The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

March 16, 2008

Me and My Kids (again)


And that's OK, because I post about my kids a lot. And I like that I do, and I'm going to again.

And my camera battery ran out so I couldn't take new pix. So I've had to resurrect these ones. But I might have anyway.

I haven't seen my kids, together, in a couple of weeks. And I've been very busy and preoccupied in other ways, by work and other fine distractions, but my kids are never far from my mind or heart.

And as usual, I learned something about them again this weekend.

It really hit home what good friends they are. And, gulp, how I don't need to be part of that.

(Photoshop effort courtesy of Donn, aka Homo Escapeons or whatever he calls himself nowadays)

As a non-custodial parent of two kids I care more deeply about than anything else, two kids who live with their mom, a big thing with me is how much I miss out on their daily lives, the most intimate moments.

So I tend to gravitate towards over-compensating...wanting to give them everything, wanting to micro-manage them when they're with me, wanting them to see how much I care for them and how much I want to be a part of their lives...
But that's not really what they need. They need to know I'm there for them, of course. But sometimes, they just need me to BUTT OUT. They need me to get that they're surviving and are OK, thank you.
They want me to provide for them, to pamper them at times, to always understand I'm there for them...but at the same time, to gather that they're not little bubble babies and that they need some space, too.

So while sometimes I just want to smother them when they're with me, I can't. They want and need to feel they're themselves over here, the same way they do at their mom's place, where they (gulp) live, full-time.
And this past weekend, I finally got how while they like being with me, they still have to be themselves with me and, to be honest, they can most be themselves without me.
At least, without me being in listening distance.
And I learned this when I disappeared from the room they were in together and heard them talking and joking and teasing each other. I know they were talking about my son's girlfriend, for one.
And a lot of other stuff that clearly they felt comfortable joking with each other about, as long as I wasn't within earshot.
And that "stuff" is stuff they probably wouldn't have talked about together if I was there with them. Argggghh...

So as much as it pains me to say it, I guess it's impossible, in the words of that old Bee Gees Song, to say or sing to them, "I Just Want to Be Your Everything." Even as much as I want to be.

Instead, it's about just being their dad...and letting them be individuals, which they are evolving into, no question, with me being part of that equation, but especially now, without me being in the picture, kind of more in the background scenery...

If you think about it, how close were you to your parents? In the larger scheme of things, the teens and early 20s are all about becoming an individual, breaking away, finding your own way...
And they seem to have each other. They have a lot in common and I was amazed this weekend how much they kibitzed with each other when I wasn't right there. I told them both afterwards I had noticed this.
And they both smiled and nodded that it was true. To me it was a bit frightening, but it rang true. And it's cool. A bit hard to handle, but it's true.


  1. We siblings used to get my mother tipsy so she would fall asleep and we could talk freely.

    Now that she's gone, I wish my mother was here so we could have her in the same room and chat with her.

  2. Thats what I miss most, bickering with my brothers.Somehow we younger two have that closeness and it comes out when no one is around. Nor his wife,nor our mom.
    Those moments are but rare.

    And with those beautiful children in your life, you say, "There is nothing lighter than black in my world".

    *a very miffed Gautami*

    PS: When I am in a better frame of mind, I will come and ask about my birthday present which you neatly sidestepped.

  3. I don't know if it's all the hormones, but your post made me cry. You are so lucky to have those children and they are so lucky to have you.

    By the way, that picture of Monica as a young child always puts a huge smile on my face. She is just the most adorable little girl and looks so timid in that photo. It's just very endearing.

  4. MJ:

    Beautiful comment, girl.


    Yep, they may be rare, but you've still got to have those moments. That's what I figured out with my 2.

    Black is bold, it's dramatic, it's not wishy-washy, it's pure. Sorry you're miffed :-)

    Oh, and did you mention something about a birthday present? What were you thinking?


    You're a very emotional being, Anna...and you're filled with hormones too! Either way, crying's OK.

    Yeah, that's my favourite pic of her...she actually had the big space between her teeth like me, before I spent thousands getting them fixed...sniff...

  5. I've typed up about six comments now and deleted them all. There's so much to say and so few adequate words to say it in. I have no doubt that your kids love you as much as you love them, but a child's love and a parent's differ widely. A parent appreciates the child differently, because there was a time when the child was not there. The child is precious, and must be looked after and cherished. But to a child, the parent is just "there", just "exists", things are how they are and it's hard to imagine things being different.

