A little perspective. And pudding.

Mr. Wonderful was visiting with an old friend this week. His friend is in the same boat as Mr. Wonderful – divorced dad dating. Choppy waters, indeed.

The friend shared that his 4-year-old is jealous of his girlfriend. The child will ask, “Who do you love more? Me or Girlfriend?” And when they’re all watching a movie together, the child will sit between the lovebirds and say, “I’M SITTING BY DADDY!”

Oh, lolly.

Mr. Wonderful wasn’t even finished retelling this tale of woe before my hands were raised in the air and I was falling out. I am so frickin’ lucky. Thank you, sweet eight-pound, five-ounce baby Jesus.

Mr. Wonderful’s daughter, whom I call Ladybug – not sure why, it just seems to fit – appears to really, really like me. When I arrived at their house yesterday, she had about 17 things she wanted to show me and stuff we needed to play with immediately. After about 10 minutes, I finally convinced her that we should go find daddy just to say hello.

And at dinner? She laughed hysterically when I told her that eating pudding was serious business and that there would be NO FUN EVER at our dinner table.

Later, she hugged me. Voluntarily. Completely unprompted.

And then later, we pretended that the living room carpet was actually a sea of pudding that all the stuffed animals kept falling into.

I think I’m finally loosening up.

One of my friends, who has had a stepmom or two, gave me what I now realize is priceless advice. She told me to just own it.

So, I’m trying to not fabricate an ex-wife/mom who judges my every move. I’m working on owning it. I’m a good person. I’m good with kids. And I’m not afraid to pretend like I fell off a couch into a sea of pudding and need to be rescued by a stuffed bunny and a 4-year-old girl.

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