01 July, 2007

Moral Dilemma #18,648

or at least that's what it feels like.

so here is the thing. Having a second child was a terrifying venture, one which took me YEARS to be okay with after figuring out that Jake was, well, Jake. We did, obviously, and WOW, I could not imagine how great my life would be adding Lucy to the mix. The kids played together in the backyard today, and little Lucy gave Jake a hug today.. and even better, he let her hug him!

Alas...not all is perfect bliss. So here's my deal. I have been going to So Cal with Lucy every few months. Okay I have been twice. I get my hair cut and my mom watches Lucy. I go shopping with my mom and Lucy. We take Lucy to fancy restaurants (like we used to do with Jake when he was her age). Lucy plays with her little cousin Bubsy (who is 13 months older). Then I fly home where Jake and Descartes have been spending the weekend together. I was planning on going again at the end of July, or maybe in mid-August.

So I was asked this evening if I was ever going to take Jake to Southern California for the weekend? Did I only take Lucy because my mom has a favorite? They were innocent enough questions, but it made me really sad. When I talked to Descartes about it, he (innocently) had made the same assumption that I would alternate which kid I take to visit 'my' family. He's not sure why it is such a big deal. And it's not really, but it is. Yes, it is a big deal to me.

And so it has begun. This was one of the things I worried a lot about before Lucy was born. If Jake can't do something (go camping on the beach or go horseback riding for example**) does this mean that Lucy doesn't get to do it either? If I am not willing to, in my opinion, torment Jake with a trip to Southern California where he will need to "be careful" the entire time he is there.. does that mean I shouldn't go with Lucy a few times a year?

When Jake was a baby I used to drive down by myself, or fly regularly. Descartes and I also used to visit there a lot more than we do now (basically we go for Christmas now). I want Lucy to have some of those same special..all about the little baby experiences that Jake had. Am I awful for wanting that for her?

And maybe this is all wrapped up in the fact that my family doesn't really come here very often, and traveling with Jake is a lot more difficult than traveling with Lucy (although he never screamed on a plane like she has).


here is the bad part

I do like the experience sometimes of not being the mom with a special needs kid. No matter what, when I am with Jake, that is the first thing people think about. He is not a subtle child (unless you are at a water park.. you might not be able to see his disabilities right away at a water park). Not that I am not always his mom.. of course he is always taking up a ginormous space in my heart and head.. but when I am sans kids with my family, or with any one, or I just have Lucy with me, sometimes people are able to communicate with me without that sad face...that sad, "poor jennyalice" look. Sometimes I am able to have conversations which are not solely focused on my child's development.. or better yet, I am able to talk with my parents about Jake's development without the need to run around and chase the child we are discussing. I get a chance to breathe.

Is that selfish? That's it, I'm selfish and that is one thing I do not like being called. I try each day to be as generous as I can, and this desire to take Lucy on a trip makes me feel selfish, which is why the questions rubbed me the wrong way.

I don't know. I am sad. I am sad because this will keep coming up and I will keep being judged. If I take Lucy and leave Jake I am not being "fair", if I take Jake and leave Lucy then I am being a "martyr" who "can't let go". If I take them both I will be "found dead in an airport bathroom".

Even if I go now and take Lucy as I had planned (by the way this was the last time this year I was going to do this, so it will have been a total of three times in 13 months), even if I go it will be tarnished and I will be thinking about how I "left Jake behind". And this is never going to be an issue with Descartes' family because they live near us, so my husband will never need to deal with this dilemma. Each kid has easily visited his parents' house solo, together, it is not a big deal because it is so common (though most times we are all together).

I had the most amazing relationship with my grandmother. We went on the train together and to the opera and the zoo, and the symphony and plays and Europe... and my brother, he didn't do any of those things with her. And somehow we both loved her so much that we each named our daughters after her (they have the same middle name).

and I guess I want a little bit of that for Lucy.

** Jake loves the water, so a trip to the beach requires many adults. We car camp away from the beach..and Jake cannot sit on a horse by himself, will not wear a helmet etc...
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