Parenting: a Triangle Tangle

The other night our family went out to eat with a good friend, her 10 year old son, and her new boyfriend (whom she was very excited for us to meet).

As always, being together was full of laughs and fun. The boyfriend, a charming, attentive and down-to-earth guy, passed muster.

After dinner, Tessa asked to speak with my friend and me privately. We three went outside the restaurant.

“So,” she said, “what I want to tell you both is that it’s time for you to switch.”

My friend and I looked at each other, knowing what is coming and trying to figure out how to handle it.

“Mom,” Tessa said, “It’s YOUR turn to be my birth mom, and Crystal, I want to come live with you for awhile.”

You’ve figured out that my friend, Crystal, is also Tessa’s first mom.

“Well, honey,” Crystal said, “it doesn’t work that way. I already gave birth to you and no one else can ever do that again. You’re too big!” We all giggled, a bit uncomfortably.

“But I want to live with you, just for awhile,” claimed Tessa, ever the persistent one.

“Why? How do you think life with me would be?” asked Crystal.

“We could play. I could have your purse and your keys and your cell phone and your lip gloss. All day!”

(See, I learned after the first time my keys got lost and I found my cell phone perched precariously over the toilet NOT to allow my children to play with these things. Tessa has always had a HUGE affinity for these accouterments of adulthood. Other people indulge her, but I do not.)

“Oh, Tessa. It’s not like that at my house,” responded Crystal. “I work much of the time, and when I’m home, Tyler and I do a lot of chores.”

Before long, Tessa brought Tyler out of the restaurant and into the conversation (I told you she’s a pitbull), and he vouched for the fact that there’s not a lot of play time in Crystal’s household.

Tessa hung on to Crystal’s keys, purse and cell phone for the rest of the evening. While out of Tessa’s earshot, Crystal offered to have Tessa over for a day just to see what a “typical” day in her house is like. I can see this scenario going so many different ways.

Part of me (a big part) wishes this were just about the purse, etc. But I know it’s really a deeper processing. Both Crystal and I have done some of our grieving and healing from the losses we endured. Now it’s Tessa’s turn. How do we help?

Any comments or suggestions from people not emotionally invested? I really welcome them.

Resulting post: Adoption Issue? Parenting Issue? Ego Issue?

4 thoughts on “Parenting: a Triangle Tangle”

  1. Well, hmm. I’m sure that you and Crystal will be able to help her through this time. Having not been here (yet? ever? who knows?) I don’t have advice from having lived it. I can see the Munchkin thinking in the same manner, that if she lived here, it would be fun and games as well since, during a visit, we do a lot of fun and games type of a thing. I think it would be hard to understand that other households do “normal” things when guests/family/etc aren’t present…

    Anyway, keep us updated on how you handle this particular one.

  2. Oh, my. That is a tough one. It seems that she is wondering what her life might have been like if she had grown up with Crystal and like most of us, imagines the grass must be greener on the other side of the fence. I think it would take more than a day to discover the grass is just different.

    Yeah . . . I got nothin’ Maybe you should let her play with your purse and cell phone and stop giving away the things she leaves out. 😉

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out. May inspiration come to you.

  3. Oh my, this is a difficult one.And I don’t have the faintest idea what to tell you. Besides maybe tried and trusted things like being true to yourself and being the best mom you can be after that. As you know that doesn’t mean to give in to her, but maybe show her that reality is different from what she perceives it to be.

    Will be thinking of you… keep us updated please?

  4. So much of adoptive parenting is knowing what is adoption and what is just parenting.

    It sounded like this is adoption. It’s normal for her to think “the grass is greener.”

    Is this one of the problems in Open Adoption? Being able to see the grass but not dip your toes in it?

    Hmmmm. Sounds like another post brewing.

    Still, I wonder if it would turn out well or badly for Tessa to spend a day at Crystal’s house.

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