Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stuck in my craw

SO, I have lots of wonderful friends. Lots of great friends that I love and that I either see or don't see or connect with or don't connect with at any given time or for any number of reasons and that's all right and wonderful. There's just this one dream family that I've been talking about for years now, though, and I still don't count them among my friends. This is this best-friend family that just clicks perfectly with ours... that lives nearby... that isn't turned off by big bound-y boy energy, and forgives us our foibles, and is just so much easier to be with than when we are on our own.

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 fantasy story.

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.

26 comments:

Lindsey said...

You know I'd have you. I'd make you a cup of British builder's tea and we could laugh at the zucchinis covered in blue paint while the kids flipped out like ninjas and hammered nails into the rotten fence of our rental home ;) I have a "pool", it's kind of shallow and muddy though. I'm assuming it's a pool, because the kids like to roll about in it wearing their swimming suits.

Kami said...

Oh man, Lindsey. Y'all could take that home schooling family with one hand tied behind your back. I'd know I'd died and gone to heaven if I had you guys for neighbors. If fate ever tempts us to move to Cali, we'll be right on the other side of that rotten fence (and knowing my boys, probably climbing over it at all hours day and night). Oh the tinkering we'd do!

Mary said...

You got me out of lurkdom with that one, because I basically was whining at my sister the other day and I could have used those first two paragraphs verbatim (including the part about three over-rowdy boys). I don't know where you live but if you lived in my neighborhood, we'd be bff's (best families forever).

Sharon said...

I'd apply for the job in a heartbeat... Alas, a vasectomy prevents us from meeting the minimum child requirement. And you'd have to move back to Oregon.
Wait...do dogs count as kids? If so, I'm in. Yesterday, as the kids were traversing the last little shred of my last little nerve, my sweet dog waltzed in to the house COVERED in cat poo. Hooray!

Ms. Erin's HeartRoom said...

our children could tantrum together! Mine is a champion tantrum thrower :)

Kami said...

Wow Sharon, you guys got the snip? I thought with the beautiful amazing children you've been having you'd want to keep going til your house was bursting at the seams. Diego definitely counts and man o man I wish y'all weren't waaaaaaaaaaay over there on the other end of the Oregon Trail.
Mary, where do you live? I'm here in Austin, TX.
And Ms. Erin, definitely! Yay for tantrums! (well not really, but you know... the kids are just keepin' it real....)

Stephanie said...

Ok, so I've been wanting to send my daughter to one of your Tinkering classes, but we've had such a busy summer it hasn't worked out. Now I stumble across your blog from somewhere else on the web and read your post, which I say repeatedly to anyone that will listen. As I continue to read other posts I see your son has started at the 9th street school house, which I fell in love with but she didn't want another young-in (4.5 year old!). I think you must be my East side doppelganger!

Kami said...

Where do you live, Stephanie? Sounds like you guys should come over and play, some day soon!

Amy said...

I love you Kami! :-) This post is just delicious and real and wonderful, just like YOU! xoxo

Anna said...

Oh Kami.... I feel your angst! I'd love for my kids to tantrum with your kids any day. And we could just laugh our heads off at them. Don't sweat it, "perfect" families are overrated anyway. And who knows, maybe they have lame taste in music or don't like ice cold beer, or something essential like that.

FrogMom said...

Hi, I am a new-ish follower. I am not sure of the timeline for this - or how close they were to bringing their new child home when you met her - but it is quite possible their disappearance has more to do with the arrival of their new little one than to anything you have done. I have adopted three children, and I know that each time we had to "cocoon" for a while - limit visitors and outside interaction - while our child adjusted to her new home. Even our interaction with extended family was limited. This lasted several months and was true for my infant too. Even trips to Target were a bit too much for a while. Just a thought. Best wishes!

cheris said...

Oh I'm totally there with you.

Stephanie said...

Kami, We'd love to come play! I technically live in Spicewood, but we spend most of my time on the east side when we are in Austin.

Kami said...

Oh, Amy, you are the sweetest! Love you too, my dear woman!

Kami said...

I know, Anna, maybe she never needed a beer because she never needed to take the edge off because she never had a day when her kids were screaming and fighting all day.... mmm, delicious beer. I hope life with your newly minted three is treating you grand you awesome lady! And I hope we will see you around sometime soon, and I hope everyone will be in fine spirits (though I will be utterly compassionate and understanding if not ;) ).

Kami said...

You're so right, Frog's mom.... we just never know what is going on for other people. It's easy to go around feeling like we're the center of the universe :) Thanks for the thought... always want to cut any family welcoming a new little one all the slack in the world.

Kami said...

Right on, Cheris. One day our paths will cross... I can't believe I've never met you!

Kami said...

Alright, Stephanie! Bring it on! Let's play some afternoon, just not Tuesday or Friday... you can email me at kwilt@hotmail.com. Oh, and what are the ages of your kids?

andrea said...

That was one of my favorite blog posts I have ever read.

I wish I lived near you. Two boys, sometimes with tantrums, a dog and three cats, one with three legs.

damn.

Kami said...

Oh, Andrea, thank you! I wish you lived nearby, too. Where in NC? We almost moved to Asheville 10 yrs ago but decided on Austin instead. Who knows, maybe one of these days.....? :)

raini said...

they have no idea what they're
missing. beautiful, real you and your beautiful, real family.

Mamaholt said...

Girl,

WE are your dream family. I'll start looking on the east side for a new house. OK? xoxox
I've had this happen too.
Sucks.
She's missing out ... big time. And you know...if that scared her off, maybe better she left cuz we mamas don't need to feel any more challenged by parenting that we already do.
We love y'all JUST the way you are!
The Holts

Kami said...

RAINI! You are so sweet. You are the realest, and the beautifulest. Can't wait to see you soon!

Kami said...

AhH!H!HH!!HHHHH! HOLTS!! It is my honor to know you and you are better than any dream family I could imagine. Your real metal merry-go-round trumps her dumb pool any day! Plus you guys are just blazing cool and I love you! Thank you for being one hundred percent pure awesome!!

Sarah Bork Hamilton said...

Dear Universe- please curve my life around so it intersects with Kami's a lot more often. Thanks a mil.

Dianebob said...
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