This is a question that I rolled over in my brain the other weekend when we had just the two little ones, Zachary (11) and Hannah (9) over for a couple of nights so they could go to the new school year ice cream social, meet their teachers, see who's in their classes and for Hannah Boo and Tina to do some girly stuff like back to school shopping and "accessorizzzzzinggggg", as Tina put it. Me and Zack went on a search and destroy mission for new game for his DS (highlighting the differences between girly and guy shopping there; saving that for another post...). Anyways, they spent a couple of nights with us. And I thought to myself and remarked to Tina, "is this what normal is?" as I reflected on a shout-less, fit-less, conflict-less, anger-less, restriction-less couple of days with just Zack and Lil' Boo.
You see "normal" for us includes all the above (minus the -less') on a disturbingly regular basis. There's conflict, fights, arguments, defiance, and lots of loud sharp words ... nearly EVERY evening. Honestly. And as this is all I've known as a parent (and only have what I remember growing up myself as sounding board) I can't believe that this is "normal" for the rest of the parents and families out there.
Now realize that most of that comes from our oldest, and most challenged kid, Tad, and then like ripple reflecting off the edge of your coffee cup, Hannah as she either feeds into, goes along with, or just flat out mimics Tad's negative behaviors.
Like I said he's our most challenging and challenged kid. He's been tagged with all sort of TLD (Three Letter Diagnoses) and is a 14 yr old boy, with all the teen/adolescent issues that come with that, and the emotional development somewhere around (and probably behind) our youngest Hannah. I'm not going to go into a this, that and the other thing description of what drives us to our limits and beyond as parents, but suffice it to say, Job would give this a WTFO rating...
But, DAMN, if two kids sitting quitely together playing at a video game, listening and following directions without getting into each other's shit just cuz they can is what it's like for everyone else (more often than not), one little selfish and self centered part of me says, he and his dad can have each other; after all biodad has put us thru, let us have our shot at something approaching normalcy.
But that is short lived and gets swatted away like any other buzzing pest. Tad's a fanDAMNtastic kid. Kind, giving, sensitive, loving, and when he hits his behavioral stride and we give him the kudos he's due, his smile can light the darkest night! And I want him to be a great man, greater than his dad could ever imagine being. I want him to rise above the delinquent genetic code biodad saddled him with. I want nurture to tromp the living snot out nature!
On the quite of the evening after all the kids are in bed I reflect back on the day. How did I do? What could I have done better or differently to have made it a better day; cuz even on my best days it can always be better, calmer, more patient, more nurturing and loving. Not for me. For them. They deserve that and so much more.