One of the problems with living in the same house and going around to the sites with the in-laws is that I am on heightened “mama bear” alert…..for almost 24 hours a day. You see, my in-laws, I’m sure in their own minds and ways, are trying to be well meaning people, but come off as annoying, intrusive, negative, and generally toxic people who would rather focus on the negative than anything else. While I can handle this myself, the hair on the back of my neck stands on end when they do this around my kids.
DJ has their numbers. A few years back while staying with them, she noticed the constant sniping, the need to blame shit on others vs just letting it be, and would call them on it when it happened. A bang in the house would lead to a witch hunt, of sorts, that once led DJ to putting my father-in-law in his place when he targeted Indigo incorrectly. While I appreciated the fact she stood up for her sister, it upset me (and G) that the behavior we guarded them against had occurred outside our watch.
This led me to be in a state where I now constantly correct them when they are in the wrong – my in-laws, not the kids. But it’s also hard because my smart ass kids can, well, sometimes be smart asses which inadvertently feed that behavior. (Hey, they are part genetically me, so that’s not too surprising.) So I spend time with the family keeping the kids in a good space while guarding them from the bullshit of my in-laws.
Example of why I do this? The other night while playing monopoly, my FIL decided to grill DJ on the classes she is taking in the upcoming year. She listed what she was taking and why – a good course load, no slacker classes, and truly focused on academics vs electives. He started going on and on about how she needs to make sure that the classes she takes will get her into college, how can her parents (he looks at us) allow her to choose her own classes, etc etc etc. At this point, DJ is doing well on her own with him. But when he starts questioning her judgement (which is quite sound) making her the irresponsible kid, therefore we are the bad parents – I was kinda done with the discussion and verbally smacked him back. I wish this was one example – but, sadly, this is the first of many in the whole four days we’ve been together with them.
Protecting my kids from this mental bullshit, is simply exhausting. It is no wonder I’ve not been sleeping well, and have been grumpy after a long day of this crap.
Today, we jumped at a chance to go see Hubman and Veronica and their kiddos. My FIL is coming down with a cold (our fault, of course – can’t be the hordes of people he’s intermingled with at the various monuments and museums the past couple of days), so we were happy to “let him get some rest”. Exhaling for a while, being able to just relax, have great conversation, watch the kids be their goofy selves, and have some time with great people – so truly what I needed – so truly what we all needed, I think.
We met up – wandered around the harbor, talked, saw some site nearby, enjoyed a decent meal with some decent beer (non-crappy beer, that is – Veronica is an amazing woman who remembers how much good beer is appreciated, so she found us a place) and enjoyed the company. The kids hit it off, as I figured they would. Hubman and I both took a few photos after, of course, checking out each other’s cameras. It was a wonderful WONDERFUL afternoon.
And for about a few hours, I got to go off Mama Bear duty – and finally exhale. It was wonderful (yeah, I’ve used that word a lot because it was simply that) – more refreshing than most of this trip so far.
I’m thankful for it too – because tomorrow is the funeral which means stress of the not-so-fun kind. And me being on even more of a heightened Mama Bear alert.
The good news is we fly back home Tuesday.
Guess I need to focus on that.
Until then, I’m thankful for having the time today.