“Mom, we don’t have any internet.”
“Ok, let me see if I can figure it out.”
I spend the better part of an hour trying to re-configure our wireless service, at the same time I am trying to fix dinner. I click all the right icons on the computer. I turn on and off the router. I call Verizon and stay on hold for much too long.
“Ma’am. You have no power going to your box. Is your home without power?”
“You may want to check to see if the power cord is plugged in to your Verizon box outside.”
My usual response would have been, “Of course it is. No one has unplugged it. Something is wrong with YOU.”
But, I knew Jim had been fiddling outside today now that it had stopped raining and he had been working on trimming the hedge (which required power). My gut sank just a smidge.
I got off the phone, went outside, and sure enough, the power cord to our cable/internet box was dangling in midair.
I cannot focus on the time wasted. Or the fact that Jim would do something like unplug the cord, not remember unplugging the cord or not realize that he had once all of the chatter started in the house about having no internet or cable.
The hollowness I feel inside is becoming commonplace. It stays with me much too long. Although we have these episodes almost daily, it is nearly impossible for me to accept the upheaval that comes with each one. The time lost. The items broken and needing to be replaced. The mess left untouched. The items put in the wrong place.
The school notice that gets signed but there is no discussion or ramifications.
My heart is really breaking. Not only did we have the internet/cable episode, but after Brad went to bed I looked at his agenda to sign like we responsible parents are required to do daily. Hmmm. He has a test tomorrow. I wonder if he brought home his social studies notebook to study. I wonder if he did study. I had asked him if he did his homework, but I hadn’t really pushed the issue. Why didn’t I look at this before? Oh yeah, I was working, taking Frances to violin, fixing dinner and trying to fix the internet service.
As I search through his backpack for his social studies notebook, I see a slip of paper. I pull it out and see it is a notice that he had been disruptive in class. There at the bottom of the page is Jim’s signature.
“Jim, did you sign this?”
“Is this is your signature at the bottom of the sheet?”
Jim grabs the paper, does a little hmphfffing sound, hands it back to me and says ,”Yes. I did sign it.”
“Did you talk to Brad? Do you know what this sheet is? ”Deep down, I already knew the answer.
So, although Jim is capable of driving, trimming our hedge and doing dishes, I am asking Brad to make sure I am the one signing such paperwork from now on from school. I can’t count on Jim to play the Father card and discipline Brad and make sure that I know what is going on at school. Last year we missed several things because I had no clue. Another guilt trip….
I feel horrible. I don’t want to override him as a Dad. Jim is a GREAT Dad. He loves his children immensely. He has patience like no one else I have ever seen. He is someone to emulate. But, I learned last year the hard way when I found out no one was helping Brad with his homework or going over schoolwork with him. I know some things are inevitable, but it doesn’t make it hurt less to go through them.
Jim just misses the boat slightly. It just can’t click with him that he is the DAD and it is his responsibility to stop the tantrums, stop the talking back and yelling, stop the arguing, focus on manners and chores and follow up with questions if the agenda says there is a test tomorrow.
I think Jim is so focused on himself, he can’t focus on someone else. And I say that with no disrespect to him. He must focus so hard on each thing he is doing, each thought he is trying to convey and hold together, it is just too much for him to take on the added burden of overseeing the children on a day in and day out basis.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Jim has always been a better parent than I. His patience, his knowledge, his ability to relate and to work hard are great examples and make him a great Dad. I am sadden beyond these words can express that our children won’t get the benefit of his great parenting skills as they traverse through adolescence and into adulthood.