Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Helicopter Parent:

     A bit of a rant. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
    One day I got a phone call from a number that I didn't recognize. Like most people I know, I just let it go to see if they would leave a message. They did, so I figured it was someone I knew. When I listened to the VM I became confused all over again. The message was from my ex-Brother in Law and he asked me to call my ex-Father in Law and gave me a number. I was pretty sure if something had happened to what's-her-name I'd have been contacted by someone with a bad tie and a shiny badge, since I would be high on the suspect list. I was also wondering about the double-blind James Bond, Superspy contact routine, so I called Les, wondering what the hell it could be.
     I finally got a hold of him to ask what was going on. I haven't consistently  kept track of Les and Imogene over the last 14 years, but we do talk and we've never had any problems. There were times when they seemed to get along better with me than with their own daughter. We're not friends, but we're friendly. We talked for a while, exchanging pleasantries, then we finally got to the point. He was very apologetic about it, but he requested that I not say bad things about Ellie in my blog and on FaceBook. I quickly reviewed the last few comments I'd made about the Psycho Redhead and didn't come up with anything, so I told Les I didn't know what he was talking about.
     It seems that she had found out about my blog through some of her relatives that I regularly notify, and had taken offense at something I'd written. Like... all of it, I guess. He didn't know any particulars, but for some reason it had prompted my ex-wife to harangue her mother about all sorts of things, all which boiled down to the fact that Imogene didn't immediately buy a voodoo doll with my face and start sticking pins in it, or burn it in effigy after the divorce. I had no idea how she thought this was going to deter me from mentioning her in my blog (which is all I do, most of the time). I told Les that I was sorry they were catching hell, but I thought I'd been pretty mild about the whole thing and, since I only randomly mentioned her anyway, I probably wouldn't change much. He said he understood, and to do what I could, and after a little more catch-up we each went about the rest of our day.
     Even though I wasn't the one that raised the psychotic bitch that actually caused the problem, I like Les, and I felt kind of bad about him catching third-hand hell stemming from something I'd written.  I  was also kind of curious about what I might have said that set her off. I'll admit it was at least partly due to possibly wanting to do it again. Like Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy I was looking for that one word that would set the bull off. Anyway, I reviewed the blog and re-read some of the stories. I did mention things that happened several times. But, other than a few mentions, I really haven't let my feelings about her known to the Blogisphere. Even though the first sentence in the paragraph may give it away, I'm sure it was a secret before that. No. Really... top secret stuff.
     She'll probably never get it, but it isn't about her. Ever since she said, 'What about me having a life?' she pretty much lost any of the privileges that go along with Dudedom. That seems to be the biggest thing she doesn't grasp. To expect that we're going to slog through the everyday crap and be happy when she skims the cream whenever it suits her to do so, borders on insane. Of course she's at the far border of insane, so whatever is beyond insane she's almost there. I mean, why does she even care what I say? We've been divorced for 15 years and living 1000 miles away from each other for almost all of that time. She didn't seem to care what I said when we were married, but now she's all insulted by some stuff I wrote in a blog that about 100 people read. I think the time would be better spent asking me questions about our son. But that's just me.
   Case in point:For the second time in 12 years, Ellie showed up this year for Thanksgiving with a
minimum of communication. Okay, no problem. Knew she was coming, didn't know what day, what time, what flight. Also, no problem. She called Wednesday night and let me know they were in, and we discussed what time we'd meet for the Great Dude Hand-off. And that's it. I don't really care most of the time if she likes to feel that she's in charge because the reality is, she really doesn't even get to vote. So when we met the next day I just left Dave in the car and went to talk to her first. We established where they were staying, how long they were going to have Dude and when and where we would meet for the Dude Recovery Phase. That done, I waved David out of the car. He was very happy to see her, and she seemed the same. I gave them some info, a charger, a little advice, and when there were no questions, got the hell out of there.
     The next evening found me in the same parking lot, (nearly in the same slot) and a reverse of the day before with Dave being very happy to see me and giving me hugs. I waited for her to say her goodbyes, explained that there might be a Dude Roadtrip sometime in the future and I would contact her should that happen so she and Dude could get together, even though I had no obligation to do so. Her husband thanked me and she said, 'That would be nice.' in a polite, but skeptical tone. I assured her that we had never been back to the Homeland without contacting her. She looked like she would rather argue the point than thank me for the gesture. Rather than play 'The Justification Game' by reassuring her further I just turned to Dude and said, 'C'mon Dude, let's go home!' 'Yes!' was the quick reply 'He has to go to home and play the Games!' And so, without a backward glance, we did just that.
     And, just like that, we got on with our Dudeness like she was never there. One the way home I called the hacienda to gauge dinner preferences and, with almost rookie carelessness mentioned out loud the word 'McDonald's'. From the passenger side of the vehicle came a soft, 'I could use some McDonald's' I said into the phone wryly, 'I guess we're going to McDonald's'. 'Yes! With the chicken nuggets and the ranch'. And that pretty much ended any debate on what we were having for dinner. So situation normal. The radar blip that is occasionally Ellie put into the rear view of our lives and fading fast behind us until the next time she 'blips' up.
     Here's the difference and the problem. I have three older children from a previous marriage. Through geographical differences there was a number of years when I was unable to be around them as much as I wanted. I did what I could, when I could and never thought it was enough. I never tried to act like it was enough either. I let them all know that I knew just exactly who was doing all the raising where they were concerned. And, therefore, who was still in charge even when I was around. I didn't feel I had the 'chops'. I hadn't put in the time to throw my weight around, as it were.
     I know it's only my opinion, not a natural law or anything, but that's exactly how I feel about Ellie. I have no jealousy about the fact that David always seems to get excited to see her. He lives in the eternal 'now' where bad things just don't accumulate. I just don't think she's earned it. She certainly hasn't earned the right to tell me what to do where Dave is concerned. It baffles me that time after
time she's set him aside, put herself first, abandoned him, whined and winged her way out of any of the inconvenient obligations where her son is concerned and she still wants to drop in and drive the team like some sort of out of town parenting consultant. I know I'm an easy going guy, but that's pushing it a bit far.

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