I have brought my boys and Spencer's kids down to Texas to spend Labor Day weekend with him. This is the first time all six of us have been in Texas together.
I had an uneasy feeling about this weekend from the start. It had nothing to do with the 7 hour drive, or traveling with 4 kids. It had to do with... I never know what to expect from Spencer's almost 11 year old son.
See...in the beginning, things were great with Corban. He liked the idea that I was a teacher. He liked me teaching him new things. Then one weekend that we (Spencer, myself, and his 2 kids) spent together in AR, that all changed. Spencer jokingly mentioned that one day I might be Corban's step-mom.
Since that time, Corban has done little things to try to get under my skin. Most of the time I just ignore them... or, in the least, tell him to stop.
I know what he is going through. I know his feelings well enough that I can normally predict his next move. See...I am a person whose parents are divorced and my mom dated when I was a kid. I know how happy a certain someone made my mom and I promptly told her that I would be respectful of him (if she ever married him), but he would not be my dad and he would not tell me what to do.
Which is why I don't understand why tonight caught me so off guard...
You see, Spencer loves apple pie. Normally his mom makes him an apple pie on the weekends he comes up to see his kids. This weekend she ran out of time before I left with the kids, so she just sent the apples with us.
This evening Spencer casually asked what he was going to do with all of these apples. I said I could make him a pie, if he wanted. I went to the computer to look up a recipe. (I mean, I have never made an apple pie before, but I do like to bake and have made other pies, so....) About that time Corban asked if he could used Spencer's phone. After Corban walked off, I said to Spencer, "Guarantee he is calling your mom for the apple pie recipe." Sure enough he was.
Now, I know a lot of you are thinking, "Oh. easy fix. Use Spencer's mom's recipe. No biggie." But, I guess, it is how it was presented... Corban was trying to control the situation.
...and so the butting of heads was on.
I printed off the recipe I had found. Corban brought his recipe to me. I compared the two.
(Honestly, I had nothing against Spencer's mom's (Nana)recipe....but it was written in 10 yr old boy writing ~missing measurements and steps). That is one thing, when it comes to recipes (and directions) I follow them step-by-step. I am not one of these people who experiment in the kitchen. So, I told Corban that I would just use the one I had found on-line.
Corbin kept asking Spencer, "Do you want Nana's apple pie or the inter-net's? You already know you like Nana's." So I said, "Well, who knows...maybe your dad will like my apple pie. He's never had it before." Then I turned to Spencer and said, "'Cause I know if I make Nana's now, it won't be as good as hers in Corban's eyes."
We headed into town to get all the necessary ingredients. While Corban called to tell his Pa that I wasn't going to use Nana's recipe but "one found on the inter-net". By this time, I had my fill. I thought I was doing a nice gesture by offering to make an apple pie...and now it was nothing but a headache.
Spencer was having a hard time understanding why I was having such a hard time with this situation. I tried to explain to him that no matter what I do, I'm the bad guy with Corban. I'm not used to that! I am with children daily. Children who will misbehave, and I discipline, and then at the end of the day hug me and tell me they can't wait to see me tomorrow. I know how to connect with kids! It's what I do. But that connection is a two-way street. Both parties have to be willing to give a little.
I, by no means, ever want to come between Spencer and his kids... because I would expect him to always choose his children first.
Yeah...I'm realizing more and more that Mike and Carol Brady had it TOO easy ~ six kids and no resentment. Whateva!