Writing my blog has never been a secret, but it wasn't something that I felt I needed to broadcast five years ago to the THREE EX WIVES in my life. Nor did I want or need to get their permission. No, my Hubby didn't pick up another Ex Wife; my Ex Husband did which brings a total of THREE onto the scene.
JUST SAYING NO when it doesn't work for your schedule or your emotional health is absolutley neccesary when you're a Mom and/or a Step Mom in a blended family. If you're anything like me - you may be saying YES when inside you're screaming not only NO, BUT HELL NO!
It's a common habit for StepMom's of a blended family to do especially when you're the newbie on the block! You want to be liked, maybe even loved and you mistakenly think saying YES - being everyone's Go To Gal will you get you there, but it rarely does.
When my daughter Elle was born 18 years ago, I thought no one could take care of her the way I could including my own mother! My Mom was quick to point out that well - she raised me and I survived, as well as, my three brothers - if she could raise four kids she probably could muddle through watching my baby while I took a shower! Hard to argue with that logic!
Over time you get over yourself, you still think deep down YOUR way is the one and only way, but you're willing to let the little things slide when others care for your child for that well deserved break that you needed yesterday! Still the overbearing mother instinct comes roaring back in a hurry with the introduction of a Step Mom into your child's life - no matter what their age.
This month marks the 2nd anniversary of Little Hart's brush with death. We sat by her bedside watching the respirator take her every breath - wondering if she would ever tell another funny story that made us laugh uncontrollably, inform us she was not going to do this, that or the other (she's so damn stubborn!) or be able to say "I Love You Mom and Dad."
Little Hart and her BFF from the hospital
Greta, Raylan and I sat in a small ICU room for NINE days and nights - all unified in praying for a miracle. One arrived on day six when she the turned a corner. A lot of things in our Blended Family Life were forever changed after those nine days.
Jax arrived home for Christmas Break 11 days ago. So far, Jax has been strong and confident about where and how he is going to spend his time. A 360 degree turn from the Thanksgiving Break. Long story short, Jax tried to please everyone, but himself. Doing the bulk of what others wanted and very little of what he wanted. He was frazzled and anxious by the time Sunday rolled around.
On Thanksgiving Sunday, Jax arrived at our house - twenty minutes before he had to leave for the airport. He took a quick shower - finished packing - leaving just a handful of minutes. Jax spent them sharing the latest sports news with Raylan. As Jax left he looked at Raylan "Dad, I can't wait to watch a football game with you in the same room!" The door closed and he was gone.
Jax determining HIS own schedule was bound to come with some growing pains.
It was my scheduled day to pick Little Hart up from school as it has been for years. I typically leave at 2:15 to make the 30 minute drive. Just before leaving I uploaded my post to Facebook when I noticed Little Hart's status posted two hours earlier: Can't wait to see my brother in 30 minutes! Um interesting, since Jax, home for less than 24 hours - left over two hours earlier to meet Greta for lunch. No communication from anyone the lunch involved Little Hart.
I shared the status post with my Hubby, asking his guidance - he responded;" hold tight, Greta must of forgot to share with us the schedule change." At 2:35 Greta called - she had taken Little Hart out of school to have lunch with her and Jax - he would bring her home. No need for me to pick Little Hart up.
I quickly got off the phone - looked at Raylan - I guess I should feel lucky she even called.
It's Monday morning.......I woke up late - it's FREEZING - drinking a cup of hot black tea. It snowed Saturday - we weren't ready for it as is evident by all of the leaves that have yet to fall.
The snow weighs heavy on the tree branches as they struggle with the season change and I find myself identifying with the trees. I've been experiencing a lot of changes - a child leaving the nest for college - another one soon to follow - Little Hart my 14 year old spending more time in her other household.
For a month now, my Monday mornings have been filled with leisure. I should be excited and thankful from my reprieve from the typical morning activities of making breakfast and driving Little Hart to school thirty minutes away - instead I find myself feeling down. It's probably the entirety of all the changes, but nevertheless I do feel down.
