It’s finally happened today. The moment that I’ve thought about and rehearsed in my head happened today.
Because of the snow storm, the schools were closed and we had a snow day today. I worked from home and my daughter was with me. The fantastic thing about our building is that there are many kids in our building who all go to the same school so my daughter has more of a social life than I do. Me, a friend and my next door neighbor ‘hosted’ a play date – meaning we had a joint open door policy allowing the kids to run between three apartments.
My apartment is the smallest since I’m a single mom and I only have one kid. Kids being kids – I always get very honest comments from kids like “Wow your apartment is even smaller than mine!” Or “This place is really small.”
And I always acknowledge and say “Yes it is small because we don’t have a lot of people living here.”
Today it finally happened.
A first grader asked “Does G have a dad?”
Our next door neighbor who is kindergartner chimed in “I’ve never seen G’s dad. It’s always just two people.”
The first grader gasped “Are you divorced?”
Now I’m proud of my single mom status. To be a single mom and to be able to give my child a comparable lifestyle (and more) to dual parent families, in my opinion, is really brave and is an achievement. But I’ve always been nervous about explaining our single family status to my daughter’s peers – like how do I talk Divorce to kids? I know divorced families are common these days but it’s not like people really talk about it and in the face of ‘happy’ and ‘complete’ families in school, I really don’t want the other kids to treat my daughter like a freak.
So I answered “Yes I am divorced. G’s dad doesn’t live with us. He lives in another state but G sees him every week.”
The great thing about today is that there are so many different types of family structures. There are divorced families, single parent families, blended families, gay families… Just the other day, one of the dads in my daughter’s class presented to the class about their family and read them a book about having two dads. I’m a firm believer in exposure and that acceptance and respect of others’ different beliefs, lifestyles and cultures begins at a young age.
So if you find yourself stuck in a bad situation because you are afraid or embarrassed about how others may perceive you or your loved ones – don’t. There is nothing wrong with being different. At the end of the day, it’s better to tell the story of a warrior than that of someone who was afraid to give a new life a chance.