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back from Austin - long, but aren't they all from me?


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Hi everybody. Well, hopefully the stressful part of the weekend is over for me. We had a nice visit in Austin. Katie got to spend a lot of time with Georgene and Gary (they are not married but any descriptor short of husband seems too trivial to be accurate, so whatever that makes him is what he is). Which was exciting for them. They went to the park and they went to the pond a couple of miles away. So Katie played and played and got to feed the ducks. Well, except for one of them, who was itchy and too busy biting at his back to pay attention to the bread. Katie has worried about this duck quite a bit since then. She is worried the poor thing will starve.

So that was great for everyone. I got a chance to get some studying done in the afternoon. Spent some time at Barnes & Noble studying, which is impressive for me. And I managed to only spend $40 while there, which is less than half of usual for me. In the list of rules in our marriage, first was no sleeping around. Second was no violence towards Becky, Katie or the cats. And third was no going into B&N unsupervised. It was simply not tolerated. But I needed a new journal. I have been writing a lot recently. And the paper has to feel good, so I spent some time fondling the stationary in the journals.

But mainly it was good to talk to Georgene. She is doing better than the last time we saw each other, which I think was Katie's birthday party in late June. She is more able to talk about Becky. We were able to share our pain a little bit easier this time. There was less bitterness. She had been really unhappy before about things that were basically trivial; one of the nurses the day Becky died was a half hour late with a breathing treatment. There is simply no way that could have made any difference. Or they waited an hour or so longer than the head nurse wanted before putting her on a ventilator. Neither of those things were going to change the fact that Becky's time had run out. She may have lasted another day or so, but it wouldn't have been living. I came to peace with that very quickly, but it took Georgene longer, but she has. So that was very positive to see.

I tried and tried to get her to ask me about Alisa, but she wouldn't. I asked about how Becky's brother's new girlfriend was working out, and made a comment in sympathy to his dating woes. But she refused. I was not going to leave until it came up somehow though. It had been bothering me the last few weeks and I needed to see that it was okay. Maybe not something she understood exactly. But I wanted to be sure that it was not causing her additional pain. So I finally just broke down and got Katie to talk about pizza Friday night and how nice it was to see Ms. Alisa and Brian. And Katie did beautifully for me - I love this girl - because not only did she just beam when talking about her, but she referred to her as either Ms. Alisa or as her Sunday school teacher. So that it was clear first of all that there is obvious affection between the two of them, and that their relationship stands entirely on its own. Katie doesn't think of her as my girlfriend, but as her teacher. Which is really cool for me.

And so let's talk about Friday. We met with Alisa and Brian at Peter Piper Pizza down close to where they live. Which is a pretty long drive for us; it is close to campus, which is convenient, but that is a long drive, especially during Friday traffic. So we were a little stressed before we got there, and they were missing their Katie, who decided that PPP was more than she could handle. Which is not surprising because it was more than I could handle. It is basically like a Chuck E. Cheese's or a Showbiz Pizza, except the pizza isn't as good (!!!) and the games are in about half the space. There are the same number of games, just totally crammed in. So the whole place is sensory overloaded, and there are kids everywhere. And of course, I am big fat gigantic guy, and so horribly stressed I am going to squish a toddler with every step. (Somehow, I don't see this paragraph appearing in a PPP ad anytime soon. But it is the pizza place that Katie and Brian are accustomed to, and I wanted them to have every home court advantage since Katie and I are more adaptable.)

So now that I am done railing on the restaurant, we had a very nice time. The smiles exchanged between Katie and Alisa when they walked in were so beautiful. They hadn't seen each other in two weeks because of the trips we each took and Alisa missing church last week. Brian is a sweet boy; he is less affected than Katie by the fragile X, but it is clear that his language development is not normal, and he does have some behavioral issues. He wants to be completely independent and do everything with noone watching him, but at the same time he needs to be pretty constantly watched. Watching Alisa balance that was again just breath-taking. It reminded me so much of Becky and Katie, especially during the time right after Becky had surgery and couldn't hold her. It was impossible for Katie to embarrass Becky because she was egoless when with Katie. She was so tuned in to Katie's needs, including and especially discipline, that a little tantrum never escalated because Katie learned there was no point. I told this to Alisa this morning when we talked, and I told her I would never compliment her so much as comparing her mothering skills to Becky's. But to go back, it was so cool to watch as she knew exactly what his needs were, what he could do and couldn't. He had to do everything he could, even when he claimed he couldn't. It was just awesome.

I feel so inadequate with them as a family. Katie and Alisa have such a natural relationship, but they have an opportunity to foster that separate from me, and Alisa is an elementary teacher, so she knows what she is doing anyway. So while they have this great bonding going on, it is tough not being able to develop much of a relationship. Alisa can help me when she comes over on Tuesdays and entertains Katie while I do the dishes and stuff, but there is no way at this point for me to be any help to her. I guess the best help is by not trying to help and getting in the way, but it is tough to take much satisfaction in that.

So Alisa and I are at a pretty interesting crossroads, I guess. We have been dating five weeks now, and we were talking on E-harmony off and on for six weeks or so before that. I would like to formalize things a little more and she doesn't want to. I guess I was a little surprised that she wanted to introduce me to her children while still seeing another guy. I am bold and she is cautious. I guess that combo worked well for Becky and me, so I shouldn't knock it too much. And part of that is that I do have less of a relationship with her children than she does with Katie. So I can see more clearly how a step-child relationship will be than she can. And I am just talking about getting to use the g-word, not the l-word. I don't think the word crossroads is right because I can't imagine any of this sending us down separate paths any time soon.

Oh, and the other thing that is happening is that I am going to an individual therapist starting next Tuesday. Katie and I have been doing the family counseling at the Children's Bereavement Center here in San Antonio, which is a fabulous deal. But the mini-meltdown I had last weekend which left me unable to study for a few days reinforced that I have a lot on my plate right now. (You can read about the meltdown in the "wedding vows" thread on the grieving forum) It was not too big a deal to shut down studying for a few days in September, but come November, it would be a more serious deal. Alisa and Deno both mentioned it to me recently, and I think they are right.

And now it is late, and I must sleep before church tomorrow. I haven't read any of the posts from today, but I hope you all had great days and have another tomorrow.


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