Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Denied Acces, Making Pizza, and the Fragile State of the Family

It seems like whenever Nicholas and I try to do something, we get denied by some greater, unforeseen force. It's a bummer because he gets so disappointed, and it makes me angry, though I'm working on my anger management over here. Last week it was at the River Club, they wouldn't let us do anything because it's one of those uptight places that don't like kids. That's their right.

This time it was at the Rec Center. Audrey had choir practice (she's really excited, BTW), and for Nicholas it can get really hard to sit through it all, so I had the brilliant idea of going to the rec center to play foosball or pool or ping pong, but when we got there, I forgot to factor in the darn daycare. They have after school care from 3-5, so there was no way we were going to get on those games. Fair enough, they have their gig, but it didn't help me explain to him that we couldn't do it, and on the heels of the previous denial. What a drag.

We ended up going to the library and that was sort of fun, got to see Marie and Colleen, though I get a weird vibe off her. And her son Finn and Nicholas were supposed to be buddies. It's my first time hanging out at the library, and it's a nice place, but I guess we're partial to the Howe. I hate to seem disloyal.

Audrey's choir is not too long, in fact, it's pretty short and I wonder how much they really get done, but they get it done. The kids are completely out of control, and it must be frustrating for MaryAnn, Lois, and Gene. They do a great job, though. Some of the kids refuse to listen to authority, and some of them seem beyond apathetic in singing for the group. It's a shame, it's a wonderful experience.

Nicholas wanted to go bowling again, but maybe these are the good lessons in life where we learn we can't always get what we want. We came home and made pizzas, which is always a lot of fun. Audrey and Nicholas do a great job, and they really enjoy it. I used a dough that I'd frozen and I don't think it had enough time to rise, you need more time with frozen dough.

As a result, we didn't get a good rise out of it, but it was adequate. Most importantly, the kids have fun making them, and they work really hard.

Finally heard from the Bolands, we had lost touch. It wouldn't be an issue except that Audrey is pining for Clara and it's been a roller coaster emotional ride at home with my anger issues and my hurting Audrey's feeling. We're going to see them tomorrow for desert, maybe even sooner, though we're slated to see Gary and Tori today. I hope the truck makes it up the road to their house. It's one of those situations that gives me anxiety and stops me from doing thing in the first place, so I'll stop being such a wimp and just do it.

My final thoughts are on the fragile state of the family, or more specifically, marriage. I just found out that yet another couple are having problems, and it blew me away, though there were small signs that I'd seen, and now in retrospect, it was pretty clear. My first thought was that there seems to be an inordinate number of failed marriages up here. There are so many single parents and divorces of people we know, but then Ruth and I got to thinking that the national average is 50%, so maybe we're just seeing this firsthand.

Whatever be the case, we know an inordinate number of divorced couples or single parents. In fact, when we lived in the red barn, all of the tenants seemed to be divorced or single. It was a little depressing. Anyway, the news of the latest family hit me like a ton of bricks, and I didn't know what to say other than offer my support. The first question that always runs through my mind is why? What happened, and what can you do to rectify it, and what can we learn from all this. It's a tough situation because we are friends with the husband and wife, and our kids are friends. How do you interact with them without it being awkward?

It does explain one thing-why we haven't gotten together with these guys for ages. They've been completely absent from our lives, and of course we assumed it was because they hated us for whatever reason. Now it sort of makes sense.

You kind of hope that they can reconcile things, but when it comes to questions of infidelity, especially repeat offenses, I think the bridge has been burned and there's no turning back. Sad.

Of course, it got Ruth and I thinking about us, and how it seems like at times we're under siege over here, the family that holds it together in a vast cauldron of tumult. On the one hand, it bums me out, but on the other it has no bearing on our lives... sort of. They are our friends, but we know well enough what we value in life and how we want to live it. You have to live your life with blinders sometimes, and you can't let the outside world influence, or for that matter, corrupt you.

My theory is that it the strength of a family, and consequently your ability to weather storms, is how solid your foundation is as a family unit. What I mean is, a family that lives it's life together, doing things and living as one, has a better chance of staying together. Call me a fool, it wouldn't be the first time, but when you start creating disparate lives and think it leads to a happier life together, I think it only increases the challenge.

The single biggest problem with this is that it involves sacrifice and compromise. To live as a family, you really have to get over undue obsession over your own stuff. That's what parenting is all about, isn't it? The people who are unable to make these compromises and instead worry mainly about themselves make it harder on not only their family to prosper, but make it harder on themselves.

I don't profess to have the answers, but I seem to see this a lot. A family is a family, a team, if you will. An individual is exactly that, as well. Not unlike the sports analogy of the team. A bunch of superstars looking out for their own stats will only get you so far, but a cohesive team of players willing to play their roles will win the championships.

We'll see how this goes. We give our full support to him, but it'll be weird seeing the wife over the holidays, if we even do. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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