This week Lesley had a great idea. If you have ever experienced Lesley’s great ideas, you understand my trepidation. Usually they straddle the imaginary world and reality and involve a big commitment. How do you think this blog started? The start of her good idea this time was an article she was sent about two best friends in New York who decided to co-mother.
The article is really cool. A single mom in New York tells about her decision to move in with her best friend, also a single mom. Rent in New York is notoriously high, and this was their idea for making life more affordable. What that mom found was that having another mom in the house was nothing short of miraculous. It was another set of hands, another person to help with schedules, and a constant support. They sounded, well, like us.
Lesley and I have co-mothered for quite some time now. It’s hard to pin down exactly when that started, but somewhere over the course of the last five years or so, Lesley and Story became part of our family and we became part of theirs. Story was the first to verbally acknowledge the family dynamic (and fulfill her wanting of a sister) by calling the girls her step-sisters. Riley now calls Story sis, and both girls call Lesley Mom 2. Story does the same to me.
These names have gotten us some confused looks. This summer, I could tell that Girls, Inc. camp was having a hard time deciphering the relationship when I picked up Riley.
“Story, too?” the counselor asked as she headed back to get her.
“Nope, just Riley.”
It was fun to watch her refrain from asking questions. Some day when I have more time, I’ll fill her in. Or maybe the girls can draw her a family tree.
Story has also received some questions about it. At the same summer camp, a girl was asking Story about the validity of Riley being her sister. She then made the mistake of asking me.
“Is Riley Story’s real sister?” the girl asked, sure she was about to win an argument.
“Yep,” I replied, trying to get out the door.
“We’re step-sisters,” Story chimed in.
“That’s not a real sister,” the girl retorted.
“That is a real sister,” I snapped back in a tone a bit too harsh for a child I didn’t know. Story was shocked. I was shocked. I’ll have to apologize to that kid when I see her next. Still, though my tone was wrong, the sentiments were right. We may not live in the same home, be in a romantic relationship, or share finances, but none of that negates the role we have in each other’s lives. Family.
So, what was Lesley’s big idea? In hopes of retirement and profiting off our odd dynamics, she proposed adding an addition to her house, having us move in, and filming a reality TV show about our lives. She’s excited, and even has the girls excited. To her, I said, “No, absolutely not.” To the girls, I said, “Only if Mom 2 can pull it together.”
See, just like a real family.