So this past weekend, while we were away (oh, did I not mention that we were going away? I took J away for his birthday. He didn't want a party. It was a big birthday.... So. We were. AWAY. Did I mention that?)
We were talking about my kids & their growing up... and what to let them do on their own or not. Like J, when he crosses the street with Max will sometimes NOT hold his hand (will not think about this, will not think about this...) and ask Max when it's safe to cross. We talked about when it's safe for them to go to the bathroom in a restaurant on their own (I will take them to the ladies room with me, and they are starting to protest....) or play outside.
I feel like if it is Max and another 8 year old... then somethings are OK - but I don't think it's fair for Max to have to be responsible for his younger brother. Not at this age.
So, Monday night I was at Nathan's little league game. Nathan had team photos before & Max was just hanging out. They were taking the photos at the club house - around the corner from where the fields are.
Max came over & asked "Can I go over to Field 2, with Johnny, and play catch?" I kind of know Johnny & his mom. I went over to the mom - "What do you think?" She was really laid back... sure, no problem... he knows everybody there... So. I said. OK. BUT - I told him - he has to stay on field 2.
About a half hour later we headed over to the fields. I look on field two and guess who was NOT there? Right.
I look over at Field One. Nope. Walk up to three. Nope. Walk a bit faster up to Four. Nope. Kind of trot back down to Field Two. Feeling a little bit anxious... but not too bad. Ask a mother there "Have you seen Max?" Nope.
See Johnny's mom - she doesn't know where they are, either. Ok, so now I'm starting to get a wee bit more.... agitated. Then Johnny's brother yells: 'There they are!" On the bottom of Field One - just out of sight... there they were.
My melodious voice wafted down to Max.... could he please excuse himself from the game and come up to talk to me for a moment? (Translation: Max!!! Maxwell! You get yourself up here RIGHTTHISVERYMOMENTQUICKQUICKNOW!!!!)
I was angry. He explained that people came on the field, so they went to the other one. I told him I understood why - but that I told him to stay on Field Two - and if he had to leave he HAD TO TELL ME.
I made him stick with me the rest of the night & we talked about it again later. He got it. And really, it was ok - it was in a controlled environment & was (as much as I hate to use this term) a learning experience.
And you know, the whole time I just kept thinking "If he had a cell phone I could just call him!" But immediately chastised myself for even THINKING about getting an eight year old a cell phone!! Also, J always tells me that it's worse when they have the phones... because they never answer! Imagine how nerve wracking that is!!! Where is he?!? In a ditch?!? Why isn't he answering?!?! It's pretty much a no win.
Oh man. This letting them go thing.... At least I have the bubble wrap ready for once they start driving.... (It was foggy for the first day. We got a little.... lost on the grounds. Oops. I was actually cracking up - it was like something out of a bad horror movie: "Don't go that way! Don't go into the mist!!" But maybe you had to be there.)
Yesterday my sitter said to me: "I have to tell you something - I didn't have time the other day... but I really have to."
Given my recent history with my sitter... my heart sank.
She began: "The other day, when we came in to meet you and J in the city - before the Yankees Tigers game - we were on the train and Nathan did the most amazing thing." Nathan? Amazing thing? Now I wasn't so anxious.
She continued. "There weren't so many seats, so I told the boys to sit and I stood next to them. Nathan said to me: "you have to sit down. You can't stand. I told him 'no, it's ok.' But he insisted. 'You sit down, I'll sit on your lap.' So, I went to sit. Then the other people on the train saw I was pregnant. They were in shock, and obviously felt badly because they did not notice before. But you have no idea what that did to me. How it made me feel. How he made me feel, insisting that I sit down..."
I was speechless. MY Nathan?!? My son who never seems to think about anybody but himself? Who always asks: "What do you have for me?" "Why do *I* have to do that?" "YOU, you do it FOR me!" Now MAX - he's the one who is always thinking. He is the one who has more empathy... I was totally floored.
But you know what was the coolest part? Things I say -- they sink in!!
X has been made a "consultant" so his salary will be about halved. Starting his next pay check. It's going to be fun. He's telling me how he has to pay more for his insurance & business expenses... so that means he'll be contributing less. I want to be fair... but you know, the expenses for the kids don't go down. I have to get them their summer wardrobe...
PLUS - am I responsible for taking care of HIS needs? Why does he think I am?!?!
Forwarded conversation Subject: Re: Bi-Weekly Support '08 ------------------------
From: X Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:10 PM To:ME
Why am I stuck with all the income pressure.... Why can't your income help float the boat a bit. Why can't you have a job that helps your family before the public. You are selfish and the boys will understand it when they are older. ------Original Message------
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry---------- From: ME Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:16 PM To:X
when you get a chance please let me know what your income is & how we are going to figure out these checks. I'm figuring the proportion will be 60-40.
-- " From: X Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:21 PM To: ME
I don't know what my income will be. I will be receiving checks equivalnet to $Xxxxxt will be subject to business expenses that will probably take that income to about $(8000 less). Then my income would factor out social security and new york city taxes to arrive at a figure. ---------- From: ME Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:24 PM To: X
what do you mean business expenses? the proportion is based on how much your take home pay is....
---------- From: X Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:27 PM To:ME
I'm not a salaried employee and have to cover an array of costs.
---------- From: ME Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:29 PM To: X
do you get the same amount in each pay check?-- ---------- From: X Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:31 PM To: ME
Yes, it is an official contract so I will fax you a copy.
From:ME Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:45 PM To:X
ok - I'll send you my fax number tomorrow. but if you have a set weekly/bi-weekly salary then that's what we work from.
-- ---------- From X Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 7:57 PM To: ME
It's monthly. FYI: if the parisittes suck too much blood out of the host--the host dies and the parissities too.
---------- From ME Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 8:00 PM To: X
ok - so we'll figure out how much that is bi-weekly & take it from there.--
---------- From: X Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 8:10 PM To: ME
I'm a very fair guy, so don't push me too hard. ---------- From: ME Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 8:30 PM To: X
yes. You are fair. I just want to be able to understand & budget -- so I'll need to know how much you will be contributing.