In life there are things we have no control over. Perhaps, I am the last one to realize this *big grin*. Summers always present with challenges in my world. I am a step mother. I chose this life in 2000 and for most of the years in between I have been the primary caregiver for summer visitation, as I work in a school system and my husband had little leave. The challenges of step parenting have been compounded by various dynamics, some which shall remain unnamed. I have been dragged through many choices, plans and summers kicking and screaming – fighting against my husband and winding up greatly weakening the foundation of our marriage each year. One of my stepchildren has some diagnosable issues – if only the custodial parent would have them diagnosed. This disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, impacts his social judgment, behavior, attitude and common sense. (Asperger’s encompasses so much more and certainly not all children who have this disorder exhibit the above behaviors and my potential lack of warmth in the above description is more out of frustration that everyone but the person who can do something about it, sees it) He confesses no one likes him and quite honestly, I am sure constant redirection of behavior does nothing to contradict this assumption. His mother just thinks he is bright and will hear nothing of any problems from anyone in her life (she definitely would NEVER listen to us)- he is bright. He tries to please people, but household rules are constantly disregarded, more things than typical are broken, and public social behaviors would be deemed inappropiate if he were 4 – he is 11. In my field, I have attended many trainings on this disorder and have become more convinced this is at the root of his “problems”. I care about him and know his life would be a little easier if there was cooperative intervention and not such garbage and animosity directed toward everyone who sees that there might be a problem. Finally, one week into this summer’s visitation and seeing his son in many structured settings – family excursions to Busch Gardens, church services and church suppers, friends homes – my husband is seeing how pronounced the problem is. The coincidence is that this year I didn’t fight Dave on anything about my role and responsibility in visitation. No whiny complaints about how I get “stuck” using up my vacation every summer (these arguments generally commence around spring break – something I am not proud of – I am very human – TOO human). Instead my demeanor was mainly just a quiet reservation and determination to be compliant and easygoing out of love and commitment to my husband. This breathing space has allowed him to separate immature stepmom behavior from genuine stepmom concern. He in turn has become more concerned – not sure anything will become of this as his rights to seek intervention in this area are less than that of SS’s mother’s.
There is another step issue in our world that I really rather not express explicitly. Suffice it to say, someone in our world is a drama chaos magnet and when life is status quo for more than 3 months, it must be systematically dismantled or abruptly destroyed. It is an observation I have consistently made in the past causing huge rifts between my husband and myself – I am not proud of this. I have made these observations hurtfully and angrily toward him. This time as the chaos started to unfold around this corner of his life, I kept my mouth shut – completely. His observations have sounded like mine – he arrived at that place on his own because I gave him quiet space.
I guess I am presenting myself to be a know it all. I know very little – I do know that I am a fighter on things I am convicted about and these two issues I was very convicted about and when I fought my husband it was like beating my head against a wall. Then, not only did he continue to disagree but resented me and the resulting scars still remain in the foundation of our union. My supernaturally driven decision to step back on all fronts, let go if you will, has yielded him the ability to put his energy into observing his world and not fighting with me (and vice versa).
As I have lowered my attack stance, my heart has been able to recognize how very painful this must be for my husband to come to terms with the stated and unstated above realities. Because there is not this deadlock, I see the anguish he feels over these issues – we are teammates and not adversaries. There is no “I told you so” – none whatsoever. I am sad in many ways that what I insisted upon is the reality in which we must function.
Letting go is something I have such trouble doing. I want to hold onto all areas of my life. In my marriage, I learned and will probably have to relearn that there are areas I cannot control – if I cannot control them, why fight it so hard? I wonder how many areas of my life would run more smoothly if I would just let God be in control. I seek to relinquish more control daily – but I think I will never have the relationship with God that I so desire until I give it up to Him.