It’s Family First and Family Last and Family By-and-By

It’s been an eventful few weeks in our house, being topped off this weekend with Curtis’ dad getting the call for his kidney transplant. It was already a crazy, crazy weekend. Another two hockey tournaments (one B winner and one A runner-up) and a practice, the fireman’s breakfast, two hockey parties, laundry, taking the ice rink down, taking the Christmas light down, grocery shopping, plus we brought our dog to his new home (all on top of Curtis being on call). When we got the call, we finished Nolan’s hockey game and arranged for the kids to stay at the neighbour’s house for a sleepover, got coverage for Curtis’ on-call shift, and off to the hospital we went. His sister came the next day to stay the night. I’m happy to say that the surgery went well, and Gary is recovering very well. We made cards for him to put up in his room and brought the kids to see him last night (with a stop at the movies after to see the movie that Reegan wanted to see this weekend). Actually, we got it all done except taking the kids to see Curtis play hockey on Sunday morning. It amazes me how much we can accomplish together. I always get the impression that they don’t have the crazy runaround life with their mom and I sometimes wonder which they prefer. I never ask, but I wonder. Do they like all the stuff we do?

Normally, that much family stuff stresses me out. I’ve been super snappy about Easter with my mom because it’s so hard for me to deal with. And my mom is really hard for me to deal with. And I have to admit I had my (internal) catty moments, but fewer than I expected. I have a lot of my own stuff going on now , but we really managed to pull together. That’s the thing about family, you come together when things get rough. I may have warped feelings on family sometimes, but that’s what you do. What’s funny to me is how his family keeps thanking me… I don’t need a thank you, that’s just what you do. Gary is family so there was no question where’d we be. It’s one of those things that makes you see how they really don’t see me as family.

The highlight of my weekend was my bonding time with Reegan. I wouldn’t say he’s my favourite, but we have our own special relationship. It causes me problems when we go grocery shopping because I always buy too much because of him, but it means a lot to me. Worth the sunglasses he talked us into. lol. He even came home in the car with me last night after the movie. These little moments are the things that makes everything worth it. He chose to come with me. All the stuff with their mom (and with her mom this weekend, apparently it’s genetic), all the craziness… it’s all worth it, when Reegan asks me to read to him.

No kids tonight… off to the gym. Gotta find a way to keep up with them somehow 😉

A New Perspective

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.

About This Weekend

It was an interesting weekend, full of ups and downs. First, it was my first show weekend as a step-parent and I’m not sure I nailed it. I stayed out late on Friday night with the director, Tina, and then I missed Nolan’s game in the morning. And he asked why I wasn’t there. Parent fail. I feel pretty crummy about it. Curtis was clearly upset with me, and so he should have been. I didn’t go because I was exhausted, and that was my own fault. I’ve never tried to balance both before, my show weekends have always been about me, about the show, and I need to do better. The show itself was excellent. The kids came on Saturday night and, for the most part, really liked it. Taitum fell asleep, but Nolan and Reegan liked it. I took Reegan up to the booth after and let Nolan and Reegan go on stage to check things out, which they seemed to enjoy. His sister and her husband were also down for the weekend and enjoyed it. And it was great because I was out for most of the weekend so I couldn’t get stressed by having houseguests. Cathy told me this morning that the kids talk about me “all of the time” to their mom. I guess they told Cathy that they told Kim they were going to see my show and her response was ‘don’t talk about her’. That was interesting for me. Kind of threw me off, really. I know they talk about her a little, but I didn’t really think about them talking about me. Or that she would say that. Or maybe that sounds exactly right.

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Nolan and Reegan sword-fighting backstage

I do think having kids and learning to change my approach has made me a better SM. I only had one person tell me that I was mean, and more may have thought it, but mostly I got really nice compliments. And I have the kids to thank for that.

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Me in the booth

After the craziness of the show weekend, we also had a house full of people for the superbowl party, lots of food, lots of kids running around. I think everyone had a good time. It looked like the kids did, which is the only thing we want. I’ve definitely lost them for good as Steelers fans as Curtis’ Patriots won again. That’s all I will say about that, lol. Yuck. An interesting conversation came up at the party, we invited neighbours we don’t know that well, who also know Kim’s sister. She asked specifically about how we handle the kids not being there, do we go to all their games, or whatnot? I answered her honestly, without saying anything bad about Kim, that Kim doesn’t take them so they only play half the time. She said if it was her, she would be showing up at her ex’s house demanding that they would go, I said that Kim would call the cops if we did that. (True story, she’s threatened before). I also told her that Curtis went to court for that and got nowhere. All of those felt like calculated questions, although not presented like that at all so maybe I’m wrong. It’ll be interesting to see what the small town gossip train makes of that if she did ask on purpose.

