I still have to pack, but my toes are painted, fake tan is applied, kids’ hair is cut, the single plant that we do have is watered, and the fridge is empty.
It’s time for vacation. Even the very word, ‘vacation’, is delicious. Just saying it makes the tightness in my shoulders melt. The minute it rolls off my tongue, I swear I can smell sunscreen and feel sand in the waist band of my swimsuit.
Not taking my laptop means I’m not taking the blog with. It sorta feels like leaving one of my kids behind. Jen and Will are delighted that I won’t be hiding behind a computer screen. They are unbelievably supportive of the time and attention I devote to the blog. But it’s time that they get all of me for a few days.
We can’t head off without updating you.
Jenny and Will are learning that so many of these bumps in the road seem to be bigger in anticipation than in reality. They spent some time writing out their feelings, expressing their worries that they’d have to see their dad more frequently, and dreading the possibility of saying something that might make Mark mad, in the appointment.
The counselor wanted Mark to be able to pick them up on the way to the appointment. That made them both real uncomfortable. When Mark got to the house, Jen put her coat on and walked to the car with this attitude that said, “Let’s get this thing over with.” Will followed me around the house. He was acting like Rita does first thing in the morning when she wants food. All stuck to my ankles, preventing me from taking any steps. I think Will was hoping for some outside force to come down from the sky and pluck him out of our house, preventing him from getting in the car with his dad.
The counselor watched the kids interact with their dad while they played a board game. She also asked them how often they would like to see their dad in a week. At first, Will said one day a week, but when he saw Mark’s reaction, he changed that to two. Jenny pretty much parroted what Will said to avoid another pouty reaction from Mark. I liked that the counselor asked them what they wanted as far as visitation goes. They saw that this arrangement has to be something that all parties can agree on, and it won’t be something that gets rammed down their throats. I think that partially explains why they seemed relieved when they got home.
They said their dad alternated between occasionally doing the mopey face, and then doing the “I’m fabulous, and everything is wonderful face.” They agreed that most of the time he acted like there really isn’t a problem here.
She wrapped up the session by saying that she was looking forward to going over the kids letters, and that she would schedule Mark for another session.
Mark brought them home immediately after the session. I foolishly thought he might want to hang at the park with them a bit, blow off some stink, see if they had anything they wanted to say to him, or at least take ’em for ice cream. At the very least, I thought he might ask them what has been going on in their lives, since it has been quite awhile since they’ve gotten together.
As much as I know about narcissism, I realize I will NEVER understand Mark. I continually remind myself that when dealing with someone who has a personality disorder, there aren’t any reliable trail guides.
After Mark left and the door was shut, Jenny laid on the floor, Will paced a few times in the kitchen. Simultaneously, they both looked at each other and said, “Baby Voice!” Apparently, he used the baby voice for most of the session.
Right after I wrote the post called, “It Is What It Is”, about evil and narcissism, Phyllis sent a chilling comment to my personal email. I recently asked her permission to include it in the comment section of that post. I really felt that it was important to ‘drop this key‘ to further our attempts at explaining how devastating NPD can be. You can check out her comments here, in the comment section at the end of the post.
Phyllis is having knee surgery on May 12th. Her sister and daughter will be checking in on her, but we all know how she could benefit from having some kind thoughts sent her way. Phyllis, I will be thinking of you between umbrella drinks and pool time. Promise.
Annie’s second child is graduating from college on the 15th. Please send her a virtual round of applause. She doesn’t look like she’s old enough to be the mom of two college graduates. Trust me.
And on a personal note… Ha! Like any of the stuff on this blog isn’t personal. Whatever!
I have to admit that as excited as I am to be going on a trip with my two most favorite people on the planet, I am also looking forward to coming back home. And that tells me that even with all this narcissism crap, we’ve got a damn good thing going here. We continue to grow and learn and love everyday. We are surrounded by supportive friends and family. We get to enjoy spending loads of time with each other. And as I told the kids before their appointment yesterday, “All this stuff just makes you a stronger person. Being stronger makes your life better, and then, someday, you may come across a person who might need help understanding something about one of their parents. And won’t it feel good to use your strengths to help them?”
Rita will be holding down the fort until we get back. Thanks, Mom, for checking in on her. You don’t have to give her quite as many kisses as we do.