On the other hand...

If you ever watched Seinfeld, you can remember Jerry often musing over a situation. He propose one course of action, then say "On the other hand.."

There are many of the "other hand" scenarios in my family.

I love seeing my son on weekends. Its great to spend time with him, and to talk with him to the extent he is willing or able to talk with us. On the other hand, he is usually so excited about coming home, the first night he is here, he paces all night, talks to himself, gets into our stash of soft drinks or milk, spills said soft drinks or milk on the carpet. No sleep that night. The next day, he paces up and down in the living room, singing to himself and clapping, unable to really interact with us except to walk around us as he paces. I've actually witnessed him pacing about 24 hours straight.

On the other hand, if he spends more than a couple of nights with us, he gets into our routine, sleeps through the night, and begins to relax. We can end up having lots of conversations about what he is thinking. He often will watch an interesting news show on television with us, and ask questions about what he sees. These are moments I cherish.

Since my husband and I both work, having our son home on weekends can mean two nights of sleep deprivation, so we limit those weekends to once a month. I feel so guilty about that, since he really looks forward to coming home. On the other hand, there are weekends I need to get some rest, do some housework, etc. Also, selfishly, I want to be able to get together with friends.

We love taking our son with us when we go on vacation. He is a great traveler, loves to see new places and go to new restaurants. Staying at a hotel is best, since he really sleeps well in a hotel (I think it is the dark room, the fact that we all go to sleep, turn off the light, turn off the tv). On the other hand, we sometimes like to go places he would not enjoy, and stay up late, going to theaters (where pacing and clapping are frowned upon). We have come to the place in our lives where we have learned to go on some vacations alone, and save the trips with no agenda and lots of "walking tours" of something - especially zoos - to share with our son.

We've had some tense times on vacation, when our son is out of his routine and is wanting to do something we can't do right away, making a little bit of a scene. On the other hand, we have had so many good times, such as when we went to Disneyland, and our son got to see his favorite cartoon characters, hugging them and crying with grief when we had to leave.

Yes, lots of "on the other hands.."


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