Jun 23, 2011

Kids Are Not Toasters

My kids, ages 8 and 10, got back yesterday from a week long visit with their father. As usual, they enjoyed themselves, he bought them a ton of stuff, they ate way too much candy and... they came home emotional wrecks. Awesome.

In his defense (sort of) he doesn't mean to make emotional wrecks out of them. I don't think. Actually, he probably does but in an effort to be nice and not scream obscenities at him (again) I'm going to believe he doesn't do it intentionally.  This is truly the key to being successful divorced co-parents -- lie to yourself.  It's kind of like the key to a successful marriage except you don't have to see the person who most pisses you off day in and day out.

I'm not going to go in to what he did -- this time -- since it's really not much different than what he does every time and I'm just glad I can get the kids in therapy. Because, really, that's all raising children is. Fostering them to be productive members of society and hoping you can afford a lifetime of therapy for them.

Most of my evening and morning have been spent undoing the damage that was done (not intentionally intentional of course) over the course of the past seven days.  The problem is, I'm not great at the giving of platitudes, "Your dad and I both love you very very much and we realize how hard this is for you and why don't we discuss your feelings in words, song and interpretive dance?"  But, at least I'm smart enough to NOT say, "Your dad and I both love you very very much and we realize how hard this is for you and I'm sorry your father is a selfish jackass."

Although, in my mind, I'm screaming that.

I sat both kids down and started out with, "Your father and I both love you very very much. And... "  I ran into the wall. What should I follow that with? I'm so not smart enough for this stuff.  So, my "I know this is hard..." speech ended up being a discussion about... toasters.

"Your father and I both love you very very much. And... you want to know something? When you buy a toaster, it comes with a whole book. It tells you how to plug in your toaster, how to make toast with it. It shows you what all the buttons and settings do. It tells you it can also heat up waffles and bagels and what the settings are for that. It tells you how to fix your toaster if it isn't working properly.  It has pages of how to troubleshoot it.  A whole book."

"When I had you in the hospital, they gave me a baby. That's it. A baby. You. You didn't come with a book. You didn't come with diagrams showing me what all your "buttons" do.  No one told me how to troubleshoot you.  I got a baby."

"So basically, what I'm telling you is -- your father and I have no idea what we're doing.  We're just winging it. You didn't come with a book and we're doing the best we can. We love you, but we're going to make a ton of mistakes. It's why God created therapy -- because no one knows what the hell they are doing.  So. We love you very very much and we're just hoping we don't completely screw you up. Because, well... you're not a toaster."

I don't know what the hell I'm doing but I do know that they laughed until they fell down. They hugged me and told me they loved me. And then they went off to play and everything seems okay.

Who's hungry for toast?

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