It’s been a good day here so far. The kids are doing their school without games. Since I have shortened their school week to three days per week, I can watch my seventeen year old do his math for three hours,remind my fourteen year old to capitalize proper nouns and each sentence really does need both a subject and a predicate-really- and watch my smug eighteen year old tell me how President Johnson kept the Dominican Republic safe from democracy by sending federal troops in to fight those pesky democratic communist rebels (although in a twisted way she is right-we have been keeping the world safe from democracy for a while now….I digress). In other words,it has helped with my level of burn out.
I am enjoying the quiet while it lasts.
My husband and I were reflecting on the life we used to have. We used to have friends;many friends. We used to entertain. We went to other people’s homes. We played cards with other adults.We went to parties and barbecues. We went to church and my husband used to lead music. I taught AWANA’s. I went to women’s Bible studies. I had coffee out weekly (I still get coffee out occasionally. I still have a friend or two. I’m not that pathetic).
It has been a gradual decline. It takes more and more effort to connect with “normal” people. It is hard to explain why your then 15 yr old daughter cannot be swim with a friends daughter and teenage son and friends without adult supervision. How do you explain that your daughter will do anything someone asks-especially a boy? How many times must we explain to a pastor that we do not do youth groups. After a while it is easier just to stop going to church than to watch your children be ostracized.It doesn’t help my husband works every Sunday and puts in up to seventy hours a week.
We sometimes still get invited places-but rarely more than once.This is with the good kids. They are good kids,they just don’t fit well with other teens. They miss social cues. They fit better with younger children. We don’t fit anymore. Our politics have changed. Our view of what it means to be Christian has changed. Our ability to tolerate prejudice (not simply racial,but all) has vanished.We aren’t even considering the Youngest Effect. Once he is home things become exponentially more difficult.
I remember when my grown kids were kids and teens,we always had extra kids hanging around. It is weird not to have a houseful of other people’s children at my house. I miss the energy.I miss the conversations.
It is as if we fell into a vortex eight years ago and now all of our old life is gone.
I think my husband and I felt that it would get easier as the kids got older. I think we assumed that our isolation would be short lived-kind of like when you have very small children. I know we weren’t prepared for our friends’ reactions. No one warned us we would lose our social underpinnings.
I know this isolation isn’t healthy.
I just don’t know how to remedy it.
I am as stuck as my kids.