I believe that Seth and I have similar feelings on our children and the relationships and interactions that we have with our +1’s, but for the purpose of not stepping on any toes, I will speak for myself here.
The idea that my children don’t have two partners together has been a hard one for me. Despite how it may look like from the outside, I am very conservative in my family values. Now, I don’t believe children are doomed if they do not have the picture-perfect family life, I just had a picture in my head of my children having their parents together. So, now that things must be reevaluated, I had to take a very long look at what example I want to set for them. The conclusion I came to is simple, unless something is a “for sure” i.e. an engagement and wedding planning, my children do not need to know anything. Many people thought I was crazy (the usual) but so far (knock on wood) its been going well.
My +1 and I have been together for over 18 months (with a breather in there somewhere). I remember growing up having many adults around that were not a part of my family, and some of them even were referred to as “aunt” and “uncle”. To me it was never odd or different; they were just extra big people in my life that cared about me. My children, especially in the ultra running world, have the same. Just tons of adult friends who care about the kids and enjoy their company, its pretty awesome to see. So, to my kids, my +1 is just another one of those big people. Granted he is around a lot more than the others, and Mommy does go with him to help when he is racing (which they always giggle about him needing Mommy to “take care of him”), but they don’t have any nefarious thoughts on the subject. Quite honestly, I attribute that to the fact that my kids are fairly innocent. They are not overly sexualized, talking about kissing, boyfriend/girlfriends, and other inappropriate stuff, they are just kids. So to my advantage, this has definitely worked. Also the fact that +1 and I do not touch or kiss in front of them is probably a huge help! I do hug my male friends, but I don’t want one day down the road for my kids to have an AH-HA moment and put the puzzle together if they shouldn’t be. So alas, here we are, +1 is an awesome big person friend.
After our Mount Massive summit, shit hit the fan. I’ll save that ridiculous story for our blog about the trip, but just picture the big three and I huddled together for warmth as painful hail pummels us. We chat away trying to distract ourselves from the uncomfortableness and they bring up an adult lady friend of theirs and her boyfriend. I correct them and say her “fiancé” and explain that means they will be getting married soon. After the usual 200 questions about said impending marriage, to which I had no answers, the discussion turned to me and the fact that one day I will be getting married. We have talked before about how I could never love anyone that did not love them and we once again talked about how that would always be the case. At some point Tajh (Tajh of all kids!) giggled a little, looks up at me and says
“You should marry +1”
I am at this moment completely caught off guard and can only muster “oh really?”
“Yeah Mom, it would be cool. Tru would be confused if it was someone else and he would just stare at him, but he likes +1! Plus then he would really be a part of our family, I mean, he already is kinda, but he really would be!”
Then they all started talking about how much he likes them and how cool it would be. After a couple minutes the subject changed and we all moved on. Honestly though, how sweet is that? The pureness there is what makes children so special. “He loves us, we love him, you should marry him!” Oh my little people!
I truly value marriage and I hope that my children grow up, find who they are suppose to spend the rest of their lives with and are able to. But if that’s not in the cards for them, if they choose a different path, I will support them as well. My dream might not be theirs, and that really is okay. For now I’m going to stick with my rules and see where things head for me. Now that we know what my little people want…