Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Love is....

So, there's about 50 million Ziggy cartoons and cross-stitch samplers that complete that sentence. Maybe it's easier to say what love is not?

I've been watching my son and his Drama Queen girlfriend (see July 7th post for details). They are 16, and think they're going on 25. My son has a habit of being attracted to girls who need rescuing. Drama Queen needs rescuing in a major way.

Some background: Drama Queen's parents are divorced. According to her dad, the mom walked out when she was tired of taking care of kids and wanted to just take care of herself. The woman has some issues that sound akin to being bipolar. She's also an actress in the community theater and behaves not quite as mature as her daughter. She's one of these moms who is interested primarily in being her child's friend rather than acting as a parent.

According to the mom, she walked out when her husband rubbed his girlfriend in her face. His married girlfriend who was in a "swinging" situation with her own husband. The three of them have had a "marriage" ceremony. Heebie jeebies, I tell ya. I've met Drama Queen's dad, too. Not a nice guy. Drama Queen's idea of appropriate conversation involves references to blow-up dolls and such, as sex toys and the like are dinner table conversation for the adults in her life.

She lives with her mom now. This is a new thing. Her father agreed to give up custody when someone reported them to the child welfare people and the investigation was not going well for him. Rather than let the investigators dig too deep, he gave up custody. The manner he chose to do this in was to dump Drama Queen and a cardboard box of her stuff in a baseball field parking lot in the rain, and called the mom to go pick her up. Like I said, not a nice guy.

So, Drama Queen works and pays rent to her mother. Her mother has a procession of boyfriends, who she actually agrees to marry and strings them along to get stuff from (like TVs, etc.), then dumps them when something better comes along. It's not unusual for Drama Queen to get a call like this, while at my house:

DQ's Mom: "When are you coming home?"
DQ: "In about an hour. Not long."
DQ's Mom: "Well, my boyfriend is here with me, so don't be in a hurry to get home."

Just fills you with warm fuzzies, doesn't it?

All in all, this is not love. But it's the examples of love that Drama Queen has known. To me, she seems to be looking for a guy to protect her, shelter her, and let her take care of him. She's looking for the qualities a dad should have -- the provider and protector she's never had. Tis need to feel protected is strong, though. Maybe it's because her folks throw things into her life she wishes she was protected from -- the "swinging" lifestyle, her dad's girlfriends, her mom's boyfriends.

But one way or another, that's a strong desire in her. So, she's always coming up with new situations in which she needs to be protected and comforted. By my son.

So far, she's wanted him to protect her from her mom's boyfriends, her dad, her dad's "wife," boys she used to date, girls who don't like her, an alleged convicted rapist working where she worked (Son made her quit and get a new job), Ranger looking at her too much, me (she says I'm scary because I tell her to quit sitting in my son's lap and quit trying to put his hand up her shirt), "fainting" spells (which are more like laying-down spells), nightmares, strange noises in her house, and a host of other daily little things that I'm probably not even completely aware of.

The Damsel in Distress Syndrome is wearing thin at my house. This is not love.

Unfortunately, the male role model he's had all his life is the perfect example of a man who protects and provides for his family above all else. That's my dad, who has stepped in and filled the gaping holes left by my ex in the "example" department. I say "unfortunately" because this plays right into the Damsel in Distress Syndrome, and perpetuates it. His desire to protect her is a facet of love, but taking advantage of that is not.

DQ and my son will be at the same high school next year. Oh boy. Son was excited that they could go to football games and dances and such together. FINALLY! I thought. He'll finally get into his new school and have some fun in high school.

"No," DQ said. "I hate football." Plays and art shows are what interest her. They can go there. Not the stuff he likes, though.

That isn't love, either.

The two of them have about 50 arguments a week. One is forever mad at the other. I think they think turmoil means they're in love. They care enough to hate each other regularly, and then work it out. Nope, that's not love, either.

DQ hangs around our house all the time now. She's never been in a "normal" family situation, and I think she's finding something with us that she's not felt before. We have a three-generation home, since 1996. That's a lot of people working things out to live in the same space for a long time.

