Well, let's see...
The Parenting conversation went up and down some more, which was interesting. I still don't like seeing broad, sweeping "parents need to do <x>" comments from people who aren't parents, but at the same time, I do realize that our children DO impact the world around us.
I don't have to own a dog to know I don't like getting bitten by one.
We pretty much agreed on that, and I did manage to get the point across that most parents I know are doing the best with what they have. Many parents just don't have time - as a divorced parent who gets my kids on the weekends, that is something I really don't have much of, but I try to do my best at fostering independence when their dad doesn't even let the 10-year-old brush her own hair or cut her own damned pancakes.
Letting them wander all over after school? No. You get called by the police when they find your child wandering without you, and at this point in time, they will have no other kids to wander *with*. Times *are* different, at least in Suburbia, even if we're the ones that have made it that way. While many people will say that we need to change the system, it feels incredibly risky to do so when it's your relationship with your own kids that may be at stake. I'll work within the system instead.
But it's been a few days, and I'm less wound up about it.
Had a great few days' vacation with Chops in the D.C./Alexandria area. Met up with some friends (one friend of his whom he hasn't seen since the late '80s!), got to see Chops get all giddy over airplanes at the newer Air & Space museum, pondered what the punishment would be if he hopped the rail to hug the SR-71 while I jumped the rail to hug Shuttle Discovery ("Hey, we can get kicked out together!"), and then decided against it.
Had some great food, stumbled onto a hookah place showing Lebanese music videos, did the "super-quick" tour of the Botanical Gardens after arriving 5 minutes before closing (oops), and then rented bikes to go see the memorials and monuments. After an initial "STOP THIS CRAZY THING!" moment, I got my bike legs back and had a good time.
The long drives? Not so fun, especially in the rain, but it was a great trip overall, so yay that.
Other randomness and stuff coming up:
Chops' friend in DC asked a few questions about the relationship and said how wonderful it was that we were all so amazingly cool about it with no issues, and I had to laugh a bit and say that well, no - I have my own issues, but we usually talk it over and get it out of the way. She asked for an email thread among herself, Chops, me, and Xena, just to chitchat outside of Facebook. So far it's been her and Xena with a buttload of emails back and forth, since they both have a lot of free time during the day. At this point, I feel like I'm watching a wind-and-go mouse, and I'll catch up with it after it stops a bit.
Back to the normal 2-days-north/2-days-south schedule after today, and I find myself getting apprehensive over Friday night... Chops is heading to an event with Noa, probably won't be home until 11:30pm or so (if that), and may have to leave early Saturday to pick up his daughter. I was hoping to get some time with him in the morning, to make up for the fact that it's not much of a night together, but I have no idea how that's going to work out. I could ask to swap the day, so he's south and therefore doesn't have the drive times involved (he could have more time at home), but it's probably best if I work through this...
A half-time schedule with Chops is the bare minimum of what I thought I could handle, as a partner. I really don't understand why he'd want to be out late, sleep at home with me, then leave early in the morning again - it's not really spending time together if we're asleep for 98% of it... at least to me. It feels like a loss of a day with him. However, I need to suck this up and see how it feels. The fact that I'm already apprehensive about it makes me worry that I'm going to make this a self-fulfilling prophecy, so I need to try to let this go and deal with it as it happens. Otherwise, I go down the negative-thinking rathole of "if he wants to spend time with me - if I'm THAT important to him, then why does he now choose to even spend MORE time away? Isn't 50% time enough?"
But he's split it 50/50 between me and Xena, so if he needs time for himself, then it does come out of our calendar banks. Maybe we need to reexamine the calendar and figure this out a bit better. Add in some "Chops" days, and he sleeps where he sleeps those nights (although I'd like some advance warning so I don't come downstairs with a baseball bat in the middle of the night). I'm a planner. He's a leaf on the wind. He's gonna LOVE this idea.
My concern is that, at less than 50% on paper, I'm going to feel it's not enough. I'm going to SEE it's not enough (which may be the correct thing to do if I'm holding on to this holy grail of "50%" and getting tetchy whenever it seems that gets perturbed).
But first things first, o worrier - deal with Friday as it comes. I have NO idea how to be zen about that - I've never been zen about anything else in my life, EVER, so that'll be an exercise. My kids have activities this weekend, so maybe distracting myself with that will help... who knows.
Bah. Worry sucks balls. I just can't seem to stop looking ahead and wondering about it all.
Edited to add that Saturday morning is a non-issue at this point - my oldest daughter's dance competition goes from 7am to 11:30pm, meaning I don't get much time with my youngest daughter either... Uuuuuuuugh...