Two days and counting, until we pick Ben* up in Oregon on the way to our family reunion. (*I have decided to do away with the initials for the boys as I have links to Flickr and other sites with their real names. Beside, I'm easily confused not to mention lazy.) I'm very excited. So is Danny. He told me last night that Ben is not allowed to leave home again! In case you were wondering how long he had to be gone before I really missed him... I know I was... The answer is six weeks.
Up until the six week mark I was thriving on the peace and general lack of raised voices around our house in the evenings. I guess around that time the yelling faded far enough into the distance that I could miss him again. Does that make me a bad parent? Because I have come to a very uncomfortable realization this summer.
I am not a good parent to two children. Or rather, I am not the parent I want to be when I have two children. If I have both Ben and Danny I am stretched too thin. Ben is impossible in the morning before his pills kick in and incorrigible in the evening because of their rebound effect. In contrast, Danny is a joy in the morning - a smile personified. Mid to late afternoon is his witching hour. Between the two they grump, yell and otherwise bemoan the very existence of parental authority - all during the hours I am home from work. And it doesn't let up until they finally fall asleep. It just wears away at my patience. I yell. I am short tempered. I have no reserves to draw from.
But when I am alone with Danny I have the mental energy to slowly walk him through his little autistic quirks. If it's just Ben & I we fall into an easy routine that comes from the close mother/son bond seasoned well over these past 8 years.
I am ashamed to say that is not who I am when our whole family is together. I have enjoyed the mother I have been this summer, though I have missed my oldest boy. And I dread the return of the stressed-out harridan that cannot handle her own emotions or her children.