with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
We’re a team of routine, my son and I. We like to know what to expect and during this past year and a half of Just Us Two, we’ve set about implementing comforting repetitive motions to our days.
Saturday mornings we amble through the forest to the rocky beach to throw pebbles, Sunday we stop for pancakes after soccer. Bedtime is at 7:30, and we read two books, not three, and he leaps into my arms for a final hug.
“You’re getting so big!” I tell him each night.
“You can barely lift me!” he replies, grinning, and I kiss his smooth cheek. He reciprocates with a fish-kiss somewhere between my ear and my eyeball.
Tuesday nights we shop for the week’s groceries, and that’s just what we’re doing tonight. I choose some spinach tortillas and pitch them in our cart, distractedly squinting at the bagel labels as Nolan sneaks chocolate donuts quietly into the front basket.
“Um, no,” I say, and start to put them back before I notice they’re slightly squished and I hesitate, can I put squished donuts back? “You said you were going to be very goo-”
I stop mid-sentence, and freeze, taking stock of the familiar gait of an unusually large, smiling man in front of me.
“Hi Nolan!” he says.
He is about 6 foot 3, jet-black hair peppered with silver at the temples, meat hook hands and a tiny gap in between his front teeth. He’s thirty one, and his eyes are green at one moment, hazel the next, and even though he’s still five paces away, I know he smells like Ivory soap and Sunlight laundry detergent, the lemon kind. My heart plummets.
“Hi Daddy!” Nolan shrieks, scrambling to hug his father.
I’m left with a mildly burning face, god we’re trying to be so casual about the fact that he’s moved 800 miles to live 2 miles away from us. And now does stuff like accompany me to Nolan’s swimming lesson and bump into us at the grocery store.
I’m suddenly conscious of my frayed jeans and shoes that need polishing and I wander down the aisle pretending to be absorbed in grape jam and brown sugar. Nolan babbles happily, he seems to be adjusting to this situation beautifully as his Father and I stumble along.
I can feel my son’s father glancing at me and I pull a tube of saran wrap from the shelf, forgetting that I have a full one at home. I’m kind of in front of my son and his father, pushing the cart but lingering, wanting to burn rubber into the parking lot but realizing the unacceptability of that urge.
“Ohmigod this is weird,” I say, looking at my ex.
He grins,”This is SO weird,”he agrees, and we push our carts away from each other, to separate cash out areas.
“Bye Daddy, I see you later!” our son cries happily and I covet a shred of his nonchalance.
I’m curious to know, for those of you who are divorced or separated: how far do you live from your ex? What kind of difference does that make in how you parent your children?
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