    I feel that I'm in a weird generational gap right now - I'm old enough to befriend people of your generation, whilst young enough to remember clearly what it was like to be your children's age.

    I hated my parents at times in my adolescence. They seemed repressive and old-fashioned to me, but now I know they did everything out of love.

    That's enough out of me for now. I'm paying $2 for 20 minutes online, that's steep! I can't spend ALL day on your blog :P

  6. :)
    How things will shift when they make you a Grandpa. That's the metaphysical moment that either cements your relationshoip with your kids or has the opposite effect. Not that I'd know as I'm WAY too young to be a Grandma. :)

  7. WW, you have the most amazing way of seeing into the heart of a situation... and how difficult it is for a parent to do that with their own kids. Your insight floors me... and your eloquence lifts me... Your kids are so lucky to have a dad like you, and one day, they will realize it and be able to tell you that they realize it.

    That will make all this heartache so worth it... that they knew you understood what they needed and let them have just that... being a dad-away-from-them is no easy task and I am sure, in their own way, they know that and accept the limitations it has placed on you and them in their day to day lives.

    I really like the picture of Monica with her head on your shoulder. The love you two share is so very evident in that picture.

  8. Stace:

    Maybe I should start charging by the minute for you being on my blog!!!

    I think you've got it right. Kids don't think about how much parents love them or how they love them, they're so focused on getting their own stuff together.

    Parents are there, as you said, because they've always been there. They're like the wallpaper or the chip in the bathtub they've always known.

    Mine was just a quiet observation about something I picked up from down the hall over the course of a weekend. Anything serious they discussed as teenage siblings, it was when I wasn't around.

    I kind of lament it a bit, but I understand it and accept it. Everybody hates their parents at one time or another. It's just the way it is.


    Grandpa!! GRANDPA??? Eeeek! I agree, you're too young to be a grandma, but god, I don't feel ready for grandpadom yet either.



    Thanks, PG, but I think it's kind of forced learning, kinda like calculus or your first heart-break or something...just no way around it.

    I never feel as close and lovey-dovey with my kids as I think I should. You kind of have to grab it when it's there and available and not hiding.


  9. They would be this way even if you had had them with you full time. The fact they can act normally and as if you had been there full time, is a complete credit to how much you were, indeed are, an enormous part of their lives. I know it's a cliché, but it really is the quality of the time spent not the quantity. I know this from personal experience and I can tell you are a fantastic father.
    I will have both my girls here for the Easter break, the first time together since Christmas and i am SO excited - I know just how you feel!

  10. Maybe you should start paying me by the minute for being a loyal reader and commenter ;)

  11. I give my kids a lot of rope because during my Teens I kept my Mom at the end of her rope.
    I remember how mad I made her for atleast a decade. I swore that I would never do that.

    As long as the lines are open you have a chance of connecting. You are there for them and they know it...
    you need to remember that they have a lot of friends with really crappy Dads so they realise how good they have it.

    Relax. You're doing fine.

  12. Beautiful kids ..... and goodness, dont your lad look just like you.....

    They know you'll always be there for them and love them unconditionally.... and that is what matters..... it is our jobs as parents to gently and slowly ease our hold on the line that ties us to tightly.... it dont mean its broken, it just means you will always take up the slack as and when needed.... they know, they know....

    lovely post (((shake it all about))))...


  13. Ziggi:

    Thanks, I think you're right, it's the quality, not the quantity, although the missing out on stuff I'd get just by osmosis is hard to take.

    Have a great time, your Zigginess, with your daughters. We want to see pictures, too!


    But I have no Australian currency. I went to the bank to get a money order and the teller said to me, "Didn't you know, sir? Australia doesn't really exist."

    Wherever you're from, you sure are a loyal reader and commenter, Lovely Stace of Canberra.

    And that is priceless. :-)

    Donn (the blogger formerly known as Homo Escapeons):

    I am relaxed, for the most part. I don't know about other crappy dads but all I can do is all I can do.

    Thanks, Buddy.


    Yeah, they know, they know...and that's all I need to know. :-)

  14. oh my goodness ww... that rings so very true to me too.
    as damien grows older he spends less and less time with me and more time being who he is. with his friends and at school.
    some days i long for the four year old who would snuggle on thje couch with me, for the two year old who would crawl into my bed just for the fun of sleeping snuggled up to mommy... and now he needs me to "hold his hand" less and less.

  15. Angel:

    Yeah, ain't it the truth...but when he needs to, my son does talk to me, so all's cool...


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