Saturday, February 01, 2014

Other people's damaged kids

Oh My! people have I got an update for you? Well, I suppose I took a risk, I went away over Christmas for six weeks. I wasn't sure about Seamus's level of commitment. We had had very happy times together in 2013, but it still seemed to have "Hamish" overtones. Never the less I had heard those three little words a few times. I thought it would be a test, and that we would find out how we truly felt about each other.

Anyway over Christmas I had some trouble with my mobile phone and our communications were challenged. Then I got it sorted but things were still very quiet. I eventually queried how quiet he was and this was the reply:

Hi Fiona Yes UR right my absence is an indication that something has changed. I have been talking  with a woman friend from work this is totally unexpected but we have connected really well. Its not that I don't or haven't loved you, I really don't want young kids at this stage in my life I've known this for some time as I have mentioned to u. Anyway, I would like to pursue a relationship with her. I know you will be hurt, I don't know it you still wish to keep in touch or just write me off. Let me know your thoughts love Seamus Happy New yearI'm sorry for letting you down.

Hmm well it arrived on the morning of New Years day. I was at my parent's house. There was no place for middle aged grief over a middle aged dalliance, so, not to be crude I restricted my tears to the few minutes it took to visit the bathroom that morning.

Being in the protection of my family cushioned the blow, but now I have returned home and reality has hit. Worse still that "woman friend from work" also has kids ever so slightly  (2-5 years) older.

I do have a postscript on Seamus, but for the moment I will concentrate on Connor. We are in a SPOC relationship - Single parent only child.  It is almost impossible for me to judge his sociability or behaviour, but I always get good comments from friends who invite him on playdates, he was a dream to travel with over Christmas, and my (highly biased) family found him no trouble at all.

The only people who have mentioned / been honest enough to criticise his behaviour are my friend  Marcia, Seamus and Connor's own father Simon who said "he is painful". The horrible irony of this crap from Connor's own father is not lost on me. Years of infertility and IVF lead me to consider adoption. Well I recall his response "I don't want to raise someone else's damaged kids" and now the stupid git won't even raise his own kid.

I think the SPOC thing is relevant the single parent only child relationship is a particular pressure cooker environment.  Journalist Sue Carpenter in the Daily Mail describes her relationship with her daughter thus: 
 ..when Simi was just seven years old, and we were walking along our local strip of restaurants in South London, with Simi vetoing all the ones I liked while making a strong case for the one with the chocolate brownie and ice cream that she preferred, that I suddenly stopped. ‘Hang on, Simi,’ I said. ‘How come you’re making the decisions? I’m the mummy, you’re the child!’ Since then, I’ve become increasingly aware of the very particular relationship I have with Simi, that of Single Parent and Only Child.
 and ..
Simi would select the TV channel or DVD and set the table while I cooked supper. Then we’d cuddle up on the sofa and often end up going to bed at the same time. I had nobody to answer to, nobody to undermine or question my way of raising my child.

I recognise something of our relationship in this.
In my early days of my relationship with Seamus, Connor and having "young kids" in his life did come up, my close friend Marcia (who has three kids) recommended that, to alleviate his concerns I should do a parenting course, because in her opinion Connor had become entitled, and manipulative and I needed to learn some strategies to rein him in. So I went ahead, hired a babysitter and did the six week course and associated exercises.

He is nowhere near as difficult as some of the kids I encountered on the course there, but I know there are some particular things about our relationship that make it hard for others to be part of it, and that I am not as harsh in my discipline as I might be, not least for the lack of a moderating influence in the shape of another child.

Anyway,  it did not work out with the woman friend from work and Seamus would like us to take up where we left off. Doubtless there is still friendship and chemistry.

Which leaves me perplexed. Has the not wanting young kids thing gone away?  Am I just a back up plan? that just seems the obvious conclusion. I also conclude that this could happen again the next time some prospect comes along. Cheifly I ask if I am strong enough to handle it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let him off. He sounds like piece of work.