Reminiscing

My wife and I were just reminiscing about the time when my now 18 year old step son was four years old and I was at their apartment at bed time for the first time and he taught me how the light switch in his bedroom worked.

(Click) lights on.

(Click) lights off.

It was the single most adorable thing that’s ever happened.

My Step Son is More Awesome Than Yours

With all of the pre-fab furniture assembly on this weekend’s agenda, Jen figured it would be a good idea to offer Harry some money in exchange for getting a jump on things tonight. He was up for it and as I type this he is in the dining room putting together a humongous pantry that’s bigger than he is. It might be bigger than me.

Sure there’s a little bit of a bribe involved, but that doesn’t change the fact that my step son is awesome for doing this. He pretty much rules. My step son is absolutely more awesome than yours. It’s a certifiable fact.

Birthday Part 2

I don’t know if I’ve told this story here or not… I’ve probably told it 100 times but I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday never mind if I wrote a blog post about something that happened 14 years ago or not.

Back in 2007 when Jen and I first started dating, she had a rule that we needed to stick to. Anyone she dated had to be around for six months before they were allowed to meet the kids. I liked that rule, not because I was insanely nervous about meeting the kids (I was, of course) but because it was a sign to me that she cared more about them than anything in the world including any potential new relationships she might find herself in. It meant that the kids came first, and she wasn’t going to let them get attached to someone who might not be around for the long haul.

Six months later we were still going strong and the day came when I was to meet Bellana and Harry. The plan was to go to a Chuck E Cheese near my office in Framingham after work. Obviously I was terrified. I had zero experience with kids and if they hated me right off the bat it was all going to be over for me and Jen. She told me that Bellana (age six) was a little more outgoing and probably would be more interested in me. Harry (age four) was a little more shy and would probably clam up.

We met outside of the building so that we could all go in together. It went exactly the opposite of how we expected. Bellana hid behind her mother and was very shy. Harry, with all the confidence in the world, walked right up to me and asked if I wanted to see a paper he had worked on in pre-school that morning. He was completely fearless.

By the end of the evening both kids seemed comfortable with me and I was already loving them. They accepted me right away, and they accepted the idea of me and their mother being together right away. I can’t thank them enough for that. Even now, 14 years later, I am pretty stunned at how well that night went. I will never forget it, and I will also never forget that Harry was the first one to welcome me into the family. I love both of those kids more than I ever dreamed I could love anyone.

Once again, happy 18th birthday, Harry.

Birthday

Today is my step son Harry’s 18th birthday. I am so proud of him. He has grown up to be a fine man. He is smart, he is kind, he is caring, he is considerate, he is funny, he is charming, he is woke like a boss (which is nice). The last year has been a complete shit show but he’s managing it well. He’s going to be leaving for college in August and that is painful to think about so I don’t think about it, for now. I love him more than I can express and I can’t wait to see the great things he accomplishes in the future. Happy Birthday, Harry.

Sad Tuesday

My step daughter, Bellana, just left. She’s spending a few days quarantining with school friends before heading back for the Spring semester. We won’t see her again for months.

You know the drill, I’m one part happy and excited for her and one part sad as can be that she’s not here.

Having feelings sucks some times. Maybe Mr Spock had the right idea.

Surprise!

Well that was wonderful!

We just got a surprise visit from Bellana! She made the three hour drive here from school. Apparently she and two friends were after cake. A specific, magical cake… I guess.

What a great surprise!

Sad Note

I wasn’t going to let myself get caught up in September 11th this year. I was just going to focus on the present and let it go. Then I totally failed at that and went through all of my previous posts on September 11ths over the years.

Two years ago I wrote a big long entry on everything I did that day. I closed it with a little postscript:

My parents had Kennedy. Their parents had Pearl Harbor. My only hope now is that my step kids never get an event of their own.

Well, so much for that. The kids have a thing of their own now. Oh, and our Federal government knew it was going to be horrible and decided to ignore it. 192,000 corpses, all laying at the cheeto dictator’s feet.

