When my eyelids open in the morning, I first notice the light. It’s not harsh, and instead of wanting to hide from it, I roll toward it and immediately notice the green. Leaves from the London Plane diffuse the brightness. I imagine I’m inside of a tree house instead of my bedroom. When C climbed into my bed one morning last week, we wondered how many leaves we could see. We also wondered why the barking, howling dog next door was barking and howling…
So much has happened in the last five years. I went to graduate school. I got divorced. I found dance. I endured 40 mediocre dates and one spectacular one that ended my Match.com merry-go-round. From there, life has settled down—my boyfriend and I got engaged in December, we moved in together in February, got married in May, bought a house in June and moved into a place with a big tree that could accommodate two adults and four kids (the house, not the tree).
As my world achieves the stability I’ve been reaching for, I am reminded that there will always be hiccups and challenges. The universe and its inhabitants are unpredictable. We just found out that my step-kids’ mom is moving 90 miles away. Instead of spending half of their time with their mom and half of the time with us, the kids will see her a few weekends a month and during some school breaks. In essence, they will live us.
The first emotion I feel is disbelief. I cannot imagine moving away from my boys. When my ex and his girlfriend moved in together, R was concerned that I would move away, as if I was perhaps obsolete now that one of his two houses had a nuclear family. I gently explained that it doesn’t work that way. The next emotion is sadness. The kids and their mom are losing their day-to-day time with each other—the daily routines around school and homework, rituals synonymous with childhood, rituals I’m gearing up for as we approach the first day of school.
Sure kids are resilient, but the only two people to really know the ramifications of this change are the kids themselves. And probably not until they’re adults. In the meantime, perhaps they’ll join C as we count leaves, right before their dad and I hustle them off to get ready for school.