Sunday, June 30, 2013


I agreed to watch the boys last night for MomC.  She had a bridal shower and then a concert to go to.

Much to my surprise, when she picked them up this morning, she brought us donuts.


Saturday, June 29, 2013


As happens every so often, Middle Son surprised me with a new capability today.

He had been watching a movie, and it came to the end.  He wanted to watch a different movie.  I had put the first movie into the XBox.  Middle doesn't know how to work the XBox.  So he switched the TV from XBox to DVD player, and put the movie he wanted into the DVD player.

I hadn't realized that he knew how to do that either.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meeting Someone Where They Are

My Beloved Fiance and her daughters had a major meltdown last night.  The proximate cause was missing towels.  We were looking for kitchen and bath towels, and there were none to be found.  Beloved went into Daughters' room.  As usual, it was a mess.  It looked like a bomb had gone off inside of a Gap store.  She immediately spotted several bath and kitchen towels.

We got a couple of trash bags, the big outdoor kind, and scooped up two bags of clothes, shoes, and other misc. items off the floor.  Then we waited for the Daughters to come home.  There was a giant uproar when they got back.  Yelling, cursing, and crying ensued.  Daughters were chastised for taking things and not returning them.  Daughters were chastised for the lamentable state of their room.

Younger Daughter took it fairly well.  Older Daughter did not.  There was a long exchange between Beloved and Older.  They were both upset, angry and hurt.  From what I saw, they were talking (and yelling) past each other, not to each other.  At one point, when Older was declaiming how her life has been turned upside down by her mother's choice to move her household in with my household, I inserted myself.  I told Older that I was sorry she's having to deal with all these things.  Change is hard.  Living with Middle Son is very hard.  It's not what she wanted, it's not fair, she doesn't deserve it, but she's stuck with it, and that sucks.

Eventually everyone ran out of steam.  The Daughters retreated to their room.  I sat with Beloved.  We talked.  There was something I wanted to say, but I couldn't quite figure how to say it.  I told her that.  I went off to take care of Middle Son for a few minutes.

When I came back, I knew how to say it.  I told her that one of the hardest things in life is meeting someone else where they are, rather than where you want them to be, or where you expect them to be, or even where you need them to be.  In that moment neither Beloved nor Older were able to meet the other where they were.

In that gap lies pain and suffering.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Who's Upset?

Oldest Son struggled mightily this year with homework.  Over the last three months we had multiple meetings at school.  We spent a lot managing the mechanics of homework.  Oldest managed to get all his grades up to passing, though not by much.  Due to the zeros from missing homework, his Spanish and algebra grades were still D's.  Oldest has an accommodation in his IEP for reduced homework.  This makes it all the more frustrating.  At one of the meetings I said that if Oldest can demonstrate his mastery of the subject, he should get a good grade regardless of how much homework is missing.  Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.

Oldest got an A on his cumulative Spanish final.  That suggests that he has mastered the material.  But his grade is still a D.  MomC called and told me that if Oldest has to retake Spanish and algebra "she's going to be really upset."  That seemed like a strange comment to me.  Thinking about it, I realized why it bothered me.  She is making her feelings the star of the show.

That seems misplaced to me.  The focus should be on A) ensuring that Oldest's grades reflect what he has learned, and B) helping Oldest deal with his feelings.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


I was looking at my credit card statement yesterday and felt some distress.  I'm a lot closer to my credit limit than I had realized, I haven't paid for camp for Oldest Son yet, and wedding expenses are on the horizon.  I was feeling pretty pinched.

Then I got a text from MomC today.  She wants to get an Orca card (high-tech bus pass) for Oldest Son.  You can't get a Youth card online because they have to verify age.

She asked me if I would print out an application for him. Because she's out of printer ink and can't afford any this week.

I'm not broke after all.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Family?

At last night's Family Meeting, Younger Daughter made multiple proposals for us to all do things together.  She talked about how nice it was last weekend when we all spent some time cleaning the house after breakfast on Saturday morning.  She suggested that we have a meal where every cooks something, and that we have everyone work on the garden together, and that we all go to the beach this weekend.

All of the ideas got shot down by someone.  I pointed out that not everyone is interested in cooking.  My Beloved Fiance pointed out that not everyone is interested in trying to get a garden going.  Oldest Son said he regards walking to the beach as something he does on his own and he would be uncomfortable going there with everyone.  Younger got kind of angry about that.

Beloved and I were discussing it later.  She told me that Younger really wants us to be a family and all do things together as a family.  She refers to me as her step-father (which I knew) and to my three boys as her brothers (which I didn't know about).

Later in the evening I was talking with Younger.  I told her I'd noticed that she really wants to do things together as a family.  And that I think she is a little ahead of the pack in thinking of us as a family.  Oldest Son and Older Daughter clearly don't think of us as a family.

Which is making things hard for Younger Daughter.

More Visitors

We had a Family Meeting yesterday, the second one we've had since the merger of households.  As expected, it had its ups and downs.  A lot of the things that came up were things that I expected.

One was a major surprise.

We were discussing tensions in the household and how various people cope with it.  Younger Daughter said that it really helps her to have friends come over.  I pointed out that that isn't helpful for everyone.

Then came the surprise.  Oldest Son said that having people over is hard for him.  Then he asked that if the girls are going to have friends over, they have them over a lot so that he can get used to it.  After a couple of seconds to recover my surprise, I told Oldest I was very impressed with his willingness to work on something that he finds difficult.  And I complimented his willingness to accommodate this step-sister's wants/needs.

Monday, June 17, 2013


When I went out to bring Middle in to get ready for bed.  I found Middle on one outside of the fence.  And Willow on the inside of the fence.  The leash was stretched tight over the fence.

Willow served her purpose as anchor, keeping Middle from wandering off.

As I brought him back in the house, I asked if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.  He didn't get the joke, but I was still amused.

Sweet Moment

Yesterday I was snuggling in bed with Middle Son and My Beloved Fiancee.  We've done this a few times recently.  Middle wraps himself in blankets and we lie on either side of him and tickle, hug, and squeeze him.  He likes to mush his face up against Beloved.  It's his version of a kiss.

We were doing this yesterday, and she started humming with her face mashed up against Middle's.  It was a sweet, beautiful moment.

I found myself with tears in my eyes.  I was hugely sad that in this beautiful moment I was not with the mother of my children.  Not that I actually want to be with my ex-wife, but when we married this is the kind of moment that I expected the two of us to have together over the years.

I remind myself to be grateful for the life that I have now.  I have a wonderful woman who loves me more than MomC ever did.  Who is capable of making deep, meaningful connections with Middle.  Who has the strength to carry the load alongside me.

And I'm still sad.

The Mouths of Babes

The boys were all at my house for a few hours yesterday for Fathers Day.  Mid-way through the visit, Youngest Son looked up and me and said "Daddy, I thought you and Mom were going to stay married forever."

I was more than a little surprised.  I told him "I thought so too.  But it turned out we didn't want to live the same way."  He asked my why.  I told him we just did.  He asked again.  I told him we just did, and that's all I can tell him right now.

Oldest has asked me many times.  I eventually told him that I hadn't wanted a divorce, that it was his mom who decided to do it.  Someday I will probably have the discussion with Youngest as well.  But not today.