Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What's Normal?

A couple of weeks ago, my son Joe turned 8. About two weeks prior to that his dad and I moved into separate homes.

He's complained to me that we aren't "normal" anymore. Not like a family. It breaks my heart.

At his birthday party we had 8 children. A great mix of kids some who he's known a long time, others from school. They had a wonderful time playing with legos and flopping about in a jumpy house rented for the event.

Towards the end of the day, as the parents were picking up their children, something dawned on me. Of the 8 at the party, only one (ONE!) came from a "normal" nuclear family. Let me run down the list (names changed - obviously):

Janet: one mom (sperm donor)
Sonia: two dads (adopted)
Sean: parents divorced before kindergarten
Rick: parents divorced before kindergarten
Jason: parents divorced in first grade
Bill: parents divorced before kindergarten
Brian: parents married and living in one house
Tom: parents divorced before kindergarten

I told Joe my observation - how his friends come from all different types of families. If being with a mom and a dad was "normal" then our statistics told us otherwise. He agreed. (Fabulous math lesson, btw!)

I don't think it makes him wish any less that his dad and I get back together. But I do think the realization that there are MANY kids who have "two houses" and live sometimes with mommy and sometimes with daddy was helpful. If nothing else, he was able to see that he is not alone.

Keep in mind we live in Berkeley, CA where anything goes and views are liberal. It's one of the reasons I love it here.


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