(This post is a little rambly. Sorry I’m having a hard time collecting my thoughts lately.)
Dave flew back to Seattle on Sunday. All things considered, his visit here with the girls went exceptionally well. He texted me pictures of them when he took them out places (even the grocery store).
In fact, one evening he came to pick up the girls a little early, and I had ordered pizza for them for dinner (because I thought he wasn’t coming until later and I knew they’d be hungry). So he hung out and we ate pizza together, and we talked about our kids and the upcoming election.
It was easy and familiar and completely freaking weird, all at the same time. I’d like to think that it’s the start of a trend, but I also worry that the other shoe is going to drop at some point. (It usually does, right?) But in the meantime, I have to think that it’s good for the kids to see us being pleasant with each other, so I’m hoping that we can keep it up.
On the nights Catie spent with him (we both agreed that Lucy is too young to spend the night away, she needs her crib and her normal bedtime routine), I made a point that I wanted to have a few minutes to either visit with Catie in person or Skype with her each day that she was away. It worked out really well.
One time after spending 2 nights in a row with him, she started to whine that she was homesick, so Dave brought her home to hang out with me. This just happened to be on Friday, which was my mom’s birthday, so she and I put on our matching aprons and made Mimi a birthday cake.
Ignore the fact that I’m a sweaty mess in dire need of lipstick. Look how proud of herself she is!
Oh, one more unnecessary picture because it cracks me up.
That was taken while we were singing “happy birthday” to Mimi. The WTF-ness on Lucy’s face just slays me.
(And yes, the cake looks pretty awful. I am not a very good cake decorator under the best circumstances, but with my tiny sous chef, it was even more challenging. Doesn’t matter, though, because it was DELICIOUS.)
So, that was Friday. Saturday, I took Catie to her cousin Elizabeth’s birthday party, and then the girls hung out with Dave for a few hours so I could take a nap (which was blissful). Saturday night, I had them both back at home because his flight left at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
At this point, I know I don’t really have to worry too much about how Lucy handles things because she’s still so young and oblivious. She won’t be soon, and believe me I know that.
But I primarily have to keep a close eye on Catie’s stress level. I’ve figured out a lot of her stress indicators (crying frequently, getting physical with Lucy and pushing her, etc.), and I try to be sympathetic while not letting her get away with too much crap. I mean, hey, I get that you’re upset that you haven’t seen your dad for a few months, but that doesn’t give you the right to shove your baby sister to the ground, you know?
I’m also trying to get her to talk about her feelings more. One of the things she frequently and randomly bursts into tears about is because she claims she misses Teenie, our cat who passed away in February. And I’m sure she does miss Teenie, but I don’t think that’s the whole issue. The last time she had one of these outbursts, I said, “Baby girl, are you crying because you miss Teenie, or because you miss Daddy?” She cried, “BOTH!!!” And sobbed harder.
It’s so hard for her, and I try to make it easier where I can, but we have moments like that where she just breaks my heart and I don’t know how to comfort her because I can’t fix it.
I knew it was going to be bad when he left, so I randomly said, “Hey, you know what? I know you’re going to be really sad after Daddy goes back to Seattle, so I think we should think of something REALLY SUPER FUN to do after he leaves, and I think you should pick what our adventure will be.”
She thought about it for a few minutes, and said she wanted to go see the dinosaur bones at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. She went there recently on a field trip with her daycare and she loved it.
Did I mention that admission to the museum is free? DONE.
Almost every picture I took turned out blurry because both girls were having so much fun that they never stopped running the whole time.
I did, however, get one picture of my girl sitting with a dinosaur footprint.
This is sort of how I see her as an adult, since she’s so adamant about wanting to be a paleontologist when she grows up. I can imagine her 30 years from now at a dig site in South America or God-knows-where, sitting just like this next to some brilliant discovery she’s made.
As far as distracting her from Dave’s departure? It kind of worked. She’s mostly been fine for the past couple of days. Maybe it’ll be a delayed reaction, I don’t know.
Last night, she said that she wanted to make Daddy a card. I gave her one of my blank note cards, and she asked me to help her spell out her words. (We’ve been doing this a lot lately since she’s been practicing writing at kindergarten. I help her sound them out and try to help her figure out the next letter herself.)
She wrote on the card:
“I miss you Daddy. Love Catie and Lucy.”
Then she covered it in stickers and asked me to mail it. Even though seeing those words printed out in her little 5 year-old handwriting made me want to hold the card to my chest and cry, I put it in an envelope, stamped it, and shipped it off.
I have no idea if it’ll break his heart like it did mine. I guess that disconnect to each other’s feelings is just one of many reasons we aren’t together anymore.
Yeah. We’re in this weird strained but easier mode now too and I’m not sure I actually like it. I am working so hard to forgive and I’m still not there yet. It’s one thing to mess with me, but he messed with my child and well, yeah. But I’m like you, waiting to see if another shoe hits the floor.
Love? I think with C you just have to keep encouraging her to talk. Ava did the same thing last night. Burst into tears and said she missed her classmate at school. I know damn well that wasn’t it. It’s hard to watch. DAMN hard. But you’re doing a great job. Just remember that.
TheAvasmommy´s last blog post ..Dear Mitt Romney, You Can Kiss My Ass
I am continually so impressed with how you handle all of this. I know there’s no “right” way to do this, but you are certainly not doing it the wrong way.
Heather´s last blog post ..Baby Sisters
Mama, you are doing it just right. As much as a Californian-stranger’s promise can assure you, I want to do that. You are doing it just right.
On a suggestion, can you buy a “replacement” Teenie? Maybe associate it with Catie’s return from visits with her father and let her use THAT as a coping tool/mechanism in the sense that she misses aspects of her life?
Kids are resilient … so much moreso than we are. It was during this time of my life (Catie’s time) when I remember (JUST BARELY) my father, and the fact that my mother was ALWAYS so happy to “have me back” in her life, and that happiness, and understanding, and love, and compassion, and acceptance or my feelings is what I remember.
You can do this, C. You are strong, you are powerful, you are smart, you are beautiful and you are tenacious. You want the best for your babies, and you deserve the best for you. <3 <3 <3 for you, ladyfriend
Sarah´s last blog post ..uneducated
Does she talk to him on skype? Would he be interested in doing that on a regular basis? I know how tough this is and I truly believe it will get better with time. The card she wrote broke my heart a little so I know you were shattered. Just keep doing what you’re doing because you’re totally doing it right.
I truly believe that the fact C was gone more than he was home was the biggest blessing in disguise. Sophia hardly knows life any different. He has always been in the phone or computer. I am not looking forward to her getting older and realizing that isn’t normal. Or wanting something more.
Alena´s last blog post ..The Holden Dean.