Some days I don’t feel all that necessary around here. Today was not one of those days. Today was, rather, one of those days in which I felt with great, leaden spears the importance of what I’m doing. I felt more than I have in a long time—perhaps ever—just how unbearably significant and deliberate parenting needs to be.
But I can’t tell you about any of that, because I’d be violating my children’s privacy and putting their childhoods up with their asses hanging out for all to see. So, instead, I’ll tell you about the conversation at dinner last night. Earlier in the day, I had explained about life insurance to the kids, and that despite the fact that I make a tiny, little, insignificant, and possibly microscopic portion of our income, we still have life insurance on me because I, you know, take care of the children and if I got hit by a car, my husband would need to hire someone to help with that.
So, at dinner, while climbing out of his chair for the forty-seventh time, Benjamin had a follow-up question. “Mommy, if you got divorced to Daddy, would he have to hire a babysitter all day?”
“Well, first of all, divorce is the opposite of marriage. So, while marriage calls for the preposition ‘to,’ divorce calls for the preposition ‘from.’ ‘Married to’ but ‘divorced from.’”
“You’re just like Zachary,” interjected my husband. “Worrying about the way someone says something instead of just answering the question.”
Before I could point out that I was doing this decades before I brought Zachary into this world and so Zachary is in fact just like me, Zach himself spoke up. “No, divorce is NOT the opposite of marriage.”
“It’s not, is it?” I replied, eager to see where this was going.
“No. Divorce is another phase of marriage. It’s part of the same process, at least for some marriages. ‘Not married’ is the opposite of marriage.”
After I genuflected a few times, I turned to Benjamin: “In answer to your question…”