The Children Come Home
Finally, the day had arrived to pick up the children. It was time to say good-bye to my care-free summer and get ready to get the kids back to school and look for a job. Real life was once again intruding on me and I was torn about saying farewell. I knew that once summer ended, I wouldn’t have anymore totally carefree days, well, probably ever.
The exchange went well. I’d already decided that I wouldn’t get out of the car. The children were perfectly capable of getting their things transferred between the cars and after enjoying all the peace and freedom of summer, I refused to subject myself to Bubba in any way.
I was very worried about re-integration. The children had had two months of no rules, no consequences, junk food galore, and I fully expected them to run amok at home. I especially worried about Shane. He fights my rules. He thinks they shouldn’t apply to him. I was afraid that after doing what he pleased all summer (including playing video games all night long), he would really rebel against having rules.
You can imagine my shock when I found day after day that the kids were better behaved then they’d ever been. They were kind to each other, they listened to me, they cooperated. I became convinced that Bubba had somehow broken them all. I fully expected massive fall-out from their summer with Bubba and instead I had ideal, perfectly behaved children. They were all so thrilled to be home and getting what children need – stability, good food, and rules – that they were just drinking it all up.
On the other hand, I wasn’t handling it so very well. I was constantly on edge. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for the raging and rebelling to start. I was also having problems with the fact that I was “Mom” again. “Hope” had to be put away because I once again had responsibilities. I couldn’t just decide to go out, or run to Hannah’s house, or sit on the porch half the night with Sean. I couldn’t sleep in and I couldn’t sleep naked anymore.
Eventually we settled into a nice routine. School started and I was seriously looking for a job. I’d given myself till the end of the month to find one because that is when I needed to start having an income. Bubba was also due to start paying child support on the first of the following month so that would help. I wasn’t holding my breath though because he’d gotten fired in June (the 4th time in his career – I’m starting to see a pattern here), so I knew getting a job was important and I had to do it NOW. I would be out of the settlement money by the end of the following month so I wanted a one month buffer of income.
Within the month, things were going to get seriously unpleasant.