Re: Trip Away
I've been honest, and shifting emotions in times of stress are not uncommon for any of us I'd imagine. I am not the controlling or insecure type and the only thing I've ever said 'no' about in 15 years of marriage was a new sewing machine for my spouse. Before kids she traveled on her own, I did, too. We have friends we spend time with separately, and the worst thing she's ever said to me in regards to insecurity was that she wishes I would be a little more insecure, a little more jealous when she was spending time with other people. But that's another issue (probably one several of you can identify with). And yes, I will clearly admit that the way I've been feeling about this issue has shifted almost daily and that's probably reflected in my writing, for better or worse. I wasn't trying to lead the thread anywhere, and sympathy or rebuke from strangers is a worthless commodity to me. I am here to garner advice, receive wisdom, and respond when apt.
I've reflected a lot about this situation since I came to you all for help in understanding. I come at this the way I do because the time with the kids while they are young is precious and valuable and fleeting. There will be time enough for tours to my mind, time enough to do those things when the kids are gone, or when the kids are older and not craving time with us as much as they do now. It is difficult for me to understand how she did not see it that way, but feeling so doesn't make me insecure or controlling. As for their future experiences away, perhaps it is my weakness that if they wanted to do a similar tour without us I'd be of the strong desire to take the $3,000 we'd pay for such a thing and see what we could do as a family. Yes, my preference would be to have those experiences together rather than apart. I think it may be different when they are in high school for several reasons. But these swift years when the kids are still kids and actually want to be with us during breaks will be gone all too soon.
In any event it all came to a head last night. My spouse was driving the kids home from their activities and decided to talk to them about her being gone for Spring Break. Neither of us had talked to them much about it at all, and when she asked them if they had any questions my 10-year-old asked my wife why she "wanted to spend spring break with other people and not her." She didn't know what to say. My 6-year-old then said, "Mommy wants to do adventures with other people; Daddy wants to do adventures with us."
I didn't say anything when my wife told me that (yes, I've given up being 'cagey' - it's too much trouble trying to keep track of pronouns). Just held her. She spent a chunk of the night crying. It all came spilling out. She already feels like the kids talk to me more, like me more, have more fun with me, mind me better. Just thing after thing. And now this. We did laugh a little when the situation reminded us of a quote from Christmas Vacation: "Sometimes things look good on paper, but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks." Wisdom from Mr. Frank Shirley...
I should have spoken my mind about it earlier to her at the outset. I take my share of blame. In an effort to continue to be... uncontrolling I kept my opinions to myself all those months ago. Now it's all just a big emotional cluster**** that now has hurt my wife and kids and the toothpaste is going to be a mess getting back into the tube.
Oh, and Cooper, I didn't say it sounded great because it *doesn't* sound great. Leading a tour of 20 students sounds like a level of Dante's hell to me.
But I think somewhere this thread got off track. It started with me wondering if the decision to change the spring break tradition after a decade was a sign of something. It's turned (admittedly with my help) into a question about the wisdom or value of the trip vs. the wisdom and value of time with the fam. It's turned into what kind of a person I am or am not, and that's not why I came to this forum or posted this thread. I'm still wondering if there's been some kind of shift in her perceptions or feelings. She says no, that at the time it just sounded like it would be good for the students. I guess I need to take that at face value and move on, though I am still wondering why the change. After all, these tours have been available since we started our teaching careers over a decade ago.
Anyhow, I guess that's that. Thanks again for your help and time. I'll try to be an active member of the community here and share what wisdom I have - which, admittedly and obviously - occasionally isn't much. But I have a thriving and successful family, and if this is the the worst issue my marriage has had to face in a decade-and-a-half I can't be totally devoid of some family/parenting chops so I'll help when I can.