As much as I love my bonus children and never exclude them due to malice on my part, somewhere along the line, I separated my bonus mom life from my SAH wifommy life. I can go through a week or more without having more than a wistful thought about my bonus children. (Now that I am seeing those words typed before me I see how trifling that is but it is the truth) If my husband does not mention that he has spoken to one of the children or one of the children or their mothers does not call, they become out of sight out of mind.
Now, that being said, I pray for all four of my children during my daily quite time, and I think of them when it comes to planning our family calendar of events. But to purposely think about them during the day outside of seeing something that reminds me of them (ie a commercial for a cartoon my sons like to watch) No. My bonus children are not on my mind.
That is not the same for my husband. All four of his children are always on his mind. If I may be so bold, I would say my bonus children are on his mind even more so. He is not involved in the simple day-to-day routine of their lives. He can’t see them everyday. That is the nature of the beast. His mind can often be consumed with worry, fear, helplessness, guilt, and a touch of regret when it comes to my bonus children. That is constant whether he speaks of it aloud or not. I know it is there and it can become more apparent at various times.
When it comes to my bonus children, I conduct myself with a sympathetic understanding of my husbands feelings. However, somewhere along the line, I have found myself thinking that he thinks and feels the same way about situations involving my bonus children without a pang of pain as I do but that is not the case.
My husband and I agree on everything that concerns my bonus children. That agreement on his part comes with a sadness that I don’t have. For example, recently, one of my bonus children has been having a hard time in one of their subjects at school. The teacher gave some suggestions to the child’s mother. The mother called and told my husband what the teacher said. The mother disagreed with some of the suggestions. My husband and I did not. I was able to look at the situation matter-of-factly with no remorse or sense of responsibility. My husband could not. I could tell that it bothered him. Not because he felt that he should have been there or that the child’s struggle with that subject was his fault but because that was his child. Because he has not been allowed involvement past the mother’s comfortably he can’t assist with his own child past giving his opinion which is tolerated at best. That is painful.
When my husband gets off the phone with the newest news about one of my bonus children, he tells me about it. I listen. I wait for a break in is conversation or for him finish speaking (whichever come first) and then I state my viewpoints. My statements are quick and to the point. Usually, by the time the new news gets to my husband, the situation has been going on for some time so usually my advice is laced with “what do they expect us to do now” tone. Not to mention that if the problem/difficulty/growing pains/learning lessons/life etc did not originate with this household, we can’t fix it (more to the point, I am not responsible for it).
My husband knows that full well but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t painful each and every time. I noticed that with this last problem. I saw my husband’s face out of the corner of my eye when I was finishing giving him my viewpoint. It was brief. I saw it and just as quickly, it was gone. His expression and body language read that my words were heavy upon him.
It was then that I knew how golden silence really is.
Next time I will remain silent. Next time, I won’t allow a guttural sound to escape my mouth at the mention of the newest news. Next time, I will offer advice if I am asked for it. Next time, I will continue to encourage him, his decisions, and how he responded but without a verbal break down of an ugly situation to an atomic level. Next time.