This is a follow up to my post about soccer last night. I got a window into the thought process of my children today that I wanted to share.
Stretch emailed me today to see if DS12 was going to come to DS9's practice tonight. DS12 often helps "coach" the younger team. As you can imagine, DS12 was not too keen on the idea of spending time with his dad just yet and announced his intention to "skip" his brother's practice.
I emailed back and said "no" and added that DS9 would likely not be there either depending on his pain levels and swelling in his arm.
Stretch "understood" about DS9, but asked that I tell DS12 he "needed him" if he would come. (This is a familiar dynamic. Stretch actively seeks attention and approval from DS12 who offers less supply and shuns DS9 who begs for attention and a result his supply is less desirable.)
I tell DS about the email exchange. He interrupts with "I don't want to!" a half dozen times to which I respond that he doesn't "have to," it isn't his responsibility, his team or his obligation, that I am simply sharing information.
"But Dad will be mad."
Me: I doubt it. And anyway, that isn't a very good reason to do something. And if he is, it won't kill you. I am pretty sure he's been mad at me plenty of times and I am still here.
Which leads to DS9 chiming in with "Yeah, but you don't have to spend every other weekend with him."
Which is a startling truth. The choices the children make to keep the disordered parent happy are self preserving choices. The trick becomes to provide them with a balance of courage, boundaries, and "outs" so that they can survive.
DS12 suffers through waffling between going, not going, going for a little while, not going and the begging request for me to say I won't go out there for a practice DS9 isn't even participating in to "make it your fault, mom."
Sure thing, son. But I don't have to say anything. He'll figure out you aren't coming when we don't show up. Ah, learn the way of crickets, young one.