There are many times I wonder if two days a week is enough to teach my step-kids so many things -manners, good hygiene, respect, the value of a dollar, what a normal relationship looks like... Are we doing enough in those two days to drive it home?
Today I need a little insight. A conversation that Jay and I had with B over the weekend is really weighing heavily on my mind. I try to avoid Jay's ex as a topic here, because my mother always said "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"; and I need to choose my words wisely in case my wonderful step-sons should ever come across this blog. However, I need to give you a little background on the situation in order for you to understand where I am coming from on this.
Jay and his ex-wife split 6 years ago next month. She was cheating on him with a colleague, and asked him to leave. He suspects the affair was going on for about 6 months before she finally told him. They lived separate lives under the same roof for about 4 months after that, until Jay finally moved out that June. The same weekend he moved out, the new boyfriend moved in. It's been a revolving door for much of the last 6 years. About 3 1/2 months after we told the boys we were pregnant with M, we got a phone call from B's teacher asking us if we were aware that his mom was also expecting. She and the current boyfriend had a baby boy a few months after M was born. This past December they finally got engaged.
This brings us to the conversation in question. The boys have yet to mention the engagement to us. We only know about it because she happened to mention it to Jay when he dropped the kids off one day last month. She said, "I don't know if the boys told you but...". This really got us thinking... They didn't tell us, but why not?
This weekend we were trying to iron out some scheduling conflicts. The happy couple is planning an engagement party, outside of her regular weekend of course, and that month we are jammed packed with things to do. Luckily, for once she is trying to be flexible, but it's still annoying. Anywho... Jay and I were discussing the plans, so we asked B if he knew about the engagement. He said yes, so I told him we were curious as to why they hadn't mentioned and he said "because we aren't too thrilled about it" :(
"It's more like a business relationship", he said. So, my response to him was - "I bet when daddy and I got engaged you weren't too thrilled, but now you're stuck with me & it's not so bad (chuckle, chuckle)". His response, "yeah, but I knew you were in love".
This breaks my heart! Don't get me wrong, I don't give a hot damn about her relationship in terms of her happiness, but I care about how it affects my boys. How insightful is this 13 year old boy to know that something is amiss here? It bothers me that he can see through the BS and see that the decisions made there are mostly based on what is financially beneficial. It bothers me that they will be permanently linked to this man that they don't view as a parental figure in any way. From what they tell us, he does very little in the way of supporting them in their daily lives. It bothers me that they may grow up thinking it's better to be wealthy with riches than wealthy with love; that they will think this is what normal looks like.
So this leads me to my question: Is 2 days enough time to teach them what a healthy, loving relationship looks like?