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Chicago this weekend.  Again.  I've been getting out there every 4th weekend.  Those are the weekends A goes with her mom.  I'm having all kinds of feelings - about that aspect of things specifically.

On the weekends when she's here - Agatha, there's a lot of doing nothing.  She's falling into herself now - almost 14, almost interested in things.  There's the thing, she has, I have it and maybe she got it from me - the self containment, the paucity of visible affect.  I tell her, because she's having friction with her mom about it - I tell her "Your feelings are yours, you don't owe it to anyone to perform you rfeelings, you don't have to demonstrate enthusiasm or sorrow or whatever."  I mean it too.  But it's tricky to deal with, between us.  I get why people don't respond very... positively to me, at least, why they seem confused.  I say, without any demonstated enthusiasm:  "That's great."  and I mean that I think it's great.  I guess people take it for sarcasm, or that I'm disingenuous.  I don't care to perform.  At all.  But especially I don't feel like my feelings are for other people to have or use.  But I don't think it's guardedness, exactly.  It's just that I don't do that.  I don't act out my bad or happy feelings and maybe I'm fucking inscrutible, but that's my affair.  That's really where I am on this.  I don't see it as a problem.  If it is, it's not mine.

But I see what they're saying - because Agatha does it.  To me, and it's a little confusing.  I say to her-  make a list, write down the things you really want to do.  This way, I'll know and won't have to interpret.  We'll have straightforward experiences.  I'm tired of her being so idle.  It agitates me.  And then it doesn't.

Saturday night and it's closing on midnight, she's apparently done nothing all day and I'm frustrated that she won't show an interest in even getting food, I'm getting aggravated and bored, really bored - and then she shows me what she's been doing- animating all day.  Furiously working on her work.  And.  Well that's me isn't it?  I'm planning to measure my output this year in feet.  As in how high the stack of books I'll make will be.  I think I have a foot, for sure, but I'd like to try for two.  And that's a lot of solitude, and effort and apparent indolence.  The appearance right?  So I'm aggravated & kind of bored but not.

And I start thinking about Chicago, and how I'd like to be with her, and it gets into a cloud of emotions right?  Because I shouldn't want to be apart from my kid - and I don't.  I don't want to be apart from her, but I also, I'm feeling like I don't need to be with her-  like - she's self contained in a way that makes a lot of sense to me.  We're occupying space and sometimes the things we make correspond and correlate - but often enough we're just working in separate rooms.  14.  And then?  She's about to be 14 and she's about to need me in a way that's less fun.  Less engaging.  So I think about it.  This stuff.

I'm not gonna do anything - nothing rash or ill considered - but my experience of feeling these things is worth documenting.

Date: 2017-01-04 10:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
To counterpoint...isn't when avenues of communication are narrow & focus is inward that spending time together is the most key? That casual overlap of time taking the place of the direct connect, allowing for the creation of context & subtleties.

You should take your own advice though; your feelings are yours & it's okay to have them. It is pretty sensible to feel tugged in two directions, & even though yeah, I see how they can be oppositional on a pragmatic level, on a psychological level the reality is that they are distinct, discrete.

I mean, it goes without saying that I get the thing, right? Leaving the Wasteland to go to Metropolis to be with The Girl From That One Time has paid off well for me. So obviously that's my starting assumption. I just wonder if A's actually going to need you less, or more. I mean, you are like for sure correct that it is going to be less fun! Woohoo teenagers!

I don't know, what do I know about teenage daughters or fatherhood or parents really?


Date: 2017-01-04 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I think she's about to need me financially much more than she will as a social or emotional support. I'm not opposed - I like growth & development - but I'm not really suited for this either.

We have good communication - that's our real strength - but asymmetry in our activity cycles is really straining things.


Date: 2017-01-04 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, the actual reality of her needs is something I've got no real data on. Is there a sideways angle in? That is a cheat of some kind, where schedules of visitation are re-imagined to conform to everyone's new circumstances? Or does geography make any such schedule-Tetris a pipe dream?

(Pipe dream? Like Nintendo? See what I did there?)

