Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday afternoon

We arrive at the restaurant. I wonder what the expectations are for payment? But they pass out coupons between their family members, and I pre-pay for Greg and I.

We sit at a table for 8. Grandma, Aunt, L, myself, Brother, Cousin #1, Cousin #2, Greg. Greg picks the spot next to the wall, and I sit next to him. L sits next to me. Grandma sits across from Greg. Aunt Across from me. Its a long lunch. We chat.

Grandma is shaking the whole time like a leaf. L is calm. Aunt is calm. We chat. Cousins are quiet. 10 year old has a killer smile. He is Craig #3 (yes in his immediate family-brothers and father all named the same thing), but they call him "daddy". This is all a bit on the different side for Greg and I.

We talk lightly. Greg doesnt talk at all.

After lunch we all get back into the cars and we are heading to L's house to meet her husband and her 3 daughters.

She lives across the street from a park. She tells me proudly that the community center offers free lunches to kids so she sends the 3 little girls there everyday.

The house smells like bleach. They have worked very, very hard to make it as good as it can be.
But its rough. Greg looks taken aback.

Aunt, Grandma (OMG by now is trying to at least look at me) and 3 little girls stay in the living room.

Greg gets invited to a back room to play Nintendo. I hate Nintendo.

He sits gingerly on a mattress on the floor. His older cousin D and brother play. He watches silently. Doesnt join in. Doesnt talk.

L goes back and forth between the living room and back bedroom to watch. She goes in and plays cards, Greg refuses to participate.

I busy myself playing with the girls. Aunt and Grandma comment how unusual it is that they LIKE me. As in actually wont leave me alone. Baby B, age 2, doesnt like ANYONE new. She crawls into my lap and wants a hug within 10 minutes. Grandma says "She doesnt even come to me, and I am her grandma".

I dont know what to do? I just smile and say "Oh I am a bit of a kid magnet, I dont know why". I almost quit playing with the girls. But then I decide, no ... this is our time to get to know them.
I take their hands a couple of times and we run together into the back room to jump on Greg. He is ignoring them completely. I dont know why or what to do. I hope we have time to spend together during the rest of the week.

L has to go to work. I drive her back to the hotel. Brother asks to come and swim, as does 10 year old cousin. Big Cousin has "school" and cant come. Turns out its Juvinile Detention Classes. He just got out of jail.

I take brother back to the hotel, little cuz joins us. Loving this kid now too.
Lots of silence in the hotel room. Greg sits on the bed and I interact with brother and cousin. They are very interested in all the pictures I have brought.

I take them down to the pool.

"Daddy" aka Mr. Persistance wont leave Greg alone. FINALLY I see a glimpse of the Greg I know and love playing and interacting. Not with his brother but with his cousin.
After a swim we head back to the hotel room. Boys are BEGINNING to talk, but still not much. I decided we all needed supper and off to Taco Bell we go.

Greg is beginning to smile. Beginning to laugh. Boys are beginning to get comfortable with me. Both like me, I can tell. Both are counting on me to get Greg involved. As we tease and laugh together, Greg keeps catching my eye. Big smiles. He likes this. I think MY comfort level is affecting HIS comfort level.

I drag the boys grocery shopping. Its a hysterical time. We laugh. Brother teases me mercilessly. I am totally smitten with this kid by now. He is talking and asking non-stop about his trip to visit us next summer. I can tell he is nervous, but REALLY wants to come. I cant get over looking at a bigger version of MY child. Its so strange!

Greg seems to stick with the little cousin mostly -- big brother is a whole new concept for Greg. They compete. Swimming. Holding their breath under water. Greg wins over and over again. I cant tell if this is a good thing or not.

We head back to the hotel room. Thank the Lord silently for ESPN to distract them. I need some downtime. It doesnt last long.

Aunt calls. Her and L are going to come by the hotel room to pick up the boys.
They arrive an hour earlier than I expected. They arrive in the middle of a loud, raucious wrestling match between brother, cousin and Greg with me reffing. They said they could hear the laughing down the hall. I hope this is a good thing.

I am feeling bad. The kids obviously really like me. I dont know if this is a good thing or not? I dont know what type of judgements they are making about me? 10 year old wraps his arms around my neck as he sits behind me on the back of the couch. Brother is going on and on to his mom about how awful my food allergies are and how he feels horrible for me. He is begging to spend the days with us. He is very excited. She looks exhausted. Drained. She smiles wanely at him. This has got to be hard. So very hard for her. Cause I know its very hard on me

I feel insecure about things I have NEVER felt insecure about. They both comment that they like my purse. "Thanks" I say "9 bucks at Walmart". They laugh at me. They both have coach bags. Heck, I have never even SEEN a coach bag in my life before today. I couldn't care less about such things. Am I supposed to care? Would that make me a better mother? Would that make me a better person to them? And why have a Coach bag if you can't afford food? Its all so confusing to me. Are these cultural differences? Family differences? Life experiences differences?

And heh, I really DO like my purse. Its new.

1 comment:

Lala's world said...

this is so great..feel like I am there with you