My folks have been married for over 40 years. They've worked out the give-and-take, even though they still have bumps in the road. They enjoy each other and really do "foresake all others." That's not something DQ has seen in a grown-up relationship yet. Then there's me, the single mom who has made her kids the bigger priority. DQ hasn't seen that, either. Her dad flaunted girlfriends while still married to her mom, and she never knows who is going to be at the breakfast table in her mom's house. In contrast, I've never had a boyfriend spend the night with my kids in the house, and they don't even meet most of the men I've dated.

With Ranger and me, she sees a new relationship between two people who make an effort to be considerate and respectful of one another. Ranger makes an effort to always take care of me, in all situations, but I am a strong, independent individual. And the reverse is true, too. I don't need to be taken care of. I don't require it. Neither does he. But we do considerate things for each other to ease the daily stresses. We share.

That is love. Well, part of it. Love is a great many things.

We have dinner as a family, at the dining room table. We cook together and eat together. Certainly, we're not perfect. We get on each other's nerves and argue like all families do. But we come out it, forgive, and move on. That is love, too.

So, maybe we can help DQ learn a little of what men and women are to each other when they are truly in love. She has a great interest in converting to our family's religion, too. It's a family-oriented faith, in which the roles of men and women are highly respected. Some of the anti-Mormon crap that's out there will say otherwise, but it's exactly that -- crap.

Maybe she can learn what it means to love and be loved, to respect and be respected....if she truly listens and watches those around her. I do hope so. For everyone's sake.

In the meantime, I need to gently warn Son about this father-figure she's looking for. In romantic relationship, that's certainly not how he wants her to see him. He needs to be strong, but enable her to be strong, too. That is also love.


Lady in red said...

sounds like she has had a tough time, I hope she doesn't bring your son down

Blogget Jones said...

That's my sincere hope, too, Lady!! I always hope my kids will elevate those around them, instead of letting others bring them down. I guess that will be tested now.


Gingers Mom said...

Eeek. She needs someone to help her. I can only imagine how I would feel if that was my son. Scary.

Sassy Blondie said...

This is not good, Blogget. Not. Good. She'll work hard to get pregnant, so I sincerely hope your son doesn't fall orey to that. My brother had a gf in high school like that, and when he finally did have the talk to break up with her, she wrecked her car during her hysterics with him in it! Needless to say, she milked another 6 months out of him during her recovery (and his!). I finally told my brother to just get out before she got knocked up. I wouldn't have put it past her to put holes in his condoms....

Good luck! While her situation is unfortunate, she's damaged and will attempt to take him down that road with her...

Mike said...

I wouldn't be able to help myself. I can't stand drama queens like that.

When she layed on the floor, I'd pick her up. Then smack her. Then when your son got all pissed off, I'd smack him too.

I'd continue smacking both of them until at least one of them got some sense or until you kicked me out for beating on your child ;)

Walker said...

I used to know what love was until I got hit in the head with a puck. Maybe if we hit her in the head with a puck it will do the opposite.

I could say alot of things but in the end what we think and say is meaningless.
You son is the only judge.
Maybe hit him in the head with a puck HA HA HA

I could see her 20 years from now on a triple dose of prozak

Bollinger Byrd said...

What a wise post.
What a pain in the arse girlfriend.
What a lot your son's got to learn.
Lets hope he'll be able to hear you before it's too late and she's trapped him.
What a way to bring up your child, some parents shouldn't be allowed to bring up their own children.
She must be getting some very powerful stuff from being round your son and the rest of you.
hugs x

Blogget Jones said...

I'm with you all, that she is likely to try to trap him. I'd be surprised if that hasn't occurred to her yet, too. Sometimes, she seems to be pushing him in the right direction, as far as his priorities go. Other times, she's sitting in his lap. Her mother infuriates me! My son has said, "I really don't like her mom as a mom."

I just pray every day for a good resolution to this because it's a seriously touchy situation!

Thanks everyone!
:o) BJ