Friday, August 8, 2008

delusions of control

All through the craziness that has been this past Spring, all through the fly by the seat of our pants months of June and July, I have kept repeating one thing to myself.

If we can make it through the summer and get to the beginning of the school year, we can create a workable routine that everyone can live with. And life will be good. Repeat after me. Life. Will. Be. Good.

This summer has been one non-stop juggling act. Meshing the work and travel schedules of two people who no longer live in the same house but still share three children has been intricate, to say the least. And as long as I live, no matter what else I remember about this period of time, I will always think of this as The Summer I Gave Up Control. Kicking and screaming the whole way, to be sure, but I still did it. I've spent very little time in my comfort zone the last two months, and even though I'm quite aware that my comfort zone is a little on the overprotective side, it still has not been a walk in the park.

I've had to loosen the reins and give the kids more freedom than I ever have. Hanging out with their friends downtown, going to movies without adults, staying home on their own while I've worked - the list goes on. Gumby's best friend came to town from Austin, Texas, where his family moved last Fall, and Gumby was invited to spend six days with his friend and his family. The plan was for the boys to spend as much time together as possible and get taken virtually everywhere fabulous in the area by doting family members. There was no way in the world I could (or would) say no, but the idea of him being gone for six days made my stomach kind of clench up. I told myself to suck it up and let the kids have some fun. And they did. And I survived. But it was a first - and a testament to my level of trust in the friend's family that I didn't end up institutionalized somewhere. (In a related note, while unpacking from our trip I found the thank you cards we had written to send for this lovely six days. Apparently, I'd taken them all the way to LA and still forgotten to mail them. Maybe they'll be amused? Anyone?)

Anyway, my point is control. And getting through the summer unscathed so we can get our lives back into a routine. It's going to be a different routine, but I'm betting we can still make it a familiar and comfortable one. There is no routine to our summers. And I'm really tired of it. The thrill has worn off.

So with less than a week before school starts, how is my optimistic plan looking?

Surfer Dude has an infection in both ears that I'm pretty sure he got body surfing at Zuma Beach.

Sasquatch is busily trying to eke the last drops of sloth and fun from his summer - and is plenty surly in the process.

Gumby, who I fear is the hardest hit from the divorce in addition to starting Junior High next week, has developed what I'm pretty sure are anxiety related eating issues. I think the kid is simply stressed, but my anorexic past is going to force us to take more serious action than just sitting him down and discussing it.

And me? How about if I repeat a sound bite from my last two days at work? One of my coworkers, shaking his head sadly at my continuing streak of being a feces magnet, said "Whenever I work with you it's like someone's shaking the branches of the Crazy Tree".

Thanks a lot. It's not like I can control it or anything.


Marti said...

Hey RC

At least Gumby wrote the Thank You notes. I am still trying to get Lu to write his!! We are very glad that Gumby came and went everywhere fun with Lu. It made his vacation that much sweeter.

Glad you had a great vacation. Glad you are learning to let go of some control (I too am having a hard time with that) and glad you are all back safely.

Sorry about the SD's ilness and Gumby's stress. When Lu started middle school down here, it was a pretty high stress situation. But he adjusted and is doing fine. I think once school starts he will be fine.

Miss you!

Devon said...

I have a daughter going into junior high also, last month she went to Santa Cruz with a friend for a week. I feel your pain! I am trying to ease up on the mama control so she can learn to trust her own instincts and decisions.

Easier said than done! But she survived and has some fantastic memories! And I learned an important lesson... 90% of my laundry is generated by that child!

Tiggerlane said...

Girl, it's been TOO LONG since I stopped by your blog! Had no idea of the chaos you were suffering!

I have to CONSTANTLY repeat this to myself: the only think you can control in this life is your own behavior and your reaction to events.

VERY hard if you're a control freak like me! So hard to know what is okay to "let go."

Hang in there, kiddo...and here's hoping for some tranquility in your life when school starts!

Tiggerlane said...

That was supposed to read "the only THING you can control..."


Rudee said...

I think letting our kids have more control over their decisions is one of the hardest things a mother does. Red wine may help to get over these bumps. Lots of red wine.

Akelamalu said...

It's really hard to let your kids loose, it goes against the grain, but it has to be done and it will get easier. x

Anonymous said...

I am walking right by your side with the letting go and control issues. When life leaves us no choice, sometimes good things can happen. I just have to keep telling myself that.

Here's to a new season.


my two cents said...

Sorry SD's ears hurt, but contrary to what you believe, Zuma has only healing powers, so I am pretty sure SD got the ear infection in the pool, at Manhattan Beach, on the boat, or at Bakin Robbins, but no way did he get it at Zuma. Not possible. I went to Zuma (and spent not quite as much time in the ocean as he did) when I had had a sinus infection for a month, had finished the anitbiotic and still had a sinus infection, and by the time we left I was cured. We're going on Sunday - healing powers only.

Stacie said...

Ah, control. I so miss it. Hang in there, RC. I do hope things will settle down some for you once school starts (as I am sure they will).

Glad you had fun on your trip!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Virginia said...

Imust have hit the wrong thing, I didnt mean to send that comment anonymous!