Date: 2017-01-05 11:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I wonder though, does she depend heavily on having these little times of uninterrupted flow in your house? Or does she get that all the time at her mom's? Like maybe that is what she likes -- just, time.

Date: 2017-01-05 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
S'a fair thesis, the refuge hypothesis.

Date: 2017-01-05 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
She does depend heavily on this.

Those who've been to my house wouldn't characterize it as a home - I lack home-making qualities- it's always been a Hideout. I emphasize & insist on chill in my place - there's a Uzbek robe with your name on it when you come over, there's low light and a lot of amusements. And that's how I like it.

She wants to hide out and that's always been the dynamic.

it's just that now I'm kind of saying: I can provide you this refuge but I don't need to sit with you for every moment you spend in it.

Date: 2017-01-05 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Is it that you want to go out and about occasionally, during her visits, and she doesn't? Apologies if my reading comprehension is shitty, here. But what does "sit with you" mean? Like, you don't have to literally be in the room, right? Also. How long can you leave her in the house alone, at her age? Does she object to you leaving? Or does her mom?

I gleefully look forward to the day when my kids are happy being in their own space without bugging me for a whole day. Right now if I give them their 3DS/iPads I can get mayyybe two hours, tops. It's better in the summer when they'll be outside all day.

Date: 2017-01-05 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh I can't even get into our profound differences of opinion on just about everything. I think they're useless, they think I'm a weirdo.

Their deal though, especially is infantailization - they're extremely childish people and fetishize childhood as this pure/good thing that I... don't see. It's good to be a kid maybe but it's way better to be an adult. To this end I was the one that explained sex (it's what we're all made of!) and like, menses and so on .

She's cool by herself in that she's okay with being alone -but my house can't tolerate a lot of leaving her unsupervised - like... She won't wreck up the place much more without me there, but I imagine coming home to find it more wrecked than I left it and being pretty displeased - so.

Date: 2017-01-05 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Also anyone who doesn't call those qualities "home" can fuck right the fuck off, from the bottom of my introverted heart.

Date: 2017-01-16 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm a little late to the party here, but let me start by saying I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so much on how my child and I interact, how we are similar/ dissimilar emotionally, and who struggles so much with being still when all I want to do is go. My Abigator is only five, but she clearly defines her desire for downtime after a week of schooling and barely spending time with her parents. Like your friend in another comment, there's a limit to her desire to do things alone at this point, but her idea of what she wants to do together remains sequestered within our home. I'd be lying if I said I'm okay with this. I need other people and environments, and yet I give that up in a tremendous way for my family, spending time primarily at home, work, driving, or seeing my father at the nursing home (or hospital). I'm struggling to find a balance, and while our experiences are different in many ways, I relate in others.

As for your emoting, I've never had difficulties understanding what you mean, as it is face-valued. I can't recall ever questioning your proclaiming something as being "great" as being questionable or filled with sarcasm. Granted I haven't seen you in many years, but from your description, it sounds like you're being your genuine self. Fuck the joy thieves.

Out of curiosity, how much is Agatha responsible for? Have you thought about asking her what she wants to do next weekend? You said your communication is strong, and it sounds like you're pretty open with her. Maybe, if you haven't already, explain that you are willing to have one of the two weekend days for lounging/ decompression time, but ask her to come up with something to do outside the house together on the other day. I can't promise how that will go, but maybe giving her the perceived upper hand will help to motivate her.
Edited Date: 2017-01-16 06:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-23 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
From an early age I've been at her about making decisions. In an earlier time in my life I learned that making quick decisions and being decisive and so on were the things that made you properly In-Charge of things. So from small times it's always been: Here are options make a decision. Always. On the other side of the street though, at mother's house, there's an emphasis on obedience & compliance which is my exact opposite thing.

So A's time with me is her downtime and she's pretty adamant that the things she's doing are the things she wants to do - she's plenty responsible - but she's young for her age. A little. Smart & all, and knows the score, but she's, so far, unaflicted by teenage afflictions - for all I know she'll stay painfully chill into adulthood.


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