Mancub's girlfriend's father called me while I was at work today - irate. Wanted to know why he was hearing that he was going to interrogate Mancub. Matching his intensity sans the anger, I let him know that what we had said is that Mancub is no longer to go to his house. He seemed annoyed by that, and I explained that he and his ex-wife were having custody battles over their daughter, that things were clearly getting heated, and that our son really shouldn't be in the middle of that conflict - nor should we, his parents. He wanted to explain his rules, and I said that they were neither here nor there at this point, because Mancub wouldn't be going over there and so the rules were not an issue. Somehow, these families at war have tried to recruit us and when that fails to go to war with us, and to allow our son to play a role in their extreme relationship issues. And we are the dramatic people? Mercy.
I guess I forgot that when I signed up to be a parent, I signed up to deal with other parents.
Mancub had a difficult time in Driver's Training yesterday. It was painful for him, and for us to watch. I've promised him that now that the move is over, Papa Seed and I will step up to the plate to make sure he gets in all the practice driving he should have been getting all along. I guess the parent in the above paragraph "offered" or "suggested" that he would take him out for practice drives. This message was conveyed through the daughter, and Mancub wasn't too thrilled by it. We let Mancub know that wasn't going to be happening. It was our job. He already has two Dads. He doesn't need a third.
I'm a bit of a nervous passenger, which is kind of like saying Tom Cruise is a tad daffy, and I flinched several times as Mancub was driving us through the neighborhood down the narrow streets. There was a good .005 of an inch between the passenger side of the car and cars parked on the side of the street at all times, so I don't know why I was worried. He only went about 10 miles an hour faster than he should have been going too. I'll be doing this every night, or every other night if Papa Seed and I take turns. I hope I can't be arrested for Drunk Back Seat Driving, because I may have to toss back a few stiff ones before doing it again.
I watched 51 Birch Street after work today. It was, in a way, the perfect film for this week of reflection and soft grief. Do we ever know our parents? the ad copy reads, and the answer seems to be "no", but in one way or another we will spend a big portion of our lives trying to figure it out. I know that is true for me, the first few weeks of May each year especially. I've come to appreciate my father so much more after his death than I ever did when he was alive. In the film, Doug Block (the filmmaker) comes to a different understanding of his father by the end - one still full of conflict - but an appreciation. Then there is the sadness of the loss of his mother, and reflections on the life his mother was never able to live. I could relate. I'm sure I'll be spacing out tomorrow - thinking about this film and my life.