*insert Maury voice* “I Am NOT the Mother!”
Mike, our girls Taylor and Peyton, and Baby Mika (about 4 days old at the time)
So my big ol’ co-parenting family experienced an interesting little twist last week. My girls’ school was able to snag a special early evening screening of the new Harry Potter movie. This meant that 150 lucky people in our school community saw the movie almost 6 hours before the rest of the country (our tuition dollars at work!). I am not a Potter fan, but my ex, Mike, our girls, and Mike’s wife Sherry are. Maybe not as diehard as the folks at the tailgate who arrived dressed like the characters, but still fans. So, it was with glee that I offered to watch the girls’ new baby sister Mika at a Starbuck’s adjacent to the theater inside the mall. Not only would Sherry only be a text away if Mika got fussy, but I would be only a text away if my youngest, Peyton, got spooked out as Mike predicted she would. She hadn’t seen any of the movies, deeming them “too scary”, and this was supposed to be the scariest yet. But she still wanted to see it.
At the tailgate, we stood around Mika’s stroller talking. Well, others did all the talking about characters and plot turns that I knew nothing about. I stood there waiting to get my baby fix. At some point, I wandered over to talk to a group of moms I know. One of them had brought a friend who, in the course of conversation, said to me, “How old is your baby?” I pointed at Sherry and said loud enough for her to hear, “She’s almost 6 weeks old, but THAT’S her mother over there.”
In Starbuck’s, with Mika pasted on my chest for the duration of the movie, several women approached to coo over Mika, ask how old she was, and, a few times, if she was my first. I thought about the times Sherry has been mistaken for my girls’ mother, and how she (or our oldest daughter) will generally correct the person. I never felt that it was a big deal that strangers knew that she wasn’t their mother; the girls, Sherry, and I are clear on that fact. But I’ve always appreciated the gesture on Sherry’s part, to acknowledge me, even to strangers. And when the tables were turned, I understood that impulse to give the mama her due.
Oh, and for the record, my baby, Peyton, made it through the entire movie without needing her mama. And so did Mika.
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