Steve and I have an extremely unconventional family. Between the two of us we have five kids between the ages of 23 years and 18 months. This past weekend, our eldest -- the 23 year old -- and his family came to visit. He is active military and this is the first time in two years that he's been able to visit. His Dad has had two surgeries since his last visit. There was a lot of catching up to do. Including filling him in on his Dad's prognosis.
One thing I have become good at over the last three years is explaining Steve's situation. Steve doesn't like to talk about it and really hates to sound like he's complaining or whining. So, I have taken on the roll of "explainer".
It was hard for my stepson to see his Dad in obvious pain. Like everyone else, he wanted to help, but didn't know how to offer without offending his Dad. (Not that he would have, but until you've been around Steve for awhile, you don't know that.) He was also understandably worried.
He had gotten some wrong information along the way. Stuff like that happens. We didn't want to worry him, so we really didn't mention it when we talked to him on the phone. Other people like to spread gossip, such as his Dad lost his license rather than he simply no longer drives due to his pain levels. Same outcome, different subcontext.
I'm glad I had the chance to talk to him. Part of me wishes I would have explained things sooner, but I still stand by my decision. Explaining the situation while our stepson was in a combat zone just didn't seem appropriate. There was nothing life threatening and it could wait.
I'm also glad I got the conversation over with during their first night here. It saved a lot of awkward moments. Father and son had an excellent time and there was no white elephant in the room. We all had a wonderful time and the weekend was a smashing success.
Now we just have to figure out how we can return the visit. I'm not sure they make a large enough pain killer for Steve to survive a 1600 mile trip!