Sad

My step daughter, Bellana, just left. She’s moving back to school tomorrow. She’s staying at her dad’s tonight but she came here today to pack up a few last minute things. We aren’t going to see her until Thanksgiving, assuming Covid-19 doesn’t blow up all of the University’s scheduled plans.

I’m sad.

I’m thrilled for her, but I’m sad for me. Does that make sense? Does every step dad feel this way when their step kids leave for college? Probably. I hope she has a great time. I hope Covid-19 leaves her alone. I hope she learns everything there is to learn.

The Low Point of the Week

We had two distinct low points this week. I just experienced the lower of the two.

On Monday afternoon the kids left our house to go to their dad’s house for a couple of days. I had to say goodbye to them. I didn’t want them to go. I never want them to go.

Today was worse for two reason. They left for dad’s about an hour ago. This time they are going for five days. We won’t see them again until Wednesday. That’s bad enough, but when they left I was in a meeting and I didn’t get to say goodbye.

From suck to double suck.

I wish this weekend was a mom weekend instead of a dad weekend. I wish they were all mom weekends, but I get the reasoning. Give me a break, it’s been nearly four months of quarantine and I am being a selfish brat. I’m not sorry. Blah.

I miss them already.

Mondays Suck

Hello and welcome to the start of Quarantine Work Week #15. I have been working from home for roughly 27.4% of a calendar year and I still for the life of me cannot keep my damn glasses clean.

(Pause to clean glasses, once again)

I’m tired, both literally and figuratively. I had two excellent nights sleep in a row followed by a less than stellar night last night. I’m probably going to need to pack it in early tonight. I’m starting to really feel like I need a get away. In a normal, non-COVID universe, I would pack up the wife and the kids and go spend a day or two in New York, or hiding in the mountains, or something. That’s not happening now. We tried driving over to the ocean this weekend but didn’t make it. We got detoured. We weren’t planning to get out of the car, but at least we were going to see it, you know? It was still great to go for a drive with all four of us.

Massachusetts is supposed to be opening up restaurants today. What phase is that? Two? Three? Whatever. New Hampshire was already there so it’s not a big change to those of us who live on the state line. We talked about it yesterday. None of us feel comfortable going out to eat. We don’t even feel comfortable picking up take out. Even ice cream stands are out. This sucks.

Yesterday was Fathers Day. I have a tough time with that. I find it uncomfortable celebrating a day like that when the kids I’m celebrating with are some other guy’s kids. I feel like I am stealing from him. I know that’s not really how it works, but in my gut that’s how it feels. I did better than most years though. I called my dad in the morning and after that felt really depressed. Like… I just laid down on the bed and didn’t want to get up. Patches came over to see if I was okay, but all she did was show me her butt and smack me with her tail. It didn’t help.

Then my wife and the kids made me breakfast and that helped. I did spend some time alone bashing on the guitar and that helps, but not quite in the same way. That’s therapy for something else, and I can’t even put my finger on what. I checked with the kids to make sure they wished their father a happy Fathers Day. They did. That made me feel better too. They are really excellent people, those step kids of mine. I don’t think I screwed them up too much. At least whatever ways I screwed them up they were able to outgrow it and recover.

For the record, Step Parents Day is September 16th. I’m all in favor of celebrating that one, even though I share it with their step mother. That’s 100% A-Okay with me.

For the first few months of lock down we did a really good job not blowing money. It seemed very important to be ridiculously frugal. In the last week and a half, Jen and I both bought something. Neither was too expensive, but still expensive enough to take note of. It was easy. Too easy. It made us both temporarily feel good. Again, it was too easy. We need to get back to being frugal. I should be able to distract myself with the new guitar amplifier that is being delivered today. See what I mean? Way too easy.

It’s Monday. The first day of week #15. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Black Lives Matter. Keep your head down and do the right thing.

Good luck.