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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Play Date

Today I have a play date with someone I haven't spent time with in a long time. Three months, to be specific. Myself.

It's the first day of school, and though I love my children, I don't love the chaos of summer vacation. It isn't that I don't enjoy having them around, but I don't love the lack of structure, and how I can't really establish new structure for our time, when it will all change in a matter of months anyway.

Tom Hanks' character, in "You've Got Mail," referred to his school age brother and aunt as "the American family." Ok, it's anything but typical, even in postmodern America; but it makes the sadly ironic point that the American family has indeed evolved into something other than the traditional nuclear family. Without getting into the Sesame Street "Anyone who loves each other is family" agenda, the reality is that we do live in a culture where many have divorced and remarried, even sometimes people of faith. Like myself and my husband. I'm not going to defend divorce as an institution, because my husband and I have both seen first hand the pain it causes children as well as their parents. But we live with the reality of exes, never the less.

And that's what we dealt with all blessed summer. Daughter 1 had two visits to her mom this summer. Son 5 visited us from his mom's twice. Son 2 and Daughters 3 and 4 visited their dad. And guess who had to arrange transportation for each visit, and schedule these visits in three different states around the obligatory my-mom-vacation and his-mom-vacation? You guessed it.

So, yes, it's been a busy schedule, and unfortunately far too busy to establish much of a working routine. Especially for a mom who's constantly exhausted from middle of the night nursing.

I wish I could have more time with the kids, even as I speak. But not time driving to or from other parents, and not time in front of computers and video games -- time in the same room but not in the same world.

In the absence of real time together, I'll settle for time alone. I've got a Free Cell date with myself, and I intend to keep it.