Speaking of Kim, the lock broke on our front door (while Curtis was on call, I was at the show, and we had a house full of people… eep!). Our neighbour picked up a new one for us and it’s one of those key code locks. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I feel like that’s an invitation for Kim to get in my house. I’m sure she can get the kids to tell her the code and I worry about that… a lot. I’m not sure if it’s some kind of anxious paranoia, or if she’s really capable of that. Our dog is the worst guard dog ever and would love to let her in to our house. If we ever go away, I wonder if we could change the code… the whole thing makes me uncomfortable. But… it will be better for the kids, so here we go…

The new lock led to a conversation about money, of course. We’re struggling right now and Curtis wants to move to a smaller house. In theory, I support that, but I can’t move until everything is settled about us and where we’re going. I need to know we’re on the same page about kids and marriage (because now, apparently, he doesn’t think we need to get married), and that we’re moving towards that. I can’t move, only to move again and break up the family. I think I’ll have an answer soon, although not as soon as I would like. It was a good conversation, and I think will give him some motivation to make a decision – once his therapist comes back from her month off. I went in thinking I was in the same place, but I feel a tiny glimmer like maybe things are a little better. He asked me if he had said “No” to kids, to which I replied, “Yes”. So he clarified that he had not said no since he started therapy and that maybe I wasn’t in exactly the same place as before.

The money thing is a problem. I have a bonus coming and there are a million things I could spend it on and I really want to go to NYC with my friends. I should spend it all on debt payment, but I want to get away, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to go with my friends in case this doesn’t work out and I end up even angrier at him for missing out on things. I know I hurt his feelings when I said that because he wanted us to go away together, so I feel like a giant jerk for that, and now he won’t take any of the money for bills because it’s “my money”. I’m exhausted today. It was a long weekend.

In the words of the great Gomez Addams, let’s be happy, completely happy, and a tiny bit sad.

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The Addams Family Cast

Happy Anniversary?

Our anniversary came and went with no fanfare. We didn’t even acknowledge it until tonight during an argument where I pointed it out (not in angry way, just in a ‘I thought that’s what that good thing was about’ way). At one time I had visions of us reliving our first date every year to celebrate. But we said nothing. And I’m mostly disappointed by how ok with that I am. I don’t know if it’s because of the uncertainty of it all, or because it was just so damn busy. I think it’s the former. It’s hard to celebrate living in limbo for so long.
I spent our anniversary taking Taitum to his hockey tournament and watching him get his first goal. And then rushing to watch Reegan win his tournament. And feeling like a parent. And totally not when I couldn’t fill out the waiver for the kids for Skyzone or when I don’t know anyone because I’ve only been around for 2 years. The former turned out to be moot because we did not plan ahead. And we yipped and sniped at each other because that seems to me what we do right now. I see all these pics come up on my frame at work and I never feel as happy as I look there. We fought about his creepo uncle, and about how to handle Reegan’s birthday, as we dropped the kids off after midnight, and about who was going grocery shopping. While I had a great day with the kids. It was not a happy anniversary, not for me. 



The funny thing is, he had no idea I felt that way. He thought everything was ok. He thought it was simply a great weekend. And it was, for us as a family, but I thought he was angry/frustrated/disappointed with me all weekend. I felt like we were constantly arguing. And somehow that’s my fault for not understanding the frustration he was showing when talking to me was not about me. When I brought it up, then I got the real argument. After such a crazy, great weekend with the boys, it had a really crappy end. 

I really do feel lucky that he is (mostly) so supportive of what I do. He was pulled in a million directions today and there wasn’t much I could do except help with groceries, which I did (without complaint, for once) And we yipped about what time was good for his sister to call and why I need him to focus on a grocery list. He wasn’t happy that I wouldn’t be home for Reegan’s cake, but he understood. I am exhausted. We woke up one kid with our (quiet) discussion. He said he was surprised and happy that I never felt overwhelmed by it all, and while that it’s not entirely true, it was mostly true. I just did what had to be done. So maybe I’ll take that as the win for the weekend.