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Say “Uncle”

March 9, 2010

My latest post on Moms of Hue is the first published version of my thoughts on co-parenting with your sibling. (I am working on another version for a Co-Parenting 101 Guest Post, and one for the Modern Love column of the New York times.) This is my intro to the way it looks on the light and lovely side. Meaning it has it’s moments, as does any kind of co-anything relationship. It’s how we handle those moments that make or break you.   The piece starts like this;

When I invited my oldest brother Marc to live with us, it was not just because my mother was worried about her grandchildren not having a father figure-even though she never said as much. He didn’t have a job, and I was a single mom raising two boys under the age of five on my own. He landed in the United States a year before after his twelve year European chapter ended in divorce. He had no kids, and a 12×18 color picture of the beloved sail boat he had to sell when he moved stateside. Stateside could have meant Virginia, where we grew up, and where he has a zillion connections. Instead it meant Maine, where they have a zillion sailboats and two boys who call you Uncle-Daddy and say; I love you Uncle Rabbit Will You Play Airplane With Me Now Silly Head after they give you the bump, and lunge into their footy pajamas because you want them to explore their own “gravitational pull”.

Sam had a great reaction to Uncle coming home from Washington D.C. last night. Uncle asked if he could come give the boys a hug when he got in-or would it be too disruptive. The boys were in bed, and we had sung our songs. But it is Uncle and he had been away for six days!  After Uncle went back downstairs Sam says; Mom you know what? Seeing Uncle just now, and giving him a hug, well that just made my whole day! I was laying down in bed next to Marcel who is going through some intense separation anxiety at bedtime these days when Uncle came up. Seeing Sam climb out of bed and into Marc’s arms was pretty damn sweet. They just hung out in that embrace for a minute or two.

By not being in a traditional parenting arrangement, I’ve missed out on moments like those. I used to wonder what it would be like to see my partner, whomever I might have had in my life if I had lived that story instead of this one hold “our” child.  I used to feel some deep longings for it in fact. Noticing how much I appreciated that tenderness between them awakened those feelings in a gentle and appreciative way. Once again reminding me how what we have created here for the time being, is nurturing all of us.

Having Uncle away also reminded me how much I love our Mama C and the boys existence too. We do three well.  I am such an inclusive person by nature that I forget it is OK to create outings, and time for us to just be the three of us too.  Uncle can do the dishes while I throw the football in the rumpus room. He has offered many times. And a good catch, and a humming pass is not only satisfying, it happens to be when Sam is at his most effusive. Yes, at five, the I can talk when I have a ball in my hand phenomena has commenced. (Evidence is in the birth mom conversation two days ago.)  As the three of us, Sam is allowed to be more of a helper, which in small doses he thrives on. It allows something other in Marcel too, but I can’t explain that one yet.

Oh my elusive shadow balance, there you go again, skirting in around the periphery..

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