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What Is Fair.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Is Fair.

I am standing at the counter in the kitchen sorting pictures when it happens. The new pictures I had done of H and E awhile back.

M, who's sitting on the barstool eating a snack and doing her homework after school peaks over and looks at what I'm doing.

"Can I see?" She asks and I hand her the stack.

"So you took H and E to get their pictures done?" She asks with a definite tone in her voice.

"I did." I answer and feel my body tense up. This was my worry, my concern, my biggest fear.

"Are you going to take T and I to get pictures done too?" And I don't know how to answer.

Since the day H has been born I have done everything just so, status quo, so that no one in this house of ours is left out. No one's feelings get hurt. Everything is fair, even when it's not.

And a few months back I felt raw and frustrated with certain factors that we have no control I explained to J how hard I work at this whole balance thing yet I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of two families.

We are a family of six. Then a family of four. Then a family of six again.

This wasn't the first time M had brought something up or asked about something seemingly unfair. If we go out to eat or anywhere fun on the days she happens to be at her mom's, she is bothered. In her eight year old imagination while she is away our life hits pause and we sit and await her return. And can you blame her for thinking that?

I admit we spent a couple of the early years doing just that. Making sure anything fun we did would land on days when all were here. Vacations, dinners, parties planned around the magical five days that T and M were here.

But we can't live like that. No one can. It's just not fair. For anyone.

And so I gently explain to her that everyone is loved so much in this house. Everyone is special. And different things happen for her and T and for H and E. And it's ok because at the end of the day, no matter what we're a family. Even when it's not fair.

That day, I shoved the pictures back in the envelope, where they still sit and put them out of sight, out of mind. Ill prepared am I, I've thought for a couple weeks now while the photos collect dust in a drawer.

Last night, while having coffee with a friend, I bring up this unresolved topic and I am reassured that it is ok. Everyone is loved. And everyone is different and it is ok. And then the clincher, this morning as I read the words of Michael at Five Minutes For Parenting.

We won’t treat you identically, but we’ll treat you equally. It will be the same, only different, because you are different and we will adjust to your individual, specific, genetic, cultural, idiosyncratic specialness. You will be our favorite you, and, you over there, you’ll be our favorite you.

Relief washed over me like pouring rain. We're getting it right after all, aren't we?

I'm pretty sure I've got a new definition for the word fair in this household. As a mom and a stepmom.

They are each different. And they are each my favorite. In different ways. Yet so much the same.


Blogger The Fritz Facts said...

That almost exactly the same thing I thought of when I read that this morning. Hunter is not here for everything, but he understands that he is just as loved.

It is hard to balance everything, everyone and the time we have together. I know that it is a constant battle that I have learned to let go whenever I can.

March 9, 2010 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

Chills and tears on this one. ;)


March 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect!! They are all LOVED.... :)
Love You all
Auntie Laurie

March 9, 2010 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

Good post. :)

March 9, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger LutherLiz said...

This is sort of like my sermon I'm working on. C.S. Lewis wrote:

Why else were individuals created but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently?...If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.

I think it works for God, but it also works here too. No matter who feels life is unfair at the moment we know how deeply you love them all.

March 9, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

just this weekend i had to have a conversation with our oldest - we are trying to plan some vacations - weekend getaways - her schedule is crazy and so we talked about what trips she really wants to go on and which ones she doesn't mind skipping.

and the pictures thing? soooo been there.

just the balance in general - i get it. it's impossible. really. although i try to tell myself a lot that we had lots of time with kaihtlyn before beans. lots of special things. time. pictures. all of that when it was just her. and now? well it's a constant flow of give and take.

thinking of you friend and right there with you!


March 9, 2010 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

This post reminded me of the Babysitters Club books. Just wait until H and E realize that T and M get TWO birthday parties and TWO Christmases. It never ends. All you can do is what you think is best. There's no right answer.

March 9, 2010 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

This is something I've been fretting about and I'm not even pregnant yet! Thanks for sharing

March 9, 2010 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger The Lindahl News said...

I really love that quote by Michael. Thanks for this poignant post.

Ah, the tug of heartstrings...

March 9, 2010 at 10:54 PM  

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