This morning, prior to going to school, I reminded all of my kids that they weren’t with me tonight (I’m heading into Denver to see The Avengers. Yes!) so they needed to think through what they’d need not just for today but also for tomorrow until we met up after school. With a bit of prodding, my son got all his lacrosse stuff together and put it in the car (well, except for his uniform which needed to be washed), and everyone seemed to understand what I was talking about.
Then we get to school and my teen A- informs me that she forgot her new American Eagle shirt and since tomorrow’s picture day at school, could I possibly drop it off?
“Sorry, I can’t. I’m not heading back to my house today. You’re with Matt tonight, ask him to swing by my place so you can get it on the way home from school.”
Casting note: Matt is Linda’s new fiancée and has already moved into their house.
At this point I’m caught in a bit of a dilemma. Well, to be more accurate, my daughter is caught in a bit of a dilemma. She forgot her shirt and I am not going to go back to my place to get it. But she’s a teen girl and the idea of having her photo taken for posterity makes her want to look her very best, including the cute purple top that she bought just for this occasion.
Then again, it’s not my responsibility to shuttle back and forth taking care of things they’ve forgotten in one house or the other, especially when their new place is an hour roundtrip from my house.
But the kids didn’t vote for us to get a divorce, they didn’t ask us to split up into two households, and it is a big hassle for them to live in two houses, not just one. I wouldn’t like it, and I’m a very organized person. As a 15yo or 12yo? I just know I’d inevitably have things at one house when I was at the other, a never ending low-level frustration about the permanence of stuff and the fluidity of my life.
So is the MIA purple shirt a natural consequence of my teen being unable to think 24 hours in advance, or is it an unreasonable consequence of the nightmare logistics of living in two houses, a course of events that she certainly didn’t want to have happen in the first place?
Worse, if I did surprise her and get the shirt, taking 30 minutes out of my busy day for driving back and forth, am I solving this specific problem (which isn’t really that big a deal in my eyes) or am I facilitating, teaching her that it’s okay not to plan ahead because I’ll fill in the cracks, make sure everything works, even at the cost of my own time and schedule?
This time, I’m going to pass. To punt. And hopefully I can help them learn how to think a bit further into the future so that they don’t have this situation arise again. But it will. Que sera, sera.