Family Pain

Every weekend that the kids are over brings with it an up and a down. Up because we’re obviously thrilled to have them over… and Down because there’s usually some kind of triage required on them. Seriously, I can go way back in my journals and find (at this point) probably hundreds of examples – and this without having written about all of them!

This weekend, we had a usual/ typical situation to take care of; a cold. In this case, it was James who was so sick he stayed home on Friday. We told him over the phone what he needed to do even as he was calling to ask if we could take him to a clinic. For a cold? Non-bacterial? More likely to catch something worse in the waiting room! And after a 6 hour wait! We promised to take care of everything and we did. Seriously. A little TLC plus lots of vitamins, fruits, and liquids and he was all better.

As for Melyssa… well, here was a different/ slightly new situation. A small confrontation began to brew after lunch on Sunday over gifts from my parents, phone calls, and lies of omission. Having accepted long ago that I can’t get her to open up as I can’t ask the right questions, I let Chantale take over. After something like 3 hours of them talking, we had learned quite a lot. It all stemmed from one point that we hadn’t seen coming at all. Melyssa had been told (and obviously believed) that I had abandoned her (and James). At almost 11 years old, she barely has any memories of the last couple of years (so how could she of her early years?) but has been carrying around that feeling for a long time. Seeing how I am with Kyle and Charlize, she wishes she had memories of “us” at that age and feels anger towards them because they have me and she didn’t. Of course, compounding this problem has been how she’s had that message reinforced over the years through stories like “he loves Chantale more than you,” “he got a house that far away from you,” “he loves his dog more than you,” “he loves his new baby more than you,” “he has no time for you…”

My wife, bless her, is such a wonderful step mother that she didn’t bat an eye. She’s always been great with James and Melyssa looking out for their health and well-being and education. But, since Kyle came along and she became a mother in her own right, she’s gained a deeper understanding, caring, and compassion because she looks at their needs in a different way. Melyssa has no memories of the fights I had with her mother over the years. Of the struggles, of the anguish. As a baby at the time, how could she?

Chantale sat her down and opened up my Parenting page. Melyssa’s been there many times but mainly to look at photos. This time, Chantale pointed out the Journals. A whole new world opened up to Melyssa as she read about everything we went through and everything we had to do to get to where we are today.

That was precisely why I started keeping a journal. Because I knew the day would come when my kids would need it.

She might not have the memories, but at least she’ll have the stories. Now, this has given me the incentive to continue the “family” archiving I had started a few years ago. Taking family related LJ posts and archiving them on my site is a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Abandon my children? Never! I struck out from an extremely unhappy, unpleasant, and very toxic relationship because I knew there was a better life out there. I knew I deserved better and I wanted my kids to grow up in a loving environment surrounded by a loving family.

And that’s what I did.

9 years later I’m still finding pieces of rat poison under the floorboards of my children’s emotional structures, but with the help of the woman who made my life great, we’re slowly weeding them out.

As a great man once wrote, “All You Need is Love… Love is all you Need…” and such has always been the truth of life.

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