Catch and Release

It’s one of those times when I feel very keenly that the boys do not fully belong to me. They’re choosing classes for next year, Owen for 9th grade, Seth for 11th, and my ex is putting down her foot about several things that I don’t agree with. If the boys belonged to me, we could work out their class choices together, going back and forth the way I was lucky enough to be able to do with my own parents. Tex (their step-butch) would put in her two cents. People might get hot under the collar and storm out of the room. In the end, the boys would take away a vision of what Tex and I think is important as well as a clearer idea of what is important to them. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be ours.

As it is, no matter what my advice, if Erin* decides to pitch a fit, I have to decide whether to fight with her about it, or let her go for it and deal with shielding the boys from the extreme disconnect. One example right now is language choice for Owen. He’s been taking Latin (I fought for it) in middle school, and would happily continue on – he likes it, he’s good at it. He would also happily take French, something Erin is ready to lay down her body for (actually, she would prefer Spanish, but is desperate for him to take A LIVING LANGUAGE). So he’s happy either way. I get that he’s happy either way, I do! However, he can take French at any time, during the summer, at a camp, on a trip to Quebec or France, and Latin, unless he wants to start it back up at college which I suppose he might, is kind of a high school deal. And he’s on a roll. This disagreement between me and Erin is typical of our usual disagreements: it’s a profound difference in how we see the world. I know it’s a class difference, as well, in that I have travelled extensively and assume Owen will have that chance, and Erin sees Owen’s future in much different terms.

Weeks ago, Seth woke up late and presumed upon me to drive him to school, which I did, half grumpy, half happy to have some alone time with him. The grumpy quickly overwhelmed the happy as he indulged in some irrational and ridiculous teenage behavior, I don’t even remember what, but it culminated in him jumping out of the car with nary a “Thanks mom,” and certainly not a backwards glance. As I drove home, I slowly focused my slightly teary eyes on the license plate of the car in front of me, which happened to be one supporting wildlife conservation efforts in our state and it said:

CATCH AND RELEASE.

I burst out laughing.

In certain moments of clarity, I understand that the boys would never belong to me, even if they were with me and Tex all of the time. I know that the moments of slippery contact would always be fleeting, that I would probably be feeling similar regretangstfearangerdespair connected to my children even without Erin’s extremely incendiary presence in our lives. Snow falling, Tex off at grad school for the weekend, boys off somewhere after school, old dying cat cozy in her bed by the radiator; is it a moment of clarity? Maybe a little. The wind is getting up. And Owen will be happy, he is blessed that way. The irony is, if Erin really wasn’t in my life, he wouldn’t be either (she birthed him), and Seth would be a completely different person. As hard as it is, I have to acknowledge and even celebrate Erin’s deep influence in their lives, because she is their other parent. Does it really matter if Owen takes French instead of Latin? I love French. I speak it more or less fluently, or did at one time, and he’s going to adore having that special connection with me. And lest I forget, Seth still takes Latin – I guess I prevailed there. He will soon be reading Cesar and other historical guys in the original, and Owen and I will be able to cozily chit-chat in la belle langue whilst nomming croissants and sipping chocolat chaud. Mmmm!

Optime.

*my ex receives a different nom de blog every post

Published in: on March 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM  Leave a Comment  
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