Thank you all for your compassionate words of support, empathy and understanding. I can’t tell you how much they helped. I can’t tell you how much writing that post helped–the processing it provided me. Yesterday I thought a lot about how it’s not so much Osita’s behavior that is making me so upset, but my own responses to it, so I worked really hard to respond to her in ways that felt appropriate. It was definitely difficult and there were moments I wanted to tear my hair out, but at the end of the day I felt better than I had in a long time. Mi.Vida and I plan on sitting down and talking about the kind of behavior we expect from her and the consequences we are comfortable enforcing when those expectations are not met. I think we’ll both feel more capable when we have a better understanding of what we need from her and what we are willing to view as acceptable 3.5 year-old-in-transition behavior.
Yes, yesterday was better for me, but it was really hard for Mi.Vida. I’ve been home with both kids for eight days now so I’m getting used to all-Osita-all-the-time-plus-Monito-needs-you-all-the-time-too and how overwhelming (and grating) that can be. Mi.Vida has not and I think it was a little jarring. Most of the time he was emitting this kind of toxic stress that was incredibly hard to be around, let alone support him through. I will admit that I finally reached my breaking point and was kind of a bitch about it. But seriously, I can barely hold my own shit together–I mean I’m already at capacity–and I just don’t have anything left in me to accommodate his inability to deal.
Luckily we ended the night with an honest–but difficult–conversation about how hard this transition has been for both of us. Mi.Vida kept mentioning how this is so much harder than he expected. He also kept repeating that he should have know–all his friends with two kids had told him that having another one was not like adding twice the work, but instead seemed exponentially more difficult–but he just didn’t let himself consider what that might mean. I admitted that I had read several books and did realize how hard it was going to be, but that I hadn’t mentioned it because I thought it would freak him out and make him panic. Plus I didn’t think it would help him prepare for the reality of it. I mean, knowing it was going to feel impossible didn’t prepare me when the feeling of impossibility smacked me in the face, and then just kept right on smacking me every day after.
I mean, can knowing really make it any easier when it actually happening? Most people understand that becoming a parent will fundamentally change their lives but that doesn’t mean they are prepared when it actually happens. Every child is different and we can’t anticipate how we’ll react to the needs of our children–or our partners–until we’re faced with those needs.
I knew it was going to be hard when we brought our son home, but I didn’t know exactly in what ways it would be challenging. I didn’t know how hard the transition would be for Osita, or how her distress would manifest. And while I had a good idea how Mi.Vida would react to the stress, I couldn’t foresee where I would be mentally or emotionally as far as being able to provide support. There are just too many variables, and like packing for an intensive hike in the mountains, one can’t possibly bring all the necessary provisions. There will be situations that we aren’t prepared for. I guess neither of realized that those situations would be occurring on a daily basis and that we’d ALWAYS feel ineffectual and ultimately incapable.
Our wedding is less than a week away and I couldn’t feel less prepared, both logistically and emotionally. At this point Mi.Vida and I are barely holding it together separately and as a couple we’re totally floundering. It’s not that I don’t think we should get married, I just wish we were at a stronger place in our relationship when we do it. There is nothing quite like standing in front of your family, with your relationship stripped to its foundation, declaring that you’re prepared to commit to this person for the rest of your life, when you’re not even sure you’ll make it through the next 24 hours, let alone the next 24 years.
My goodness, this is so much harder than I thought it would be. I suppose it’s good we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, if we did we’d probably have been too terrified to go through with it. And then we wouldn’t have this miracle in our lives. And despite all the struggle, he’s definitely worth it. And I suppose we will make it through.