Well, no time like the present to start the new year off with a blast.
Last week, while hosting a sleepover for DD2, DD1 decided to sleep in the BOTTOM bunk, which was fine by everyone, since DD2 was in sleeping bags in the room next door with her pals. At 5:00am, we all awoke to a THUNK, and a MOMMMMMYYY!! DD1 had rolled out of bed (the irony is that her usual TOP bunk has a railing!). I put her back to bed and we snuggled up, but when she woke up again, she told me her shoulder hurt, and her arm was all dangly, so I took her straight to the pediatrician. Who ordered an x-ray. Who discovered a fracture in her collarbone. Then we were referred to an orthopedist who squeezed us in. Who set DD2 up in a sling. Between hollering because she was scared, hurt, and afraid, she would pause and ask each doctor, nurse, and x-ray technician for a lollipop or stickers. My brave little DD2! By the end of the visit, she had ten stickers stuck to her shirt and her sling, and two lollipops. Ha!
So long story short, DD2 is in a sling 24/7 for two weeks, then only at school for weeks 3 and 4. Big sister still got to do all of our planned activities—including learning to ride a two-wheeled bike with the most patient aunty in the universe ever (this is where mommy vs. aunty vibes were CLEARLY leaning towards aunty) and going ice skating with her pals. DD2 tagged along where she could and when she couldn’t, I just got to snuggle up and hang out with her for some one-on-one.
So how did the Exie take it? I informed him day of and he sent a few suspicious sounding questions in response; I’m in wait-and-see mode regarding further fall-out. At this point, I’m not too concerned, because I’ve addressed everything, given him all the doctor’s notes, informed the preschool, informed both the co-parenting counselor and play therapist. There’s nothing else I can do. If he’s a jerk, he’ll be a jerk.
As for hubby, he did not take any of this well. He had suffered many injuries as a child, and I guess it brought it all back for him, and normally, he is the calm in the eye of the storm. Something about seeing DD2 all broken up and crying just triggered major distress, coupled with end of year work stress, and he seriously checked out and became argumentative for four days, with one great big one that I can remember being incredibly distressing. (Great, I was at the end of my rope.) However, instead of letting this completely break me down, I just dug in and focused on taking care of the girls, because nothing I was saying was helping him (or me or the girls).
On New Year’s Eve, I prepped a turkey, then the girls and I went to a New Year’s Eve party including a campfire, so we could roast marshmallows and make s’mores. There were kids galore, including DD2’s bestie, and since DD1 had spent all week with her pals, I figured it was DD2’s turn. So despite DD2 being in a sling and despite the absent argumentative hubby, the girls and I managed to have an awesome new year’s eve, eating, playing, sitting by the campfire, watching the crackling embers, finding sticks to stab marshmallows with and hold them over the flames, enjoying the company, and then going home to rest. On New Year’s day, I made a turkey and stuffing and kind of repeated thanksgiving, and DD1 was so excited she ate two whole plates, DD2 not as excited, but I was so happy we were together enjoying our meal. I kept telling the girls that no matter what, my job was to take care of them and that’s what really matters.
As a result of the arguing, hubby decided to stay late at work on New Year’s Day. Whereupon he had an epiphany that he needed to reach out for support and he came straight home after I was in bed. In the soft light of dawn he apologized for not being there for us the day I took DD2 to the hospital and for issuing ultimatums and promised he would look into further resources and advice on stepparenting. And lots of other loving and kind statements that I will hold close to my heart.
So New Year’s Resolution time? I never make these, because I end up forgetting about them, isn’t that terrible?
I do know that every day, especially over the last three years, I’m trying to be more loving to myself and others, kind and patient. To not be afraid, to live my truth, to not let other people’s judgments get me down (this was definitely a challenge when all the divorce craziness was up in my face). Every day, I’m trying to let go of anxiety and stress that I can’t control, and live in happiness. To be vigilant and to be forgiving. To not let other people’s behavior affect me so deeply that I can’t concentrate on what’s important—peace and love and loving my girls. Hmm…I realize this is a tall order. <3>3>
p.s. if you have any advice on blending families, I’d really appreciate it. I think my hubby comes from a very kind and loving place, he wants to protect us and doesn’t want us to be hurt. But his alpha male senses keep telling him to ‘gain control’ and he gets frustrated because he wants “to win” and wants Exie “to pay.” He is having a hard time with the mantra of: The best way to “win” is to live a happy life. I know this to be true, how do you show that to someone else?