Jordan arrived home last week from his second round of visitation with his mom. His plane arrived early in the evening, and it was a loud hyperfest in the back 2/3rds of the van the whole way home. Rylan, Owen and Colin are very happy to have him back home.
We are too.
Not sure what the emotional/behavioral damage estimate is, it was hard to tell initially, but I hope it follows the trend of past years and won't be as bad. There will be the typical gaming deprogramming, of course, along with tapering off the need for constant stimulation from TV or computer. It happens every year. When he goes to visit, he constantly complains of boredom, so these are his only outlets.
I am glad Jordan is back, and in one piece to boot. It is not a moment too soon. This was a traumatic visit for us, waiting back here in Colorado. First there was the EF5 tornado in Moore, on May 22nd, the day he flew out there. Then, on May 31st, there was another tornado outbreak.
Let's just let that sit for a minute. Just imagine. You, sitting in a safe location, 800 miles away, can see and hear the local storm trackers and weather forecasters, by streaming a live feed over the internet, sounding the warning that if those individuals in the tornado's path cannot get below ground, they had better leave if they didn't want to risk losing their life. Your loved-one is IN that path they keep mentioning over and over again. Keep in mind, the horrific scenes from the Moore tornado were only 9 days old. These were seasoned forecasters - and even they were sounding a little freaked out. That is what we can hear, that is what we tell Jordan, that is what he tells his mom - BEGGING to her that he wants to leave and go someplace safer. You could hear the fear in his voice. And? She scoffs.
It's been over a month, and yet I still want to reach out and strangle...someone. This was, in it's totality, her move as if to say - "I am not going to do something, just because they (meaning Dean and me) are telling me to do it.". That is all it was. She was so DETERMINED to make her point and to be the one in charge, that she forgot to be the grown-up in the first place.
The map above shows a second star, a purple one. This is where Jordan and his mom eventually sheltered at. After our third phone call that afternoon in the span of 20 minutes, where we went over what safety precautions he could take if they were indeed staying put, we heard back from Jordan about 10 minutes later that he and his mom were driving south to a hospital, where they figured they could wait it out in an interior corridor. This was now a full 30 minutes from when the first warnings to GET OUT came. (This would be the hospital that was eventually hit by the tornado) They moved on from there, for whatever reason, and eventually ended up (at Jordan's suggestion) at a Homeland Grocery store, sheltering in a meat locker with 30 or so other people. If that had been her move, when the warnings first came, I would be applauding her. But not for this. It was Jordan that got them to safety - not her. If she had put aside her petty control issues and phoned Dean herself, and came up with an evacuation game plan WITH him, for the sake and safety of THEIR son, I would have been so grateful.
Co-parenting can be so much better than this. But it takes a willingness to work as a team. I am regarded as the enemy by her. Jordan is routinely asked by her if I am treating him okay, or if I yell at him or push him around. I have been accused of forcing Jordan to raise the kids for me - that in fact (and this is precious), the only reason I keep him at home to "homeschool" him, is so that he will take care of the kids for me. Jordan was actually quite angered by this, and told me that he set her straight, reminding her that 'he is the big brother, and that is what older sibling do" (duh), and that he is homeschooled because he had such a rough start in public education. The general classroom is not the best place for him with his ADHD. Her response? "Oh..."
I've been thinking about the whole 'step-mother' short shrift for some time now... Just like parents of every stripe out there, there are people of every sort. Just because you are a biological parent, doesn't, by default, make you a good one - make you the better choice. The better adult-figure in a child's life can be the neighbor down the street, the teacher, the grandparent, and yes... even step-parents. I'm am not saying this to toot my own horn. What I am saying is that she is trying to sell Jordan on the 'Disney' version of the mean, unfair (and ugly) stepmother, and he is not buying it. In fact, he confided in his dad that he resents the way Disney always portrays the stepmother figure. He says it is an unfair depiction. I love that kid...
I do have a lot more to say on this subject, but I think I will let it wait for another time.