Our children match up perfectly age-wise, and they live in my 'hood. Really, universe, is that so much to ask? I think not.
Anyway, about a year ago, my friend told me about this family that sounded perfect. I begged her to set up a playdate but it never happened. Then I surprised myself by boldly just going over and knocking on their door. I told her the real honest truth... how I just wanted to meet a great family in our neighborhood, and hey how 'bout it? And she was SUPER cool. She designed their beautiful, modern house with all these frickin-frackin' reuse elements, including a swimming pool made out of a shipping container!! Homeschooling her two awesome boys while they waited for word about a daughter they were hoping to adopt from Ethiopia?? OK, am I embarassing myself with all these italics? Yes, of course, but it's not even like it was just all these trappings that made her cool, she was also really smart and interesting and laid back.... why wouldn't we fall deeply and madly in love and spend our lives, us 10, biking to and from from each other's houses, talking to each other on walkie-talkies, grilling fish out on the deck, doing everything together, why not....? OK, forget the fact that I'm a bit of a recluse... that's not important to this
So, we hung out once, and it was great. Easy and fun. Then, DUH, I made the mistake of meeting with them on a Friday afternoon... probably a time when my poor, public-school-going child is ground down to a nub and is tired and hungry and crabby and grumpy and a pretty emotional guy any way you slice it, really just in no position to impress the people that I was hoping to impress with what a great family we are. But really, if we were destined to be together, what did it matter? They would smile understandingly and say, "Oh, my kids do that too" as Jack hissed and spit and threw playground pebbles in my direction. But of course, what happened was, is that they never called us again, and didn't answer emails and calls, and while I do a pretty good job at just accepting lots of things as just what is, I still continue to just have a devil of a time with this one. Stuck in my craw is right. It does not help matters that I drive by their house several times a day. And it does NOT help matters, not one little bit, that I've seen her several times walking down to the river with a stroller, which means that they have their new little daughter. Or that I see her 8 year old son walking by himself with a violin case from a bus stop about 8 blocks away (across busy 7th street)... damn, she's so Free Range Kids! That's awesome!
I'm lonely for them, I don't even know them, and I still find it hard to believe we got dumped. And it comes up ALL too often in my thoughts because of course it hits me at my most tender spot.... did she just think I was a terrible parent? I'm sure I was just doing my normal thing, trying to be cool with Jack but also trying to play through it because my kids melt down a lot, they just do, whether I'm a good parent or not. Are hers just so even keeled that she'd never seen a flip-out happening for no-apparent-reason?? I can't help but also imagine that it appeared that her homeschooled children were happy and centered while my school-going child was a mess. Another total sore spot. Though I do happen to know almost for a fact, that Jack could go to school or not go to school, and he would probably still have made a spectacle of himself with a blazing tantrum several times a week at that age.... thankfully he seems to have mellowed (hear that, dream family??? He's mellowed!).
Of course I know that my real dream family would never judge us harshly and jump to conclusions. And of course I know that I have no idea what was going on for this particular family.... so many other factors that could play into this that I will just never, never know (and ooh that KILLS me! I just want to KNOW!). And of course I know that this is this fabulous opportunity to look at all the stuff that comes up for me around this, just grow and learn and change. But DAMN I'd like a chance to explain myself.... and say, "You've got to be kidding me! If you had any idea what a cool kid Jack was you'd be laughing your socks off while we sipped margaritas while floating in your swimming pool made from a shipping container!"
Oh, life, how you vex me. And does it ever occur to me the tiny hope that this new tiny daughter will really know how to pitch a fit....? Heavens no, the thought would never cross my temporal lobe! Now accepting applications for one very nice and funny dream family of 3-or-more, to love us through the tantrums and the messy kitchens. East side preferred.