Blue Circles, Red Circles

“Mama, why aren’t you looking for a boyfriend?” Noah asked me this loaded question the other day over breakfast.

“Do you want me to look for a boyfriend?” I’d held my breath hoping he’d say no.

“No, but since papa has a girlfriend…”

“And we should be happy for papa. But that doesn’t mean I have to have a boyfriend. But if I find one somewhere I’ll tell you, okay?”

He nodded, satisfied, and said, “Okay. If you find one I want to know everything about him. And I hope he’s really nice to you and never yells at you and he has a car.”

I laughed, and cried inside, at how very grown up Noah sounded.

That was a few days ago…

Noah lives with me for three days, and then goes to his father’s for three days, and then he’s back with me for three days, and so the schedule goes. Because, you see, we don’t have the usual custody schedule. We don’t split things week-to-week, because Noah was very clear from the beginning that a week without either parent would be too long for him to endure.

In the end we all settled on a rotation of three days at a time, and so it has been for the better part of a year. Maybe it will change at some point, and maybe it won’t. But Noah and I have calendars up on the wall for him to follow, because he’s always gotta be in the know about everything. I have no idea where he gets that from.

Blue circles mean mama and red circles mean papa. Everything is fair and square in circles for Noah.

But we all know not everything in life is fair, right? I had a particularly rough morning this morning, and I was reminded at every turn that I am still a foreigner here despite my Belgian citizenship. But this afternoon my spirits were lifted when I picked Noah up from school. Three days had passed and it was now my time with him again.

On the walk home we chatted about everything under the sun like usual, laughing and poking fun at each other until Noah got serious. “I have to tell you something, mama. Papa’s girlfriend called me sweetheart this weekend, and then she kissed me on the top of my head.” He looked up at me pensively but I could tell he was relieved to have gotten it off his chest.

I popped a squat and got eye-level with him. “Well, that means she really likes you. So it’s normal that she wants to show that to you. Didn’t you like it?”

He looked me right in the eye. “I did, mama.”

“Well then that’s good! And I know you like her too. So you should show her if you want to. It’s very important that you and she get along. That makes me very happy.”

Noah smiled and threw himself into my arms so hard that I almost fell flat on my ass. We hugged it out…right in the middle of the parking lot. And I let out a huge sigh of relief that I could say those words to him, and mean them.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the years, and particularly over the last year. Everything else seems to matter less than the bond I have with Noah. And I know better now how to have a shitty morning but not let it ruin my day so I can get to the part of the night where I tuck Noah into bed and come here…

Always dishing,

Jun

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36 Comments

  1. Dawn

    You rock! I admire your emotional availability and comfort for your, clearly bad ass, boy!
    I’m the girlfriend in a similar situation, except with parents that don’t speak. Breaks my heart for this (not so little) 13 year old….still! I find myself pulling back emotionally to ensure he gets more from his mom for the next few years. Sooo confusing to know how far to go with support. I don’t want to create a strong bond and then his dad and I break up. I’ve never had to break up with 2 people before!! You’re reminding me I should get over myself but so scared if I have to leave, it will affect him like his mom leaving all over again.

    Reply
  2. Vallery W Dietrich

    Thank you for sharing Jun. I am always in awe of your lookout on life. Noah is lucky to have a mom who is open and honest with him. You can really see his trust in you by the questions he asks. Keep on dishing Jun. Much love to you and Noah. 🙂

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  3. I admire how you handle these situations! It’s so hard when new people come into his life this way. It’s a true blessing when they like him and hopefully she’ll stay around and Davy won’t have girls in and out of his life.

    My kids mom still is a less than sufficient mother (this works to my advantage and is heartbreaking at the same time) She doesn’t call them. Gets mad when they visit their half brother and sister because she’s too busy/lazy to visit any of them. When they think about visiting her she’s busy.

    You are an incredible mom and Noah is an incredible boy!
    Love you both!

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  4. Becky

    My ex and I did a similar agreement until our daughter was 15 and then she moved in with me full time. She didn’t want to go a week at a time either at a young age. You and Noah definitely seem to have the strong bond that I have with my daughter and I am so happy for you! Sorry your day started off badly 🙁

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  5. Christine Kecser

    Noah couldn’t ask for a better mom. You are handling yourself with maturity and grace. I’m so proud of you.

