Sunday, 12/23, the three children and I head to church, before which the girls try to persuade Jack to go with us to Grandma's. Nope, he's not going. We head off to church and enjoy our time. Upon our return, to check one more time if he'd go with us, we leave him to his sourness and head to grandma's. While there, we have a great time, but no one mentions Jack - it's so weird that we all know about things being strange, but we never talk about it. Well, at least not then. We have a great Christmas, enjoy being with all of the kids and my family. It felt really good to be able to let it go. Enjoy the moment, all of that. When we got home, it was very uncomfortable, Jack being his usual moodswing self, not wanting to talk to anyone, etc. But my parents had gotten him something that I thought he'd really like. The kids ran it in, placed it in front of him, and he shouts "Why in the h*#9 would you think I'd want that. The girls go running off crying, LT rolls his eyes and goes upstairs, and I am pretty furious. I will say that I was able to say that he was being completely unreasonable, and so he left to "get something to eat," because in this state of mind, he never eats with us, won't eat the food we have in the house, it's all very weird.
Abby goes home to her mom's house, the kids and I head off to our rooms for bed, and Jack sleeps in the spare bedroom again. It was shaping up to be a horrendous holiday, once again.
However, this time - God was moving - even in the midst of all the chaos.
Monday 12/24 - We awaken to crabby dad, and Maggie & I begin to prepare our Christmas cookies, rolls, etc. Mid day, we decide that Abby will come over for dinner that night, as she had plans with her mom's family after our Christmas morning festivities. Jack continued to stomp around and be generally horrible. When I tried to talk to him about Abby coming over, he said to eat without him. I began questioning him, calmly for a change, with what we had done to make him so upset. He proceeded to say he was packing a bag and going to a hotel so he wouldn't have to "put up" with the "crap" anymore. When I asked what I was doing that he was having to "put up" with, he grumbled un-coherently and stomped up the steps. Well, in mid jumping in drama, I went up and told him that if he left it was his choice, but that wasn't what I wanted, and it wasn't what the kids wanted. I told him that families that love each other work things out - they don't leave whenever they want to. He left, and I was shaking I was so upset, angry, something. I don't do anger well, so maybe that's what I was and just didn't know it. I told the kids I'd be back because I needed to calm down.
When I got back 20 minutes later, he was there. We began talking, and he was being much more calm and reasonable. I was suspicious, but continued the conversation. It came out that he was frustrated by LT's lack of motivation, lack of attention to anything (pretty much breathing and being a 17 year-old), but when I told him Families worked things out, it got his attention. He told me he heard the exact same thing on Jerry Spr*&ger earlier in the day - and he remembered it and wanted to do things differently. Well, let's just say I'm not one of Jerry's biggest fans, but after this - maybe I can tolerate him from afar! LOL. He said he was tired of not feeling like a family (but he still doesn't see that his drinking and his actions drive all of us to seclusion), and he wants to do things differently. Abby was on her way over for dinner by this time, but afraid to come in the door. She did, we proceeded to have our Christmas meal, and it was obvious he was doing better, but we were still skeptical.
It was then that God's hand became real - Jack asked what time he needed to be ready so we could all go to church together. I may have cried a bit while I was in the shower as we all prepared to go to midnight services. We sat together, in one row, in church - the last time he was there had to be 3 years ago or more when Maggie had a concert. It was amazing. He said afterwards that he was thankful that we were all there together.
God is good, all the time. And working, even when we can't see.
to be continued....