Friday, June 12, 2009

A raw celebration.

This little boy is graduating today.

**pretend there is a photo here of a little 5 year old boy and me. I'm hugging him in a booth at Coco's and he's got a big smile on his face. (my scanner isn't recovering from me bashing it with a baseball bat out of frustration working.)**

This little boy suddenly went from the cute little freckle-faced blue-eyed boy whom I met at 4 years old, to a 6 foot tall (plus?) young man with a deep voice. It's weird to think I knew him for all that time in between, because it certainly feels like all I did was blink.

This milestone has left me a million times more emotional than I imagined. After all, we just watched his older brother graduate 2 years ago.

But this time it's just... different. Truly bittersweet, and it's left me in tears for a good part of the morning. (Okay, maybe more bitter than sweet.) I guess after the rough couple of years we've had with Jack (you know, as in Cracker) I had hoped that things would be different by now. In fact, it was only last summer that we finally saw him after a long 9-10 month hiatus. I thought maybe things had changed.

And things haven't been bad, they've just been on his terms. Maybe that's been our mistake. But after playing by our rules for years and making him come over when he didn't want to, we saw that our relationship was only becoming more strained and the arrangements weren't benefitting anyone. We wouldn't give him a choice but to come over on our weekends; he would consequently be in a cruddy mood the whole visit. This brought stress on the entire house, I was in a bad mood, and then Mike & Ike got to the point where they weren't even happy when he was over because he wasn't nice to them.

So after a gigantic stream of problems and much prayer, we decided that we would rather see him once in a while on good terms, than every other weekend on sucky ones. And besides, we understood that he is a teenager and wants time with his friends on the weekends. We are a household with two young children that aren't always quiet and want to spend every waking minute with their brothers- it's quite different from their mom's house and was probably overwhelming. Problem was, when you put the ball in the hands of the self-absorbed teenager, you get burned because one way or another, you find out where you rank. We found that we rank somewhere below long-lost distant relative and the dentist. Maybe further down.

So, we now have not seen Cracker Jack for close to 6 months, and we rarely talk to him. Mike & Ike haven't spoken to him at all in that time. And it's not just him. When you factor in a TON of drama that came from the hands of his older brother (I won't make up a nickname because frankly, it wouldn't be nice) last summer, we are raw. But one thing I can say- at least we talk to Cracker Jack once in a while. We almost never talk to his brother (19, in college a whole whopping state away) and haven't seen him since November, when he came home over for Big Hunk's 40th birthday- the first time we had seen him in 5 months.

I have a REALLY hard time understanding the self-centeredness of this age. I assume I was probably the same (or not, because my parents wouldn't put up with it) and Big Hunk swears he was, but it just blows me away. And it hurts so bad! Really, I can't blame it all on the age. 17 or not, we are still his parents and are truly truly NOT treated as such. That's why when I texted Jack asking him to pick us up 4 tickets to his graduation tonight from the school office, I was told he was "too busy" and I would need to do it. We would need to drive 40 minutes to his high school to pick up something from the very same location at which he was.

After reading what I've written it sure sounds like we are letting ourselves get walked on and have given Jack all the control. I assure you it is not that way. We have simply distanced ourselves and left the door open. He knows we love him and that we want to see him, but we are not going to pound down his door anymore.

The saddest part is how all of this affects Mikey. Ike really doesn't care much because this is pretty much how it's always been for her. She doesn't remember much of the times when he came over consistently and was part of our family. Besides, she's always been so much younger than him that even when he played with Mikey, she wasn't included much. But Mikey takes it hard. He's come to terms with never seeing them because it's so typical now (though not welcome), but he still has questions. Quite honestly, he has a lot of hurt over it all. He asks once in a while why his brothers never want to see us and why they never call, and I really think once he's older he'll be happy to give them a piece of his mind. ;) I can't say I blame him, nor will I really discourage it either- he's gotten the shaft where his brothers are concerned and I think they need to hear it from him. Not to mention, they need to be held accountable for the choices they've made where their brother and sister are concerned. (As a sidebar because I don't want someone to take what I'm saying wrong- he will of course need to be respectful with it all, but I really think it's important that he tell them how he's felt all this time- when the time is right.)