    As time progresses and you voluntarily start to want to date, you will appreciate those 3 day stretches to be able to discreetly explore.

    I love that Noah has both of his parents actively vying for time with him . He is loved and is happy and that is all that matters.

    Xo sending you lots of love .

    Reply
  6. Deano Brown

    It’s so great to see a couple of parents doing what is best for their child, which is sadly becoming rare these days!!
    I love how mature Noah is, and the fact he felt like he needed to get that off his chest shows just how much he loves & admires you!! I hope all of the amazing days you have with Noah make up for those days where you don’t feel too great <3

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Noah deserves to have as many people in his life who care of him as possible. He’s pretty amazing. Thank you for the smile this morning Deano…

      Reply
  7. kcsmum

    I’m crying very hard. Close to sobbing. At times like this it is sometimes hard to tell the happy tears from the sad tears. And this distance is shattering. ❤️

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  8. Carly B

    I wish all parents could read this. Thank you for knowing how important it being alright with you for Noah to enjoy his time around this woman is to him. Reading your blog has really shown what a bright kid you have and it’s so obvious in what high regard he holds your opinion. I can’t imagine how hard some days are, but the experience you’re giving your son is invaluable.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I was so relieved to hear they got along. I don’t even know what I’d do with myself if that wasn’t the case. So. Yes. Noah’s happiness and peace of mind comes before any other emotions… Some days truly suck because hey, nobody goes into marriage thinking divorce is around the corner. But I keep it moving! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Reply
  9. Deb

    My dear friend, it would be a gift to so many if you could publish this posting as a piece about parenting. You are a divine spirit. Rock on. Love you, love Noah.

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    1. Jun Song Author

      I don’t know how I’d feel if I’d been left for another woman, but I don’t think I’d feel very good. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been through that. Maybe because I’m the one who left I’m more at peace with everything in general. I wish you peace and happiness SG.

      Reply
  10. Jennifer Hull

    Jun you will never be sorry you support a good relationship with your ex and his GF or wife. I have been divorced for many years and have always tried to have a good relationship with their Dad and whoever he was with that year. If makes the children feel so much better and it also made me feel good that i was adult enough to handle the situation. Now my children are both older and still come to us both and want to talk to us together as a family. You are doing a great job. Keep it up. Its not always easy but being an adult is a job just like being a parent. Have loved you for years.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I couldn’t ask for much more than for Noah to be loved and cherished by those he spends his time with. I can’t plan for everything but I can put him first when I’m faced with a challenge. I’ll never regret that. Thank you for sharing some of yoy life with me here Jennifer.

      Reply
  11. Shannon

    This isn’t an easy place to get to or arrive at – so proud of you! It is so important to keep talking to your kids. They understand & know way more than we think. My boys are 11 & 17, it’s been a journey after my divorce, life as a single mom. I always wished their dad would be with someone who could be like a mom – figure. Sadly that didn’t happen- she’s been so horrible. However in all of it if I wasn’t so close to my boys – it would be even harder for them. We talk about everything. I of course an Mom/discipline first but we are really friends as well. It’s especially nice that my oldest is turning 18 soon & it’s more of a mom/best friend in one & I’m guiding him but not as much of course. I hope we are always close & I hope the same for you / Noah. You are doing awesome mama! ♥️

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thank you for sharing Shannon. All we can control are our own behaviors and actions. It took a while for me to realize that too. So I do my best with what I’ve got. I wish you a happy new year 💗

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  12. I have a similar arrangement w/ my ex for our 2 kids. We split the week & alternate weekends. It’s hard to say goodbye to them (even just for a few days) but I know it’s best to have both of us as much as possible. Wishing you the best for Noah & honestly, giving you credit for handling the girlfriend with grace.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thank you. If you have a chance can you explain in a little more detail what your scheduling looks like? I’m always interested in what works for other families…

      Reply
      1. Anna

        They are with me Monday & Tues. Their father has them Wednesday & Thursday and then Friday, Sat & Sun we do every other–so some weeks I have them FSSMT and then he’ll have them WTFSS. I did calendars with stickers when they were Noah’s age (they’re 12 & 10 now) similar to your colored circles.

        Reply

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