11:29 AM, Friday, July 30th, 2021:
So we had a wonderful time at Tracey and Lynn's this week (Talya's aunt and her wife) and I'm just thrilled the kids are finally to an age where we don't have to constantly worry about what their day will look like. I think that was around 6 for our kids. The age where they can roll with the punches a little easier. Handle a couple hours in a car a little easier... hang with adults a little easier. People without kids don't understand why so many things you just... can't do for a bit. I mean, you CAN... but it's miserable. Putting toddlers in a car for 2-3 hours when it DOESN'T end in Disnyland? Is harrrrd. And then to just "hang"? With no planned activities other than they have a pool? That shit ain't flyin' too well with 3 and 4 year olds. 7 and 8? Oh hell yes. And we got to drink and have fun as well. Absolutely relaxing and if not for the fucking teacher anti-vax news would've been perfect.
Mother fuck. Mother fuck fuck fuck.
However... one thing hit both Talya and me like a ton of bricks: guest protocol PTSD. What happened with Jimmy and Kaylyn in 2019 is clearly burned in our brain. Oh shit I just said their names. I mean... duh, but I hadn't alluded to the problems specifically being with them - but it didn't take much to read behind the lines. But the breakdown is this:
We were trying to take a 5 and 6 year old to a concert in San Diego that started after their bedtime. To date? Maybe the hardest logistical nightmare of our parenting lives. Also, staying at Kaylyn's parents meant picking up every loose scrap of paper, following them around constantly and trying to keep them occupied. But man, we did it. Pulled of Sea World too... the place was immaculate when we left - I still cannot believe we pulled off the concert, the park, the time in between... whew.
Then of course the drama that followed about how hard it was for Kaylyn and various issues that were literally never brought up until we had already left... it's a laundry list of crazy that really doesn't matter because it had nothing to do with our visit and everything to do with her. But it was the straw that made us finally write to Jimmy and explain that we couldn't let our kids fall in love with them any more than they already have. We had to protect them, and we did, and we're very thankful we did because they STILL talk about them all the time. I cannot fathom what it would be like now.
I say all that to say this: Talya and I felt that rising anxiety throughout our visit. Kept trying to clean-up... kept making sure we said the right things, kept trying to offer money for food, kept trying to do EVERY POSSIBLE THING RIGHT because being guests 2 years ago ended up being wildly traumatic. Of course Tracey and Lynn are nothing like the seeming teenagers we stayed with back then, but it still stuck with us. I even fixed part of their deck that had an overhang that the kids kept knocking their heads on because I so incessantly needed to make sure things were better than when we arrived. I'm never this manic about shit like that and I was actually shaking at points because the stress of what happened in 2019 was just hiding somewhere in my brain. Thankfully, a couple drinks made that go away and we really did have a lovely time... but it's gonna take years to fully fix that. That really did a number on us.
The Journey is awesome. I get to write this entry and put this in stone. I get to describe a synapse in my brain that is backfiring and then guess what? It gets easier. This really, really, really is therapy for me. I feel better having typed it out. Hopefully the next time we all sleep over somewhere I can read this entry and approach it differently. I just didn't know it was coming this time.
Their little pool was also super fun.
Hope we get to go back soon!