So did you raise your hand anywhere when you read Part one? I feel as if almost everyone falls into one category or another, don’t you?
After all, there were so many lovely places to raise your hand and say present, or here. Life has always been very complex. The difference is not that it is more so now, in my opinion. I believe that it has simply rose to the top like cream. People talk about Everything now.
Let’s be honest, my hand is raised up in the air. But for the most part, it is I that am waving, saying, screaming even, Stop! Oh My God People stop talking so much.
Additionally, we may as well bring out the dirty laundry. Who hasn’t heard that term? Raise your hand please, oh yes, you over there, hiding behind your Facebook persona. Obviously you have not heard that term, because everything about your life, your blended life.
Your divorced, remarried, back again with the same ol’ ex, tell it all on social media ass. It would appear that your Momma never taught you about not airing out your family’s dirty laundry in public.
Not to mention, the way you gossip about your own family! You might as well be sitting at the salon telling it all to the women down there and getting “yo’self did” whilst you gossiped and trash talked your own people with your hand raised in the air waving back and forth.
Do I Have your Attention yet? Well then…
Shall I continue with my own blended family and let you know how it has been for us here. Because for us, it is just about 18 months into being a blended family full time. And I tell you that raised some hands in our lives.
Previously, I should mention that I knew my guy Patrick for about 10 years before we became a couple. I think his son was about 4 when I came into their lives. I know he was a cute little guy, full of laughter that was contagious. He is not so little now, but the laughter and looks remained.
Being a Part time Step Parent…
When it is just a month of so in the summer and a few holidays a year, man that shit is pretty damn easy. Patrick was so wrapped up in spending every waking moment with Kyle and making up for lost time.
But then, did I mention we lived 2700 miles away from him? He lived with his mom in NY, we live in AZ. He would come out, we would find things to do. Lots of planning there believe it or not. Patrick and I would browse through everything we knew about the desert southwest. Then come up with three or four trips and when he would get to town, Patrick would see which one he was most interested in.
If money was tight, well, I am the Queen of Staycations. I can tell you about 100 things to do free or close to it here in the Valley of the Sun. Between living in a complex with a swimming pool and other amenities, having motorcycles to go for rides and more, he enjoyed vacations here.
And Boy did Life change!
And then life changed, the boy was growing into his late teens. Damn near an adult, Patrick went back to NY to see him graduate high school. He was all set to go to college in NY, until he wasn’t. You can raise your hand if a teenager or young adult has ever flipped the coin on your life like this.
In the wake of graduation and the ensuing summer break, we began asking what he needed for his dorm room (college away from his mom). We asked about tools needed for his welding classes and food he might like to get on a regular basis. We knew that the town the college was in had no major shopping in it and only one pizza place. No fast food, no restaurants to really speak of, truly small town in the lower mountains of NY. As truck drivers who have both delivered and driven through the town, we both knew what to expect for him. The area however, flat out gorgeous if you are a nature nut.
So Kyle began checking into schools all over the U.S. at the urging of his father. If you are not going to live at home, take advantage of your age and go somewhere and see a different part of the U.S. Come to find out, our local college offered very similar classes of equal quality. However, the prices here were much less than half the price he would pay in NY., even if he had to pay out of state tuition prices.
The move happened Oh So Fast!
Ensuing that conversation, it seems like he was here within a week or maybe two. It might have been longer, but not much. One minute I lived with my boyfriend and pets in a spacious apartment (it seemed). The next minute it was as if we lived in a tiny place, too small for three people and three pets.
My world went from peaceful, tranquil existence to not even knowing I was stressed until I blew up. The first bit was fine, we relaxed a few days and enjoyed having all of us together. But then reality hit that this was not a vacation, that this was a get him through college without Kyle and I choking each other (Not Literally) kind of thing. Raise your hand if you wanted to scream about how you wanted to choke a step-kid-parent-or-whomever.
There were Issues!
I thought, ok, he is 19, a high school graduate who is going to start college in the spring semester. He is going to bust balls to earn money so that he will have no college loan, not have to work much while attending college, buy a car and things like that.
His thought appeared to be (to me) that he was going to sit home, play video games and do nothing all day. I tired quickly of feeling like I was maid service, cook, chauffeur, and money supplier to a person who was taller and larger than me.
And Then he got a job! At first I was so relieved, he got a good job with a big company. Making $15 an hour, the drive to take him to work was an hour for me, each way, to work and from work. I drove four hours a day for him to work eight hours a day. I put One hundred twenty miles a day on the car. In the time he worked there, he helped with gas twice. He filled the car once and half a tank another time.
So, by the time I blew up at him, I was stressed over money that I was spending so that he could make money. Plus the other things, chores not getting done for instance. Between driving ride share part time to help out with the bills of an extra mouth to feed. I cannot work fulltime due to my health. In addition to that I was doing all of the cooking, most of the cleaning, laundry, pet care, shopping, etc. Raise your hand if this sound familiar.
Super Woman I am not
Thusly, I began to feel as if everything was expected of me and I was not appreciated at all. That feeling is the most frustrating feeling in the world. I am not an angry person, I don’t hold a grudge.
So when I began to feel angry, my guy working nights, sleeping days, while I was feeling totally responsible for his son. I was starting to feel like that, His son. My hand was raised, waving in the air by the time the big blow up happened. Over sports of all things and I love football.
Words that couldn’t be taken back were said. I will let you the reader use your imagination. It was the first time Patrick and I argued. We had been together for five years by then. I shot the last man that made me that angry, with Maybeline. Oh my sweet Maybeline and rock salt. Luckily I have learned to control my anger much much better since then. Feel free to raise your hand if you broke your superwoman badge and wanted to shoot a man.
Where did we go from there?
Subsequently, life got even harder in our home. Even though apologies were made, hugs were given eventually. I did not forgive the words or actions right away though. I believe people throw out the phrases “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” so fast that they have lost meaning. Don’t say what you don’t mean and tears do not help. I am perfectly capable of walking away from that shit. Tears, Puhleeze, water off a ducks’ back.
It took time, it took work on all parts for us to move forward successfully. There have been ups and downs since then. Mostly ups thankfully. Our biggest success has been in learning to talk to each other when there are any issues. We know how to read body language better than we used to, We pay better attention to each other is the best way to describe it.
Where are we Now?
Well, there has been one more minor argument in the last year since the Big Blow up. The minor disagreements, yes, they happen but and that’s a Big But. We have rules and consequences and the rules have been followed and broken too. The price has been paid for rules broken, the privileges for rules followed. Oh, and our rules? They are written down and all three of us know where they are at.
When Kyle and I disagree, Patrick stays out of it now. Even though he is on day shift. Kind of funny, he is in a place to be a referee and we settle things without him. I have taken a page from my sister’s book and my three brothers also. I am not as hard ass about some things as I used to be, I bend better now. Kyle has learned that I don’t like asking repeatedly for him to do something. He knows how to push my buttons and I know how to push his. The difference now is our hand are not raised. We push each others’ buttons jokingly while Patrick sits and shakes his head.
All of this being said, my hand is down not raised. We finally blended our family and figured this shit out. I believe we are all three happy with how things are progressing. I love seeing how Kyle is growing into a self-sufficient, independent man. Love my B.B. & L.B.
Namaste ~ Momma Janet