The boys have gotten very good at playing cards and board games, which I think will serve us well for the next ten years. Nothing like a good Family Friday Night with junk food and games. That's what I say.
The best part is that while they're strategizing and planning their excessive celebrations for a big win, they don't even realize I'm getting them to talk to me.
We lined up our tournament schedule: Blokus, Left-Center-Right, Skip-Bo, and Sequence (for Kids).
Somewhere in the Sequence of discarding Polly the Panda and Monte the Moose, I asked, ever so casually, "So, guys, do you ever worry about what it will feel like for you if I ever get married again?"
In this season of my life, dates come and go. Lunches happen. Relationships take flight and land again with varying degrees of emotional turbulence. And my boys never know. I don't tell them. Because telling my kids about a man in my life is a whole separate cliff to jump off, and I choose not to risk their hearts in the crossfire of the adult dating world.
"We'll feel good."
"Do you think it will bother you to have him around?"
"No way. Your turn."
I play the card with Camille the Camel.
"I wonder if you'll ever think, 'Mommy used to sit on the couch with me, and now she sits with him.' Or, 'I can't believe she's kissing someone.' Or, 'Hey, he has his arm around my mom.'"
They each look at me. I've painted a picture they hadn't considered.
"What's the word for that feeling?" one of them asks.
"It can be jealousy."
"Yes. I'll feel jealousy."
"Mommy, I have a dragon card, and I choose to move your Trevor Tiger." A powerplay if ever there is one in this game.
"Good play, kiddo." I deal more cards and toss my words into the deep valley of conversations with no eye contact. "I just want you guys to know that the part of my heart that falls in love is a totally different part than the one that belongs to you. I'll never give your piece of my heart to anybody else."
"The Girlfriend part is different from the Mom part?"
"Yes. Your part is untouchable."
"Okay. It's your turn."
And we move right along as if these conversations don't promise us everything about each other.