I never envisioned a life with kids, but then I went and fell in love with a divorced father of two. Never is a bitchy word. I'm excising it from my vocabulary because it makes me look like a jackass.
On our first date, Murray (not his name) asked me what I thought about children. I wanted him but confessing that I didn't want kids wasn't going to get me laid, so I pretended that he asked me what I thought about threesomes. "Love them."
In those early months, the fact that he was a father didn't play any real part in our relationship. That changed eight months later when he asked me to meet his children. This was a big deal because he hadn't introduced any other girlfriends to them. I felt special. I also felt ambivalent about meeting them. I wondered what it meant. Was marriage around the corner? Was I going to add Stepmom to my already impressive resume?
I walked to the meeting feeling both fear and adrenaline. The kids were adorable and friendly. They weren't uncomfortable, nervous, or awkward like me. I had diarrhea of the mouth. What grade are you in? Do you have hobbies? Do you play sports? Can you read? Do you think I'm pretty? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Murray staring at me, as if I had made a terrible mistake.
Once Murray and I moved in together, the shit hit my reality fan. He actually had kids, and they weren't from central casting. They would be in his life (and mine if I stuck around) for a really long time. I couldn't believe how much the kids talked and ate. Really? They need that much attention? Saying that I was unprepared for having kids around is like saying that Hitler was a meanie. I fell backwards into a family already in progress.
My overarching concern was that Murray and I were going to lose our naked girlfriend/sexy boyfriend relationship. I didn't want anything, or anyone, to come between us, not even his kids. And I worried: How I was going to love someone else's children?
Murray and I never sat down and talked about what we expected from our new family. We threw stuff against the wall, and hoped that some of it would stick. Mature. Murray assumed that my vagina would show me the way, and that it would all come naturally.
It didn't come naturally. After one incident, early in our new living arrangement, I said good-bye to Josiah (not his name), without a hug or a kiss. Instead, I told him that I would see him in a couple of weeks. Murray said that I wasn't maternal.
"Thanks for the support but what the eff' is maternal? You mean like when you throw up, and I bring you Ginger Ale, and a cool washcloth? What about Little Ricky? I had to stick my finger up his ass once when he was in a fight. Have you ever had to stick your finger up one of your children's asses?" Murray crinkles his brow, "Little Ricky was your dog!"
This past weekend, Josiah asked me to drive him to a friend's party. When I pulled up to his friend Mike's house, Mrs. Mike (I don't know her name) greeted me with a smile beside my car. I'd never met her before, and I didn't know if I should get out and shake her hand. This was my first drop off, and already I've made this simple act awkward (again).
Josiah jumps out, waves hello to Mrs. Mike, and runs into the house to find his friend. The passenger side of my car is curbside, so when I roll down the window, I have to lean over my stick shift to extend my hand out. "Hi, I'm Dani."
"Hi, I'm..." This is where she says her name, that I promptly forget. Mr. Mike strolls down the driveway, looking in my direction, "Wow, great car." I have a Mini and it is pretty great. I was still unsure what to do, but when both Mikes stick their heads in my window, I decide to get out.
Mr. Mike can't take his eyes off of my ginormous... wait for it... speedometer. "Really cool." I thank him and offer, "Nice seeing you again." I don't know if he remembers meeting me at the boys' soccer games, so I reintroduce myself, "I'm Dani." He looks confused which confuses me.
He stutters, "Oh, oh, I, I, thought you were..." and he trails off. Mrs. Mike looks at him, "You thought she was the ex-wife." Mr. Mike looks embarrassed. He should be goddammit, I look nothing like the ex-wife.
If you would've told me six years ago, when Murray and I first started shtupping against my apartment wall, that someday I would be mistaken for his ex-wife while chauffeuring his son to a party, I would've said that there was a better chance of finding out that I was adopted and that my biological parents were The Captain and Tenille.
Mrs. Mike says, "She's the other mom." Whoa, not so fast. I couldn't let her tell me who I was. The question of my identity rang loudly in my satellite dish ears.
"No, stupid couple. I'm THE GIRLFRIEND MOM!" I rip open my shirt to reveal a tight, slutty and highly inappropriate for a Saturday afternoon bustier. I stand with hands akimbo so that they can take me in. I whip around towards my car, and as my cape unfurls, it allows the Mikes to get a look-see at the big, red, embroidered letters, G.M., on my back. They won't soon forget who I am. Nor will I.
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