It’s been a while, I know.
And although I admit that part of my absence from the blog has been sheer laziness/lack of direction/summer immobility, the remaining excuse has been situational.
I’ve been waiting for the right time to share with you all parts of my life that I’ve only hinted at in the past.
I’ve mentioned several times before that I often struggle with the direction in which Headed Into Overtime should, well, head.
My initial intent with the blog was to be real, raw and honest about what Jamey, Caeley and I were going through in Jamey’s hospice process.
Sure, I’ve filtered content and edited details I felt were too intimate or private, but I’ve never attempted to put lipstick on a pig.
That’s not my goal here and that’s not me as a person.
That being said—
Part of the reason I’ve been away the past few months is because I’ve been busy with my new relationship.
I wasn’t comfortable going into details about my new relationship until tying up some loose ends(read also touching base with my “boyfriend’s” eventual ex-wife).
Yes. You read that correctly. I used the term boyfriend.
I hate that term, honestly.
It really shouldn’t be used in relationships past the age of, say 25.
But we’re much more than “friends”, so that term is out the window.
And I hate the term “partner” because it makes me sound pompous.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being either, but neither truly reflects me.
And don’t even get me started on the term “Lovah”…
So why don’t we do this then, HOTties?
Why don’t we refer to the guy in my life as Robbie.
Yes. Robbie works just fine.
(Ok..disclaimer–I don’t refer to him using the diminutive of Robert to be cutesy or sweet–his birth certificate actually reads as Robbie)
Weird, I know.
But he’s British–those people do weird things all the time–like putting “u”s where they don’t belong and calling bathing suits “swimming costumes” and apologizing(apologising) for everything–Even for apologizing too much.
End British rant.
So there’s Robbie.
And there’s an eventual ex-wife with whom I’ve shared several civil emails and there are their three children.
Two of said children know about me. One does not.
Both Caeley and I have met his oldest child and our time together was actually pretty relaxed and pleasant.
Can’t guarantee it’ll always remain as such, but she’s 18 and will soon be off doing her own thing.
I anticipate our future limited time together to be as comfortable as it was the few times we did hang out.
In July, Robbie moved into a 3 bedroom twin outside of Philly.
That 3 bedroom twin is being converted into a 5 bedroom twin.
If you’re doing the math(or “maths” if you’re a Brit), you are probably assuming that the only one who will eventually have to share a room in this twin (that I shall refer to as “The Ardmore House”) is yours truly..
Unlike everyone else, I don’t have my own, dedicated bedroom when I go to visit The Ardmore House.
But Caeley does.
And loves that fact.
Her room doesn’t have walls yet, but that hasn’t stopped her from already designing the layout, paint color and tv size.
Yes. Her room at her “city” house will have a tv.
She’d been begging me for years to allow her to have a tv in her room.
My standard response had always been, “When you move out and have a room of your own, you can have a tv.”
I never even thought to add, “Or.……if I happen to meet a guy in mid/late 2015 on Match.com who buys a 1930s 3 bedroom twin with the sole intention of renovating it so that you can have your own bedroom when you visit; a place that you can retreat to and call your own and so that one day, in the somewhat distant future, he, his kids, you and I could maybe cobble together some semblance of a rag tag international, not-at-all Brady Bunch but managing to spend some time together under one roof without killing each other family-ish…..if that EVER happens…….. then yes. I’d allow you to have a tv. But until then, keep scotch taping(or whatever you Brits call it) your iPhone to your bed and pretending it’s a tv.”
No. For some reason that exact scenario never popped into my head as a future realistic scenario at all.
In all seriousness, this transition has been emotionally challenging for all involved parties.
It hasn’t been easy.
Robbie’s been involved in Caeley’s life to some extent for about a year now.
From day one, he and I have made it clear both to each other and to Cael that he will never, ever replace Jamey.
And although he’d never suggest he was her dad, the three of us do things together that families do.
We go out to dinner together. We go out to dinner to a better restaurant this time because this place actually serves grilled cheese unlike the last restaurant you forced me to go to together. We went to San Diego together. Luckily, they have grilled cheese there.
Basically, we try to have fun together–just the three of us.
And while watching Cael laugh and have milk shoot out of her nose and just be a kid again for a change is rewarding for me, it’s often eventually painful for her(and I don’t mean the milk/nose part).
She’s torn, as I imagine many kids are when faced with similar situations, whether it be having deceased or divorced parents.
She’s torn because she still feels a strong allegiance to Jamey and his memory–as well she always should.
But she also feels as if enjoying the company of Robbie is somehow betraying that allegiance to Jamey.
And so her reaction to this realization is often the same–she shuts down, stops being happy, starts reframing Robbie as the annoying guy with the stupid accent who’s taking my mom away from me and goes from happy kid to sullen teen in a matter of moments.
So she goes through a period of, “I hate him”, “you’re choosing him over me”, “you love him more than you ever loved daddy”—-yeah–kids are great at not only stabbing you in the heart, but twisting the hell out the knife just to make extra sure you feel it.
And of course, my immediate reaction is to become upset, hurt and defensive all at once.
She excels at feeding into my own fears and issues. It would be all too easy(well, no it wouldn’t) but in a way it would make my life a lot smoother if I broke off everything with Robnie and devoted all my time and energy to her.
But here’s the thing:
I’m happier with Robbie in my life than without.
Simple as that.
And while I’m willing to negotiate with terrorist pre-teens; make some concessions and do some placating(see also bribing) to ensure that life with both Robbie and Caeley can be as harmonious as possible(see also…allowing the aforementioned tv in the bedroom), I’m the adult in this relationship and I get the final say on what’s best for her and me.
And, as stubborn as she is. As confusing and rewarding and painful and rage and sadness and joy and contentment-inducing as it may be for her to be around Robbie and me, in the end I know her life will be happier with Robbie in it than without, too.
Simple as that.