Thursday, December 15, 2011

Making The Adjustment and Over Reacting

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to get my thoughts together to write this.  Now that I have, I am glad I waited.

Saturday, K and AJ got married.  This is an actual picture from the wedding.  Don't they look nice?  The ceremony was very nice.  Both T and I were invited and we both went.  I introduced him to everyone.  The people there who I knew, already knew I am gay, but this would be the first time that most of them have seen me and T together.  It's one thing to hear about a guy who is coming out gay late in life.  It's something else to actually see that guy with his boyfriend.

Everyone was very nice to both of us.  In fact, K's mother, sister, and aunt went out of their way to talk to T and include him in the family.  K's best (girl) friend since 5th grade, was very nice to him too.  These are people who under normal circumstances might be hostile not only to me, but definitely to the boyfriend who stole their friends husband.  But there was none of that.  I was pretty happy about that. 

The kids participated in the ceremony.  In fact, there were 2 places where the kids were involved.  Without getting into too much detail, I think the things they did were really nice.  I really do.  If I was an absent father, I think it would have been a really nice way to fold them into a new family.  But I am not an absent father.  I am very involved.  It was hard to sit there and let her have her time with AJ and MY KIDS and stay on the sidelines.  VERY HARD.  

Everyone kept asking me if I was OK.  I was starting to get tired of the question, but I know they only asked because they care about me.  I told them that I was OK, when I really wasn't.  I was happy for K and AJ, but I really wished they had not done so much to include the kids.

At the wedding there was one of those pictures of the happy couple with a large white border for the guest to sign and leave well wishes.  As I was waiting in line for the buffet, I saw K and my youngest son next to this picture and he did not look happy.  I excused myself and I went over to see what was happening.  It turned out he was upset because he has signed his name using AJ's last name.  I don't know what K told him, but he was upset that it might upset me he did that.  He also said he wanted to change his last name.

I was a little, but I did not let him know that.  I took him to the side (into a hay loft) and I talked to him for a while to get him to calm down.  At this time, I just wanted to get him to re-join the party and have a little fun.  I sat down on a hay bail (in my suit) and we talked.  I told him no matter what I was always going to be his dad.  I also convinced him that changing his name was not something that he could to that night.  We would have to fill out forms and go to a judge to get is changed officially.  After about 10 min, he agreed to re-join the party.

After dinner, after the first dances, after the cutting of the cake (and the eating of the cake), T and I had enough.  I just wanted to leave and so did he.  The week before, T had misplaced his driver's license and was waiting for the replacement to arrive in the mail.  Since he could not drive, I had to go pick him up and will have to bring him home.  K was not happy I was leaving, ("You are leaving me to put the kids to bed by myself on my wedding night?") but I left anyway.

T and I stopped at my house for a little "downtime" before I drove him home.

The next morning (Sunday) I went to K's house as I usually do to meet them before going to church.  When I walked in my youngest some greeted me in a way that made me think he was replacing me with AJ in his mind.  I mentioned it to K and she talked to him.

He told her that some kid at school told him that he could not have more than 2 parent and more than 4 grandparents.  He was actually worried that my parents could not be his grandparents anymore.  K explained to him that that was crap and we were adding to the family not taking anything away.  I guess he accepted this, but I got a lot of passive aggressive crap from him all day.

This was totally upsetting to me.  It made it worse that now every misbehavior I was interpreting as the kids trying to push me out.  It was a horrible feeling.  I talked to T about it and he thought my son might be fooling around with me.  It asked me to consider if I could be overreacting.  It was possible.  My kids mean everything to me and the risk is huge.  I could be possible that I could be letting my fears about what could happen get the best of me.

After a couple of days I was not feeling a whole lot better.

Yesterday (Wednesday), I offered to take the kids out to dinner with me.  After dinner we stopped at a Game Stop where I was able to take notes on the things they asked for.  While we were there, 3 of the 4 kids asked to sleep at my house.  I told, like I always have, they can stay with me any time they want.  I have no beds for them, but I bought some air mattresses so at least they are not sleeping directly on the floor  

In the end the older boys decided to spend the night at K's house in their own beds, but both younger kids wanted to stay with me.  I was delighted!!  We stopped at K's to pick up their pillows and school clothes they needed for school in the morning.  

I was pretty happy last night having kids sleeping in my house again.

This weekend I will have all 4 kids, even the older ones.  I would like to think that they are coming to bond with the old man, but the reality is, they all have friends here and they want to have out with them.  

At the end of the day, I think that I was over reacting.  I think that I am not losing my kids.  I think that it will be OK.

That said, I am still keeping a close eye on it and make sure my kids know that I am their dad and that's not going to change... Ever.


Buddy Bear said...

I'm sure it is tough and very distressing, what you are going through. Keep in mind that the kids are going through a huge adjustment and upheaval as well. I'm wishing you all the best.

It does seem very odd to me, the idea of your youngest son changing his last name to AJ's. Around here, I think that would be highly unusual. I wouldn't be happy about it at all.

TwoLives said...

Regardless of whether you might be over-reacting, what you're saying here is very upsetting. I'm upset just reading about it.

When I try to think about all the changes that the kids have weathered in the last few months, it makes sense that at least one of them would feel confused. Who knows if this is the case but maybe changing his name is his way of saying he wants to be part of a stable situation? And now that K and AJ are married and living together, that's something that feels both familiar and stable to him?

I don't remember that you've ever said what kind of custodial agreement you and K have. If they are spending less than 40% of their out-of-school time with you, then you are at a disadvantage as their favorite. I think you have to compensate by making the time they spend with you as fun as possible. Let K and AJ be the bossy parents who scold them about homework and chores. You can be the fun dad. Kids thrive on attention, shower them with it.

Also, the way you've described your house, it doesn't sound especially welcoming. I know money is a big issue but would it sound like fun to go to anyone's house and sleep on an inflatable bed? Maybe you can find a cheap tent on Craigslist. Set that up in the living room and invite the kids for indoor camping? Or if you want beds, you can also try CL. I found a free twin bed there for myself very easily.

Mostly I think you should stand your ground when it comes to quality time with the kids. Don't compromise what you want just because of the circumstances. At a minimum the kids will see that you're fighting to be with them and that will be extremely meaningful to them.

RB said...

I can totally understand how difficult this has been for you. Give it some time. If this was difficult for you think about how it felt to these kids? They will need several months to adjust and you need to give them some time.

The next several months will mold the future...whether you are included or not. That's up to you to some extent.

For God Sake, get some beds for this kids and an XBox. Make your home fun and welcoming. Buy the stuff at Ikea or used...the kids won't care.

Don't make K and AJ the disciplinarians, and you the totally fun dad. That will piss off K. It seems the relationship is good and you want to keep it that way. You all need to enforce a common set of rules.

Good luck!

AWILTAGM said...

I admire you, and how far you and K have come. As you K communicated in your marriage you need to still communicate that way now, for your children. Maybe AJ should be a part of this. I can only imagine that this must be hard for AJ as well. Where does he fit into all of this????

I think if you were able to talk about your expectations with K and AJ it could help you feel more comfortable. Have your expectations changed since they are now married? What's different now, then what it was 3 weeks ago???

I am really sorry for the way your feeling. IT's heartbreaking to imagine that pain. I hope all works out well.