I don't travel much, but somehow I am finding myself in a back-to-back trips situation and I'm feeling the stress, sweethearts.
In a few days, Hatfield and I are travelling out to Seattle for a week to see her birth family.
We are staying with Granny and Papa, who are technically her grandparents but who are the kindest and most generous people and who are grandparents to ALL of my children. Granny and Papa have visited over the years, call, send cards, gifts, etc., and Hatfield is ecstatic to be getting in some time to see them.
We will also be seeing some aunts, uncles, and her birthdad and his family.
Hatfield has not seen her birth father since the Mister and I were married back in 2000. We've never been back to Washington since then, and he has never come east to see her in the past 11 years. Years even went by before we'd hear from him via mail, and now he corresponds with Hatfield on her birthday and at Christmas.
But, it seems like the right time to go. He is married now and while I've never met his wife, I find myself truly liking her through our facebook interactions. They have her two girls from a previous marriage, and two boys of their own.
I'm nervous, though, to do this. Hatfield has grown up in a very secure, stable home environment. She is incredibly bonded with the Mister, who adopted her at age 3.
The Mister and I have always been very matter-of-fact about her birthdad; she has one, he lives in Washington and has a family, they are nice people. We've never said a bad word about him.
I'm worried, though, that she'll somehow come home feeling conflicted about her life. Thus far, she has never felt abandoned or wronged by her birthdad and his actions.
By visiting, I'm afraid that we'll be opening up a can of worms. I'm afraid that she's suddenly going to feel pressure that she now somehow has to fit into his life and his family. That she'll feel like she has to fill some void in birth dad's life due to his choices years ago.
We just want her to have a fun trip where she can start putting faces to names. We don't want her to feel the pressure that she suddenly has this 'other family,' because she's not ready for that. Not yet.
We know it's inevitable. At some point in her life, as she ages, she'll look at the entire situation and think, "Why the hell did you never visit? Why the hell couldn't you get your act together when I was a baby?"'
And, we'll be there to help her through that.
Thus, this entire thought process has me questioning why I am doing this. Even though I know it is the right thing to do, at the right time. Additionally, we don't want Hatfield to hit some difficult teen years and develop the "grass is greener on the long-lost birth parent" side. We'd rather her get to know him and his family so she has a realistic perception. Hatfield may someday want to escape little brothers in our house, but it certainly won't be to his as she has two adorable little half brothers out in Washington. She's doomed in the little brother arena, mwahahahahahaha.
In all seriousness though, everyone out there is so excited to meet and get to know Hattie. They are going to loooooovvvvveeeeeee her, because how can you not? She is the kindest, most laid-back, easy-to-be-with kid on the planet. So in this day and age of a rocky planet, the more people in my kids' lives to love them, the better. And who knows? Maybe she'll want to go away for college (although this would throw a major wrench into my blissful daydream of her attending UWGB), and then hopefully she'd go out there where there is family in the vicinity.
So while I'm looking forward to our trip, right now I'm in the throes of pre-trip What in the Hellenistic Age was I thinking!?!?! (family joke courtesy of Hatfield.)
The Mister is staying home with the four youngest, hopefully homeschooling, but if keeping them fed, hygienic and clothed gets in the way of his homeschooling plans, then so be it.
Because upon our return home, we are home for 2 days, and then the Mister and I turn around and leave for a weekend getaway to a spa/resort that he won at work.
My mother is staying to watch the kids; one of our good family friend's delightful 16-year old daughter is coming to help as well. But still, I don't know if 48 hours is enough time to put the house back together after the Mister flying solo for 7 days, snuggle and bond with the children, get homeschool back up and running, purchase food and activities for the weekend, and pack for our trip.
Who am I kidding? I know that I can't do that.
So, it's triage time. Focusing on the most important, saying Eff It to the rest (or, alternatively, stuffing it into the basement storage closet for the "out of sight, out of mind" approach.)
Does anyone else's brain go completely haywire at the triage mode? Mine does. I started this blog yesterday morning, and what did I do all afternoon? Clean out the fridges? Do laundry? Organize the kids' bedroom? Clean up the workdesk?
Nope. I painted subfloor. And put together a shoe holder from Ikea.