Happy Halloween! If your blended family is anything like ours you've probably wondered why Halloween can end up being more emotionally charged than any other holiday. I've come to the conclusion that it has more to do with kids growing up than the actual holiday.
Kids grow up so fast and there's a very tiny window that they love to dress up and you get to be apart of the process as a parent - split that time in half - it's a handful of years.
There were no tears shed when we dropped Jax off three weeks ago - only a blanket of sadness as we left town without him. In the back of everyone's mind we had Labor Day.
Jax and Elle the early years
It was like a lot of other goodbyes over the years. He was simply on vacation with his other family for a few weeks - not living in another state. It clearly had not sunk in.
Long before Jax had left, he planned to fly home for the Labor Day weekend to spend with our extended family. It was a tradition started by my parents long before Raylan and I created our Family of Five. When we introduced Jax to the tradition he had an immediate connection with the tradition and the family dynamics.
Jax's first day of dorm life was a lot like his first day of preschool. The door to his room had two paper basketball jerseys taped to the door - one with Jax's name and the other - Drew - his roommate. Ahh! So cute! We all had the same butterflies, emotions about leaving our baby for the first time only this time around we wouldn't be picking him up in four hours - it would be four years!
All five of us followed him into his dorm room, his roommate had yet to arrive. We filled up the entire room. All of his stuff is neatly stacked thanks to the awesome guys that unloaded our car and delivered it to his room. We quickly make a list of things we still need to purchase. We all offer one by one to make his bed, put clothes away - Jax refuses any help. Wants to do it himself! A shock to Greta and me since he's never done either in 18 years. Just sayin!
When I shared with my Hubby the "that should be interesting" comment he shot back "I hope it's interesting in a positive way!" There's a positive and a negative interesting? Didn't know.
It wasn't an uncomfortable, akward silence nor was it a relaxed atmosphere either. We had a rhythm as our Team/Family of Five and Jax, Little Hart and Greta had their Family/Team rhythm. Jax and Little Hart were caught in between - am I this kid or that kid. It would take a few for all of us to adjust to the different makeup and find a new one - all it's own for this temporary scenario.
Things started to loosen up with the commencement of the the Hartman Family Game aka the Yellow Car Game. Everyone except me was playing including Greta. I stopped playing years ago to referee who belt out the Ye first. It's a game my Hubby says "we're always playing!" Don't enter vehicle unless you can handle the pressure. Raylan happens to be just a tad bit competitive or is that Jax or maybe it's Little Hart? Gee I wonder where they get that from????
A few hours in something interesting happened! We had stopped for lunch and to fill up our gas guzzler - Raylan and I had rented a Yukon XL to transport all of us and our baggage for the trip. It was a big mother. Eventually, we were back on the road maybe 5 minutes, when the car swayed just ever so slightly. The girls yelled out a loud, sharp "Dad!!" It's not uncommon thing for Raylan to mess around.
Raylan: I'm seriously not doing anything!
Girls(indignant): Sure Dad.
Raylan: Um --- we have a tire problem
Ten seconds later our right rear tire completely blew apart - we were driving on the hub cap. Scary!
Last week I went on a road trip with on one of my Hubby's ex wives. Yes, you heard me right a road trip with Greta - Ex Wife #2.
You're probably thinking the same thing my friends did when I shared my upcoming plans - O - M - G! What are you thinking?
Um - it isn't a girls getaway - rather a trip designed to squeeze every last second in with Jax before we drop him off at College. OHHH - that should be interesting!
It was always a given that both Greta and I were going on this trip!
Raylan and I have been a parental team when it comes to raising our blended family - physically, emotionally and financially for the past twelve years. Even now with Jax entering College our partnership continues. Raylan and I are working together to provide financial support for Jax's education, as well as, support him emotionally through all the changes coming his way and is willing to share. Hopefully a lot! Probably wishful thinking on our part!
On the other side of the coin is Greta - his mother. She's never missed a big moment in Jax's life.This moment was no exception. Sal's participation in the road trip was never discussed as a possibility. Greta was the parent who handled the majority of parenting of Jax in her home.