I’ve gotten a bit of traffic from some other blogs, and it occurred to me that there may be people reading this who don’t actually know my pre-existing conditions, making it kind of hard to understand how they’ve changed. Basically, I legally separated from my ex, the father of my children, way back in 2003. We’d been married for over three years, together for seven. At that time, it took two years to file for a no-fault divorce in New Jersey. Now it apparently only takes six months; either way, it took us six years.
Why? Hard to say. We split custody 50/50 from the get-go, a situation that the girls handled amazingly well (contrary to some expectations), and I think we were reluctant to rock the boat by dragging up old issues or looking too closely at new ones. Yes, there were some conversations about getting back together during those first two years, but none of them ever lasted ’til morning. (And no, we never hooked up, which my shrink at the time said was probably a sign, and it seems she was right.) On a day to day basis, we got along fine, which meants lots of trips to zoos and museums and shows as a “family,” albeit an odd one. But it worked. Em and El’s fabulopolous kindergarten teacher told us that when she first heard about our split-week situation, she assumed that she’d be dealing with a kid who didn’t know if she was coming or going. Then she announced (she’s an announcey-type lady), “Em always knows what’s going on, and that you both love her. You guys are great parents.” I spent the rest of my very first parent-teacher conference snorfling back tears.
In fall of 2004 I finished my Ph.D. and began teaching at NYU. It was strange to be back in the city, a place I’d lived on the edges of — but never IN — for most of my life. During those urban hours of the week, I felt free. I started experimenting with online dating in 2005. You’d think that having kids would be a stumbling block, especially on an “edgy” site like Nerve; it turned out that my Jersey address was much more of a dealbreaker than my momhood. The fact that I wasn’t technically divorced raised some eyebrows, but I never made it far enough with anyone for it to be a real issue to anyone other than me. And here’s where I really wish I could just link back to my Nerve blog, which I’m sure exists on a server, somewhere, languishing away, unread. Let’s just say that I had more than my share of adventures, and leave it at that.
If for anyone who’s doing the math (but why would you?), I met my current boyfriend, BEB, in January of 2008 — almost five years after the ex and I separated. And that’s most likely what set the boat in motion for divorce. I told my ex about him in April, and he met my girls in June — a huge step that, due to my shared week situation, I’d never before had to make. It went fine. It still does. At six years my junior, BEB is hardly a father figure, but they don’t need or want him to be. So what is he? Well, they’ll be seeing a lot more of him now, for obvious reasons, so I guess we’ll figure that out.
Oh yeah … I keep forgetting that the reasons maybe aren’t so obvious. The whole split-week, semi-family thing came to an end when my ex moved to northern California last week. For work, and for other things. He spent many good years in CA before we met and his family is in Washington state; he’s always wanted to go back. So he did. And here we are. The girls will spend summers and some vacations with him and the rest of their time with me. I’ve gone from being Somewhat-Single Mom to Super-Single Mom, basically overnight.
How’s it going? I don’t really know yet. I love seeing the girls every day, and must admit that having all their stuff in one place really cuts down on some stress; no more library books and boots lost in the limbo between our houses. No more evening playdate pickups at which I’m appalled to see what their dad let them out of the house in; no more hair neatly combed on top and totally matted underneath. Lots of snuggles; lots of giggles; lots of love. They talk to their dad every night, and so far they seem okay.
How am I? No way to tell, really, until school starts next week, and I add the commute to the extra shopping and the itis of missing my boyfriend. We met up with him in the city this weekend for the Planetarium and lunch at EJs; had hoped for a mini-makeout session during “Journey to the Stars,” but it wasn’t to be. (Hey, AMNH: With all the celebrity voices you could have chosen … why Whoopie? Seriously.) We got a few good gropes in, but it wasn’t the same. I miss him. ALL of him. Ahem.