"Momma, I saw a seagull at 'Ani's house today!"
Theres lots of snow on the ground and were far from a coast, but I dont want to ruin Aeva's story.
"...a seagull mom?.." Iris doesnt share my enthusiasm.
"Actually momma, it looked more like an eagle..."
"Now THATS a cool bird Aeva"
"Actually momma...it looked like a seagull AND an eagle!"
"Thats a pretty silly bird kiddo..."
"A seagull mixed with an eagle?! Aeva that would be an Ea-gull...wait no... a Sea....gle...Nevermind."
The irony of it escapes Aeva but Iris and I have a shared love for word play. Ive discovered that lately and Im grasping at it like a lifeline.
Recently Iris and Aeva had a meeting with a nice lady at the local court house. The lady is assigned to our case and has been looking into how the girls live with each parent. Officially, shes evaluating my ex and I. To the girls, shes talking about 'mommies and daddies', a popular subject for the blondies lately. A soreness for me.
Its no secret that Ive had practice being the hybrid mom-dad parent for a while. My ex is in the military and has been pretty much the girl's entire lives. There have been training periods, deployments, oversea unaccompanied assignments, unit events, and other things that meant momma was on double duty. The difference now is that its not temporary and there is no headquarters to confer with on wether small child should be allowed to keep her hippy hair tendencies, or if Iris would truly benefit from piano classes right now, or if she should have an augmented allowance, nor anyone to dutifully discuss how to handle the small child's amusing yet slightly worrisome take on scissors:
"Momma...im not allowed my safety scissors anymore."
"At daddy's house...Cerberus...."
"Cerb? What did you do to Cerberus? Did you cut the dogs hair?!"
"No...I dont think so...I think it just...fell off...yeah. It fell off!"
"It fell off...the dog's hair FELL off??"
She stood by this. No matter what innocent excuse I tried to offer her in exchange for a confession....she STUCK by spontaneous hair expulsion on our old dog. It obvious that in her father's household the course of action was decided: Scissors were banned. What do I do in mine though? Who do I consult with? The incident cant even be talked about with him because we just dont communicate. Not right now anyhow.
Yet, I have an easy understanding with Aeva. She seeks to please her momma and will always, no matter how upset she gets at me for disciplining her, Aeva will come back to my lap seeking solace and cuddles. She had significantly less time in a mom AND dad household. Shes only ever really known the hybrid parent.
Although the fued in that child's heart and mind has been almost entirely invisible to the public eye, I've seen the struggle in her. Shes blamed me. Shes blamed him. Shes blamed both of us. Shes held herself entirely responsible. She comes to terms and then slips again. Ive watched her, wanting to comfort her but coming close has shut her down. Staying near by has made her resentful. There has been no way to bridge the gap because bridges were lost when her father and I split.
Iris has always been a Daddy's Girl. The first thing the court appointed evaluator told me when I entered her office after my children had privately spoken to her was:
There is no doubt that Iris is exactly her father's image as surely as Aeva is yours.
They look alike, speak alike, think alike and have so many common interests that I will admit...I have felt alienated from their connection since she was so very very little.
Ive been building bridges to Iris. Ive thrown out hand rails and boards for her to use. Ive learned to teach her my kitchen craft in baking as her father has taught her how to cook. We've taken up needle and thread. Word play. Harry Potter. TEXTING. We've discussed social studies via text when we cant be together and Ive found that we understand ourselves best in written words.
This hybrid parent stuff, its difficult. Its taxing. Mothers are natural nurturers, fathers are discipliners. Hitting a mid-point between both is nearly impossible most days.
The final court dates are rapidly approaching and soon everything will be finalized. It gives me a deep ache I worry will never be eased.
I dont miss being married. The majority of the marraige was trouble and heartache for both. I dont miss the unhappiness.
I miss the parenting. I miss being able to be just mom, even if I had to wait 12 months for a deployment to come to an end. I miss sharing the mutual responsibility of the children that are equally belonging to both of us. I miss knowing that the other person loves the child truly too.
Now its me, late at night, talking to myself:
Well, she cut the dogs hair. No doubt about it. I should take away scissor.
NO. Taking them away only enforces the taboo and hightens the obsession.
But is it worth risking her chopping off her hair, or her sisters hair...or ours??!
Shut up. Youre missing the big picture. Scissors stay.
Its me watching Iris at her birthday party:
Can you believe it? 10 years...
To think we nearly lost her.
Yes but she survived and those 2 weeks of hell in NICU are well behind us.
Now we worry more about training bras.
Really?! Training bras? Thats what you worry about?
Well its better than boys.
WTF, shes TEN! Shes into Harry Potter! Shell be single a long while so long as she remains this much a nerd!
Youre right.....Im redoing her wardrobe a la Hogwarts stat.
Its me deciding wether I should push for Kindergarten testing for Aeva a year early. Its me deciding wether or not to pull Iris from a school with a bullying issue.
While being a hybrid is tiresome, I think I fear bringing someone else in to my monologues in parenting more than the exhaustion from doing it alone. What if he doesnt love them like I do? Of course he WONT, but what if he doesnt get close at all? What if relationship wise were a match, but hes not a strong parenting match. What then?
Its late and now Im having this monologue with the computer screen and keys I can see when I squint (my contacts are dry). The amount of grammatical and spelling errors are sure to be high but Im way too fucking tired to care today. Ive been a Momdy and a Dadmy something fierce lately and I guess much like Aeva's genetically confused fowl, it doesnt much matter how I divvy it up as long as I can still make it fly right?