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Letter To A Friend

Dear David,
These last few weeks have been filled with Christmas, school, vacation, schedules, keeping my brains on my head and blogging and given me no time to write to you. Sorry about that. I feel like I’m pedaling fast and going nowhere. I guess that's what most of raising children is all about. You push and prod and hope and watch and they move along at a snails pace until finally you notice a change. Not a life for the faint of heart.

I was sitting here thinking about how different our world is from a year ago. There's nothing going on now that even remotely resembles January 5, 2010. I was making silver glories, quietly working on a flute, writing Circe and hanging out with Tish. Buddy just got temporary custody of the boys and moved into an apartment. Tish had lots of classes to teach and was thinking about possible retirement except for the classes. Well, here we are a shy 12 months later and you know the rest. I haven’t been in my flute shop in a couple of weeks and I’ve only had time to work on my novel for a couple of hours in the last month and that makes me edgy.

What makes this a day to mark is that the final court papers came through and the judge granted Buddy permanent full custody of all three boys along with all the other protective stipulations he asked for. Debbie has the same visits she’s had all year and so do her parents. The boys really are here to stay and that's a great thing, somewhat a scary thing, and inevitably an exhausting thing. My hair hasn’t turned gray yet but, like every president that takes the oath, before my term is over I'll have aged more than my years.

This evening didn't go so well with Kit and that always leaves me anxious. It was supposed to be my day off but it never really is. I got home from the pub, where I did a bit of writing, to feed dogs and make supper for me and Tish. Bud was an hour late getting the boys fed, nothing new and Kit hadn't done much with his homework (also nothing new). So I had to push things along and settle down with Kit after supper to work through his math.

Because we have a parent/teacher meeting next week, I'm pushing him. I need to learn the limits of what he understands and what he just doesn’t care about. We’re both frustrated. He doesn't want to do anything that requires even the slightest complication and after we butt heads neither of us feels very good about it. He told me last night he doesn't think school matters because he's going to be a famous singer. He's in the fourth grade and he's already talking about being a drop out.

I told him about me being a smart kid who finished high school 2 years early but got no encouragement from my family to succeed so I barely passed my grades and never made it to college. He couldn't understand why I'd still have that regret and want to go to college even now. I guess learning for it's own sake isn't particularly a 9 year old's concept of a good time. Of course, it's something that Tish and I have in common - and did even when we were kids. She was raising her chickens and getting herself to church and studying about Greece all without a single prod from her parents. That makes it harder for us to understand kids with no motivation.

Sorry to sound so down, but these worries weigh me down like wet clothes. Anxieties about my own well being got substituted with anxieties about theirs. I guess we could all see that coming. You know my theory on self doubt being the root of all human achievement and failure. There's a fine line between finding success and happiness or dropping over the edge and it all hinges on self doubt. These boys are riddled with the stuff. Tio hides it behind bravado and clique and Kit wears his on his sleeve. If only understanding it were the cure!

Anyway, I shouldn't bear down on you with my late night hand wringing. I haven't heard from you in a while and some news about work and your family would be nice to hear. I've been dreaming about Mudda recently and miss her, so I really should find time to take a trip your way, maybe even bring one of the boys for an overnight.

I found a Star Trek trivia game for both of us for Christmas that should pit us against some seriously useless information for a few of our late night bouts. Tish and I have seen 4 Cary Grant movies on our fest. Let me know your faves (we already saw His Girl Friday and Father Goose - sorry) and I'll dig them up. I've probably got 15 more.