In college I had to build a shell – that I just didn’t care. My roommate and I created a saying “It just doesn’t matter, because I really don’t care.” That related to everything dishonest that we witnessed around campus – students, administrators and professors.
We had to put on the armor of fake ennui and manufactured indisposition in order to withstand the insensitivity of the people around us. We had gotten stuck at a conservative Catholic University – just at the point when we were chipping through our adolescent, confectionery shell of long held parental beliefs of what is good and bad.
I find myself not wanting to care again, but now I am the parent.
I want to run. I want to be vindicated. This post has enough for 3 entries, but I will summarize the past week:
- Last Thursday I asked DD if I could pick up son#4 three hours earlier than planned because I had a half day from work. He said yes, but reminded me that we needed to stick to visitation schedule for the boys. I told him never mind. Son#4 was at his home with a sitter – they had no plans for those 3 hours. It wasn’t an inconvenience for anyone.
- Friday afternoon, DD invited me to my own son(#4)’s birthday party via an email addressed to all of the parents in son #4’s class. I wasn’t included in the planning – though when son#4 asked me a few weeks ago about what to do for his upcoming birthday party – I told him that we should talk to his father before making any decisions. Though clearly that wasn’t what DD did. I was just another person asked to the party. That hurt. I responded to all of the invitees “Thanks so much for including me in our son’s party! I can’t wait to celebrate with him”
- Friday night, Son#2 shaved his eyebrows (for the first time) and his scrotum – but this time he cut himself – while at his father’s home. Calling CPS has never resulted in any changes…so I will just write a letter to the CPS worker and her supervisor just to cover my bases – explaining that I’ve tried to reach out to CPS with no results or changes since 2009 and this is the latest of a series of events demonstrating poor supervision. I explain that I don’t expect much action – but would like this letter to be included in son#2’s file – so that if and when something extremely dangerous happens, it will be noted that I’ve tried.
- Saturday morning, I get an email asking me if I could take the boys for DD while he goes away with his boyfriend to Puerto Rico for 6 days. I reply that I will always, if possible spend time with the boys – but I am concerned about the mixed messages. I reminded him that he said we needed to be sticking to the visitation schedule. I review that 3 extra off the schedule hours with son#4 causes DD concern, but three extra nights is acceptable when he is going on vacation with his boyfriend. I also ask if he is going to be paying alimony or child support before he goes on vacation. psss I know you are surprised that I haven’t gotten a response back.
It is these things that remind me of the coldness of college. How strange it was to be surrounded by good “Catholics” who lied, cheated on exams, slept with a friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend, being sexually harassed by a professor or belittled or excluded anyone slightly different. In order to survive emotionally, I built a facade of uncaring.
This is different. I will always care about the boys – that part doesn’t change. They are the chink in my armor. No matter how far I distance myself emotionally, intellectually, physically – the bond of sharing children will always be there.
I have this angst, this edge, this sadness and exhaustion – but each smile, each hug, each time I hear “mom” I realize how much I am needed.