Friday, June 04, 2010

Visiting Dad

Lately, I've had lots of opinions tossed at me over this one. The kids, especially DD, doesn't want to sleep over at dad's place. A lawyer friend, who does mostly family law and is remarried himself, says that NO kids like to stay over at dad's. There are several reasons for this -- dad doesn't spend as much time or effort making the place feel like home, the kids aren't ready to admit this split is a real, or long term thing, or dad has a new woman and they feel out of place. He says regardless of the reason, you need to force them to go.

Another friend whose h left four years ago refuses to force her son, although it's not really an issue for her since the h lives clear across the country.

Another friend, a single mom who made the decision to leave her h about 6 years ago, tells her children they must go to dad's and that's all there is to it. She needs the time to herself (she doesn't have a boyfriend, she just needs some alone time).

Then I asked my cousin's son, who is 19, and whose parents split 3 years ago. It was the dad's decision (given the stats, I'm assuming his dad was entangled, because 99.9% of the time men leave only when they have a soft spot to land). This really sweet and mature kid told me that 1) friends are essential, not for having someone to talk about "IT" but just to have around and thus take your mind off "IT" b) don't try to force the kids to spill their guts, because it can get too heavy, and c) don't force them to go anywhere they dont want to or aren't ready to yet. He said he was very angry with his dad for about a year, and then realized at the end of the day, this was his dad, and he loved him. But he also tells me he is very close to his mom. (Which means, moms don't worry that you're losing your children because they want to have a R with dad.)

So, on the sage counsel of my 19 year old second cousin, or first cousin once removed, I am not going to push my kids to sleep over at dad's unless they want to.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Faith in the Time of Choleric Spirits

The past little while I've felt very unsettled -- at times extremely happy and peaceful without the sword of Damocles over my head, and at others feeling afraid and very vulnerable. Meanwhile, the world around me spins, not just on its axis as its meant to, but as in out of control spinning. The children's marks are dropping a little, they're staying up too late, watching too much TV or on the computer too long, not reading enough, not exercising enough. The ex is looking fat and satisfied with his lot, but there's also an edge to him now that wasn't there before, an aggressive edge even, and he's never been like that. I won't speculate on where it's emerging from, but I can guess. One sister is on the brink of being on the street, the niece is more or less on the street, and I become increasingly aware of the "demons" -- however one wants to define them -- whirling about like dervishes.

Today I read in Matthew 15, the Canaanite woman who approached Jesus fearlessly to have him heal her daughter of demon possession. The woman's confidence and faith won out. After this, the crowds press on Jesus, and he heals the blind, the lame, the dumb, the maimed. After three days of this, he feels compassion for the people who stayed out of faith to be healed, and knowing they were hungry asked for food, blessed it, broke it, and distributed it.

But then Jesus goes to be alone with the Father. He is the centre of this whirling sea of illness, helplessness, demonic possession and so on. He can withstand this only because of the stolen moments of peace and grace that come with time alone with God.

Today's CQOD from Thomas Merton seemed very apt:

When the time comes to enter the darkness in which we are naked and helpless and alone; in which we see the insufficiency of our greatest strength and the hollowness of our strongest virtues; in which we have nothing of our own to rely on, and nothing in our nature to support us, and nothing in the world to guide us or give us fight--then we find out whether or not we live by faith. ... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Seeds of Contemplation

And as Christ said, come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will refresh you. (Matt 11:28)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I Do... Not

I've given some thought to the whole idea of remarriage, and have decided that it's not for me. Of course, that might be easy at the moment, given there's nobody banging my door down. But since my ex is entangled, and most likely will be for some time to come, and possibly for good, if I were to get likewise entangled, then my kids wouldn't have any place where there wouldn't be an intruder. No matter how nice a step parent is, from what I've read, the kids always feel like either the step is an intruder in some way, or that they are the intruders in someone else's home. It bears out the saying, the home is where the heart is, and since kids ALWAYS want their parents together, and that's what is in their hearts, the only real home, until they make one of their own with a special someone, is where the parents are.

It's just not something I'd want to subject my children to, at least not as long as they're living under this roof.

Of course there's also a selfish reason -- I'm quite happy this way, having my children around. AND I can do whatever I please and not worry that someone else finds me wanting.