This morning I was telling Mike not to expect to actually see Jack at the graduation. We'll of course see him from a distance, but not to expect to talk to him afterwards. (I really don't even think Jack cares if we go- or even knows for sure that we are, being he left the tickets up to us and never confirmed that we got them. I do not, however, share these feelings with the kids.) (I like parentheses.) Mikey asked me again why he never gets to see them, and said several times today that it seems like his brother just doesn't care if we even go. *insert tears* But this is where I am so proud of my boy. He really gets such an understanding that surpasses even my teeny tiny brain sometimes-- something totally God-given. He said "If I had different brothers we could have taught them about God and it wouldn't be like this."

Well, we have taught his brothers about Jesus. But, I guess when you're raised around atheists and they tell you how worthless your father is and tries to push him out of your life, this is what you get. I am just proud that Mikey sees how God in their lives could will make a difference. Some day. And so we pray for that day, because the torment of the whatifs just hurt too darn bad.


  1. You know, it's so hard when both biological parents are not on the same page. It's so hard already for the kids to split their time between families, but then to have their "mother" bad mouth Big seems it wouldn't have mattered much at that point what you did because they had already made their choice.

    But when you do grow up with a "mother" like that, doesn't it seem easier to play the victim? Here she is mad at them that they have any sort of relationship with Big Hunk and is probably giving them all kinds of grief about visiting so for them to just say "My dad doesn't want to be involved with us" (which I know is NOT true), it's easier than standing up to their mom and saying "Hey! I WANT to spend time with my dad", kwim?

    I hope that one day Jack (and his brother for that matter) can make their way back to your family and realize all they've missed out on all this time. Maybe when they start acting like adults and actually have a family of their own, they'll finally get it. {{{HUGS}}} to you. I'm sure it's very difficult for both you and B.H.

  2. I enjoyed reading your blog....I am new to the blog world and loving it.

    Hope you will stop by and read about out latest Disney trip.

  3. That's what I'm hoping for Jess. I think *most* (though not all) kids eventually, as they grow up, realize that they were maybe less than perfect sons/daughters and see how much their parents did for them. I pray that that happens with the boys, because honestly it has been so painful to know what an amazing dad BH is to them, but see him trampled on.

    As far as the kids playing the victim, I am sure that is true to some extent- I'd be blind if I said it weren't. But for the most part, the oldest (R) is a HUUUGE mama's boy. He always has been and it's really kind of sickening to see the hold his mom has over him and the way she manipulates him (for a while he seemed like he was starting to see it, but he couldn't stand up to her if his life depended on it). At this point we doubt we would even get invited to his wedding if he got married. And for the youngest, he is more about just wanting to do what he wants. He's always been the more selfish one and doesn't really give anyone else much thought. He does, however, stand up to his mom more and if he really wants something, he won't back down. So the fact that he doesn't come over now I'm sure has something to do with her, but mostly (and he even tells us this) he just has other things going on.

    I just pray that one day it changes. I pray it comes when they do grow up a little bit and learn who THEY are and what they want and not worry about their mom. I agree that it seems like once they have their own kids maybe they'll be able to put themselves in our shoes a little bit.

  4. I am so sorry that ya'll are going through all of that. I cannot imagine the feeling of someone you love seeming to not want to be a part of your life. I will pray for your stepson- you never know what changes could be right around the corner.

  5. And Mel, so many kids are so self absorbed at this age anyway...I think Mikey hit it right on the head though. IMO, the kids who know Jesus are far less selfish than the ones who don't. It doesn't become a choice to be selfish or not, it becomes part of them as much as anything else in their lives. They really do know that this life is not about only them.

    I'm speaking generally of course...we all know there are kids who don't know Jesus that are wonderful people and kids who do, who are, well, not so wonderful ;)

    Hopefully it won't be long before he becomes less about only his needs and more about knowing the whole family.

  6. I know this has been going on for a long time. I'm sad that things haven't changed, that the boys haven't come around to realizing the hurt they're putting you and BH through. I believe that someday they will- hopefully much sooner than later. Y'all are good parents, Mel. They'll see it eventually.... I'm just sorry that it's taking so long and that in the meantime y'all are the ones hurting.


Hey you! I welcome all comments and love to hear from you! No one likes to talk to themselves. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!