Friday, December 23, 2011

What Kind of Family?

So the other day I posted about family and how things were shaping up for me.  I got a lot of good advice and T got his head swollen from some many (including my mother) agreeing with him.  Of course he is right, as he constantly reminds me.

I talked to my mother today.  As she was telling me how she agreed with T and the other advice I got I asked a question.  What kind of a family an I trying to create?

In many divorced families, the goal of the former spouses is to create 2 separate families.  The children move back and forth between the separate worlds their parents create for themselves.  I suppose in most cases this works well for everyone. 

But this is not the kind of family I want to create.  This is not the target I am shooting for.

I don't want to create 2 separate families with my kids straddling the gap.   In the long run, I don't think this is good for me, for K  or for the kids.

You see, I am trying to expand my family not segregated it.

Today I spent a good chunk of the day at K's house.  I played X-box with the kids.  I helped make dinner.  I chatted with AJ's parents who have arrived this afternoon for the holiday.  After the kids went to bed, K, AJ, and I when up into their bedroom to wrap Christmas presents.

As we wrapped, K labeled all the packages since she had the best handwriting.  As has been our tradition, each kids gets a single present from Santa and the remainder came from K and I.  In the past, I always had a significantly larger income than K and therefore I paid for most of the presents, but as we were all one family, the presented were from "mom & dad".

What about this year?  I am unemployed and I am just holding on financially.  I do not have a lot of money for presents this year.  K has a job and she also got a windfall when she got half of my 401K plan.  Also AJ makes more money than I did when I was working, and he chipped on on many of the presents even for my kids.  

In the "create a separate world" the vast majority of the presents my kids will get on Sunday would be labeled from "mom" or "mom & AJ".  The couple of small things I could afford would say from "dad".  I know there are some that will say, it won't matter.   It's not about the "stuff".  The kids will understand you are not working and doing the best you can.  All of these things may be true, but it sure would have made me feel like a dip-shit.

K started labeling the gifts for my kids, from "mom, dad, & AJ".  

She expanded the family.


Anonymous said...

That sure was nice...and had to make you feel good.

T said...

I am sorry but have to be honest with you. I think you are confused. Your heart means well, but you forget to consider the reality. You can do all you just stated without hanging around K's house all the time. Pretty soon, they will let you know that you overstay your welcome, and I would hate to see that happened to you.

Your kids are good kids, and you know I like them. But, they have no structures as far as schedules and activities. And you have no structures as far as schedules and activities. This will not work for you as far as managing your new life, especially when you are in school.

You're holding onto the familiarities of your life instead of facing the reality. I am guilty of doing that, too. It's very comforting. But, in your case, you have no choice but face the reality. I know you wouldn't care what AJ or K think or I or anyone else think when it comes to your kids, but it's not healthy for you or your kids either.

Yesterday, you told me you were afraid to break up your kid's game time if you were to make them go to your house for dinner, and they won't like to come to your house anymore because of that. I'm sorry to say but when it's dinner time, they have no business playing games. You have to be careful not to create a pattern where you have to buy their attention or affection.

To me, you have and always will do so much that make them like and love you (besides being their Dad). You just have to do it differently from now on. You have to have new rules and schedules for you and your kids. You need to have new rules for K as well. They are kids; they need you to make rules for them.

You need to be strong and start a new life. It is very scary and difficult. I can't even imagine it. I promise to be alongside with you. And I apologize to you ahead of time that I will continue to be nasty to you if needed be.

I love you with all my heart. And you know it. So, listen to me, please.

T said...

We have to discuss how nasty I could be in person, Jim.

T said...

I agree with T.

Paul said...

That sure was sweet of K! I hope your vision of the expanded continues to win out.

Anonymous said...

T is right again.

Java said...

That's a good sign of a well-blended family.

And also, T makes some very good points. Good luck!

Biki said...

I understand your frustation about two divided families, and wanting to increase the family size. Good idea too, need to start letting go somewhat of K. She has a life with AJ now, and its time you started to build your new life. Yes, I know its scary, very very scary, but you have T with you. And he isnt afraid to tell you where you are going wrong, which is invaluable.

You dont have to buy your kids love, they will love you no matter what. But respect? Thats a whole diff ball of wax, and you do need to lay down the rules and stick to em.

Good luck