My kids wrestle with all sorts of different feelings about my being divorced. Some of them they talk about with me. Most of them they don’t. But the one thing that my daughter has been more-or-less consistent about from the very beginning is that she would like more siblings (okay, just a baby sister — she has no interest in another sibling if it’s going to be a boy) and — since I’ve been pretty up front about the biology of reproduction — she’s decided that this means it’s high time that I find a new husband.
Usually these conversations are short, and I say something about how I’m not sure that I’m ready for that yet. I remind her that I am already gone from the house a lot because I have such a long drive to work. I talk about trying to spend time taking care of myself, or sometimes mention that I’m still working with my doctors to feel better about the things that feel really hard. And so on.
But she’s persistent, and lately her insistence that she needs a “new dad” has become a fairly regular topic of conversation. [FN1: Any time it comes up, I make a point to say that even if I find a new husband, her dad will always be her dad. The last time this came up, she, delightfully, said to me: “I know that, Mom. But if he’s living in this house and I see him every day, why would I want to call him Step-Dad? Can’t I just call him Dad?” I told her that of course, she could call this (non-existent hypothetical) stepfather anything that she liked.]
So last night we had one of these conversations. It started when my daughter checked in to make sure that the babysitter she’d requested for Friday night was still planning to come. I confirmed that yes, I’d chatted with her earlier in the day, and we were on for Friday night. And, as best as I can remember, the conversation went pretty much exactly like this:
Tired Mama (TM): So you’re going to get to spend Friday night with the babysitter, but I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do yet. What do you think I should do?
Daughter (D): Well, you should go meet your new husband.
TM: What?! How am I going to do that?
D: Go to the bar.
TM: Go to the bar?! Once I’m at the bar, what am I supposed to do?
D: Well, just find someone. Walk up and ask him if he’s divorced. And then ask if he wants to get married.
TM: Really? Is that it? Is that all I need to ask him?
D: I guess you should also make sure that he loves you. And that he likes this house and your room, because that would be the room he has to sleep in.
TM: Yeah, it would definitely be important that he and I love each other before we decided to get married. Do you think there’s anything else I would need to make sure of?
D: Well, he would need to love us. And the dog. And he would need to want to have more kids.
TM: Yes – for SURE he would need to love you and your brother. What else?
D: I don’t know. But I guess you wouldn’t have to ask if he was divorced. Maybe it could be someone who has never been married before. Then you would be like 100 years older than him, but that would be okay.
TM: This is a very interesting idea. I’ve never been to the bar before. I’m not sure I would like it. . .
D: Well then why don’t you just go back to school? That’s where you met dad, right? There are other boys you could meet at school.
TM: More school?!? But I’m so happy to be done with school. I bet there are other places that I could meet a possible new husband.
D: [Shrugs] I think you should go to the bar.
Sooo…I do have a babysitter lined up for tomorrow night. And I don’t yet have plans. I highly doubt it will involve the bar . . . but who knows?