Sunday, November 30

back on track

well the relief is palpable. After far too long, 'The Conversation' was embarked upon. SIL had returned east, babybean was in bed, and the other 2 beans were happily embedded at friends houses for the night. Chilled wine opened (could have been a bad idea, but it wasnt) and we sat end to end on the couch and waded in to the depths of our fears, hurts, anger and expectations. As anticipated, it was a very fruitful and respectful evening; we both have quite strong opinions about how such conversations need to be managed, self hung on to and dialogue held very much in the present. It just took us a week of acceptance of our sadness, 'innocence lost' (it was only the second big dispute we have ever had) and reflection as individuals to get there. We are both taureans (stubborn as hell) both with the experience of our last big relationship being to Scorpios, so we have pretty much identical patterns of expectations about who is responsible for what when it comes to sorting out disagreement! Laughter did occour.

Being a blended family comes with challenges. In our case B2 is a strong willed extrovert and empathy is not very present in her emotional vocabulary. She likes to argue and argue her point when asked to do something not to her liking. It appears to be her tool for tying you up in knots in order to get you to drop the request. I've been dealing with her since birth (obviously) and am sometimes quite unaware of this behaviour, certainly as a parent who encourages debate and negotiation, perspective on what is healthy posturing can get skewed. So thats B2. Simon brings to the table a very conflicted relationship with his late step daughter, who fell off the rails then into a negative crowd and behaviours, ending with her very tragic death in her teens. B2s apparent similar behaviour traits pushes all his panic buttons and he goes into a tailspin which i am yet to be able to pick. So he gets spooked, reacts innapropriately, B2 gets worse, i get freaked and we all head down into a very murky place for a while, culminating in an argument between them; she gets beligerent, he regresses and then gets beligerent and i blow up at both of them. Pretty. Not.

So this morning i find myself in a place that is a little battered and worn but feeling loved, loving, supported, understood, understanding and a little wiser with a mutual resolve to do it a little better next time, and bloody looking forward to an uncomplicated and hopefully hot week with the boy in Hawaii and Christmas with his family in San Francisco.


Sarah said...

We need these sort of events once in the odd while. Though painful good for the soul. HOpe trip goes well. Looking forward to your return.

Veggie Gnome said...

Good to hear all is sorted again. :)

Enjoy your week in Hawaii. It's a fantastic place!

Kerrie said...

Oh Kel, my heart goes out to sounds as though you both conducted yourselves with respect and grace though, hope it helps with getting things back on track. It's great that you can laugh at yourselves too, it has to help.

I am struggling with a number of issues with John's 21 year old son...I am finding his apparent disregard and disrespect for our family very difficult to live with, moreso at present as everyone else has really stepped up while I am out of action, Matilda and Myles have been amazing, not once have they rolled their eyes or refused to help out with something I have needed them to do. Josh, on the other hand treats our home like a hotel, turns up for food, dumps his empty plates in the sink if the dishwasher is (apparently) full and barely communicates other than to ask what time dinner will be ready. I refused to cook for him on Friday evening after he yet again ignored a request from John to please clear up after dinner on Thursday night. He left it and I had to do it. Was not happy. He sits at our table and does not make conversation, unless it is about AFL but then he is always right and anyone else's opinion doesn't count. At least he doesn't stand up and reach for the food across us any more, he asks for things to be passed to him...that was downright unacceptable and had to be addressed.

I understand some of where he is coming from, it doesn't make it any easier to live with though. Josh has had only Josh to live with and consider for some time. He went to boarding school for three years and then lived pretty much alone (in student accommodation) for a year before we moved to Brisbane and he moved back in with us. He has, however, been living with us for almost two years and it's time he learned to pull his weight if he wants to stay.

I find myself having to hold back and sit on my hands at times, I understand John is in a difficult place being in the middle. He is now making noises about Josh having to find somewhere else to would certainly make life so much easier for the rest of us.

Oops, I have hijacked your post...didn't mean to make it all about me, was trying to let you know I understood where you are coming from.

Oh, and it's such a PITA when your articulate and assertive child argues her case until you forget what the original request was anyway. I have one of those too...have always encouraged her to think through issues and form opinions of her own, it can be such a bitch when used against you though. I have a theory that twelve and thirteen year olds are two and three year olds reinvented...they are dealing with similar issues...breaking away from parents and discovering their place in the world, with friends and family. The only difference is that they are so much bigger and can argue their case...makes it tough to pick them up and put them in time out...!!! Hmmm, not sure exactly how old B2 is but it seems to me you are going to have a toddler and a teen at the same time...hang in there mate.

Ok, off soapbox...time for a shower and an ice cream...!!!

Laura Jane said...

Ah I see.

Communication enlightens all.

Well done, and happy Hawaai-ing together. You've earned it.

Barbara said...

Glad it worked out. Have a
lovely trip and say hello to
San Francisco for me!

Kel said...

Sarah- yes, they are grounding and throw you back into whats important. Thanks and Merry Xmas!

Veggie- me too and looking forward to experenceing Hawaii.

Kerrie - always love your hijacking! and as a hijacker myself sometimes i know they are an expression of affirmation. a 21 yo male step child is a tough gig. For the sake of everyone else in your home its sounds like some limits need reinforcing- tough for you to do , its definitely Johns gig. Yikes. B2 is 10. flexing her muscles and lacking on the emotional IQ- its gonna be an uphill slog i think.

Laura Jane - yes it is a useful thing isnt it? LOL I feeld very deserved right now and loooking forward to playing for a while!

Barbara- thaks, me too. ANd i will be doing a job lot of hellos from the top of Mt Tam. so if thats ok iwth you...listen out on the 26th!

naturewitch said...

Hi Kel

Sometimes life's tough, but then it helps us appreciate the good times. Hope it's all sorted for you.

Btw, I'm Aries with a Taurus rising and my ex was a Scorpio! Not a good mix as it turned out. Also the blended family thing - we have that here too and it does present challenges - pity it's not all "Brady Bunch".

Take care of you. xx

Kel said...

thanks nature witch - yes, lifes not perfect, just most of the time ;-) its very all sorted, i find these moments always quite cathartic (after the event) lol. its ALWAYS a sign that we are not managing things as best as we could, and it forces us back into working out the next strategy and often back into more physical affection and dialogue with the kids.