Ok maybe that's an extreme solution, or really no solution at all but that is what I'm contemplating doing right now. For those of you who have been following this blog for a while you know that my children are not perfect, you know that my parenting is not perfect, you know that my husband is almost perfect, and that my dog is FAR from perfect. But there is something you don't know, I have a person in my life who thinks my children are perfect... Or she did.
About six years ago my parents moved nine hours away and took my sisters with them. About a year later we became pregnant with our first child and where in the midst of finding a new job. We found a new job and church family and house in the nick of time; before the boxes were even unpacked we found ourselves in the hospital (for way too long) holding our first son while realizing not only did we have no clue how to be parents we had no family living close enough to help us through. Now as it almost always happens God brought people into our lives to fill that void and to support us in our new journey. In this case there were many many people but one wonderful woman in particular who fell in love with our tiny little boy (she will from here on be referred to as Adopted Grandma). She not only loved him she also loved watching him (for free) and keeping him at her home over night. Let me repeat myself OVERNIGHT!!! For those of you with parents near by and those of you who don't have children you may not understand the magnitude of this overnight thing. You see no matter how much you love your kids there are time when you must get away from them. Sometimes a simple dinner date with your husband does the trick but if you ever get an entire night to yourself you become a completely rejuvenated person. You get to stay out late, go to the movies... play parcheesi with your husband... sleep all night with out waking up, and sleep in late. You can linger over coffee or go out for breakfast the next morning.
To put it simply it is glorious. Our angel and sanity keeper not only fell in love with our oldest child she fell in love with our second child as well. I have prayed so many prayers of thanksgiving for this person. A strange thing about this relationship is that she has believed for all these years that my children are perfect. (Score one for my vanity) In all my years of parenting during the times I am watching my children turn from angels to green slime spewing monsters I chant to myself while hiding in my bedroom, "At least their good for A. Grandma, at least their good for A. Grandma." I have so far lived my life thinking that some how something I am doing is sinking in because their both so good for our sent from heaven adopted Grandma.
Until this weekend. Cue the dramatic music. About twice a year two of my oldest and dearest friends and I get together for the weekend. Trying to coordinate three schedules is difficult so when this weekend became the only weekend that would work I said yes even though Brian had to work an all-nighter because our A. Grandma said she would watch the kids. This was the first time she had both kids all night at the same time. I went to Grand Rapids, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and then I came home. When my husband mentioned that things may have not gone so well I got a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. Later that evening I called our A. Grandma and, yes, things had not gone well. They had spiraled quickly out of control with my oldest feeling strong feelings of jealousy at having to share time with his younger brother. Now did A. Grandma lay the smack down on my bratty son? Oh no she blamed herself and worried over it all weekend. Not only did Hunter's jealousy show itself he was also stubborn and mean towards A. Grandma (NOOOOOO).
I want our A. Grandma to know it was NOT her. This was a big week for Hunter full of change. He started school, our schedule changed, Maddie is here less. With everything we've really gotten lacks about making him tow the line. It's been a lot and I was stupid to think that going out of town after all of this would work (to be honest I didn't really connect the two things happening at once which is how I live most of my life) I should have stayed home and had a quiet weekend getting Hunter back on task. A. Grandma you should know that half an hour ago my son was laying in his bread screaming his head off. I had to lift him screaming and kicking into bed, in a ten minute span of time he not only lost his story time privilege he has been grounded from video games and spent four minutes on the time out blanket plus our final disciplinary actions.
So what do I do? Sigh, resign myself to the fact that there may be no more free nights? Crawl to her on my knees with my repentant son in toe, or trade him in for a nicer model (just kidding)? I suppose we all have bad days and I suppose my smug at-least-my-kids-are-good-for-others-unlike-some attitude needed to be shattered but how I long for those good ol' days, how I wish I could rewind the clock. But alas such is life.
There was a time when Hunter was excited about his new baby brother.