ended with me losing my patience with the kids. Our hockey weekend was pretty normal, 4 games and 2 practices. Taitum didn’t end up playing hockey because he was still sick. That was a tough choice because he REEEEEEALLLLLYY wanted to play. Curtis eventually had to tell him he got the week off because of his tournament because he was determined to play. (So much for the theory that they don’t like hockey). We all went to watch Nolan’s early-morning game and the ex’s sister was at the arena. She started talking to Reegan and said that her son was supposed to play Nolan’s team last week but Nolan wasn’t there. Reegan looked at her and said, ‘oh yeah, because we were with our mom’. This is her sister. I couldn’t hide the look on my face, so I’m glad she didn’t look at me. I wonder what she thought of that. We signed the kids up for summer sports and for hockey next year and I toed the company line. I never lied, but I expressed that we hope they’ll be able to play more than half the time and I also hope they’ll get the opportunity to play travel (which will be limited if they can’t make it every other week). I hope at least one person sees the truth of what is going on. And I hope that we can make it work so the kids can go.
Sunday Curtis was sick with the same illness that took down the kids. Really sick. Couldn’t get out of bed sick. I just want to express my appreciation for single parents, and for how well Curtis handled everything when I was out entire days for the show. I took all 3 kids to Reegan’s practice to give Curtis some peace and quiet. Now, I think I caused some of my own problems by telling them they could have a treat at the arena, but it got them in the car and us to the arena early. We were the first ones ready to go out on the ice and they were mostly pretty good while we were there. It all went downhill when Nolan bought chips and they had sharing issues. Then we went to get gravol for Curtis and they all wanted junk. When we got home, they all jumped out of the car, leaving all the hockey gear and such in the car, and it was the last straw, I lost my patience with them. I think it all ended up ok. I didn’t lose my mind on them or anything, but Curtis (in his sick state) was a little like ‘whoa… what just happened here’. He even managed to drag his sick butt upstairs and take the reins during bath time when they all climbed in the bathtub and it ended in tears. I appreciated his firm hand there.
You know… I got it all done. Laundry, dinner, lunches, hockey practice. I was completely wiped, but I got it all done. I realized, though, that I take for granted how hands-on Curtis is and how much he is able to handle on his own. Nothing but respect for all those single parents out there. I’ve glibly said that I would be able to do it, and I probably would if I had to, but I don’t know that I would fare so well with 3 kids as a single parent. I’m still exhausted today. It was an eye-opening weekend. I’m very grateful that Curtis is such a great, hands-on dad… and I will learn not to take single-parenting so lightly.