That being said, I still find myself in confusing and uncomfortable situations whenever certain aspects of my life are brought to light. For example, this afternoon I had a woman and her baby over to my house as sort of an interview. I'm taking on babysitting jobs as a way to earn a few extra bucks (boy do I feel like I'm 14 again when I say that!) and so this woman came over to see if I would be a good fit for her needs. As with most friendly conversations that take place in front of my girls, the subject of my own children came up many times. This led into the discussion of how different they look--"one clearly looks like you, does the other look like your husband?" Naturally, or perhaps actually unnaturally, this then led into a comment I felt compelled to make in order to explain myself. "No, actually my husband is their adoptive father. Their birth father, who I was married to, passed away. He had the tan skin and lighter hair that you're seeing in my other daughter."
This conversation came up this afternoon, but it's no where near the first time this has occurred, and I'm positive it won't be the last. Now, let me just clarify what about this is particularly uncomfortable for me. I somehow feel the need to express the detail that the birth father of my children has died. A big part of me doesn't see why it's a necessary piece of information, because it's such a deep response to a shallow question about where my daughter's looks come from, and quite frankly, I can tell that it makes people uncomfortable when they are all of a sudden hit with that piece of information. Couldn't I just leave that out all together and say something along the lines of, "their father had (past tense?!) the tan skin and lighter hair that you're seeing"? Somehow, I just don't see that working either, thus the controversial reference to being widowed.
T.M.I., though? I hardly think so.
Everyone who knows me knows that in order to keep going with my life I haven't had to forget Sean. Quite the opposite, in fact, I've had to remember him. Every day. Remembering who he was and what he did for and with me truly helps get me through some days. I have been blessed enough to have found another man who I can love the way I loved Sean, and Matt would never think of my remembrance of Sean as being unsettling or controversial. Together Sean and I did the best thing that either of us will ever do in our lives, and their names are Sophie and Olivia. And the fact that Sean isn't here anymore is definitely one of the most relevant facts about my life. I think that this contributes to my apparently innate need to bring up his death every time a discussion about my children breaks the surface even a little bit. This is all on one hand.
On the other hand is my present life. I'm married to a wonderful man who loves these girls as his own. And they are his. Sophie wakes up in the morning saying, "daddy, daddy", while wanting to see Matt. Olivia scurries to the front door every night as he comes home from work when she hears the deadbolt unlocking. They cry when he leaves the room, they insist on giving him kisses before they are put in their cribs at night, and he wakes up to attend to Olivia, who is currently going through a phase where she wakes up multiple times throughout the night, even when he has to work in the morning. He is clearly their father, their dad, their daddy. He gets told that Sophie looks like him often enough when we are out in public together, and that doesn't bother either of us in the slightest (why should it, she is, after all, adorable).
I'm not exactly sure why I feel uncomfortable in these situations where I have to explain about Sean and Matt. I think that mostly it stems from not wanting to make other people feel uncomfortable. While I've come to terms with my life, it might take other people more than a few seconds to get there with me. And for those of you who follow me on Facebook, ever since that horrible lady accosted me while on my floral consultation regarding whether or not I was marrying the father of my children, I've become more sensitive to people's judgments. I'm not naive. I know what goes through people's heads when they see a single mother with children who is about to get married. I wish I could tell them to trust me, whatever "mistakes" I've made in my life, these children and my involvement with their father hasn't been one of them. Perhaps these situations are uncomfortable to me when I expect the judgement. I don't see it every time, but I see it often enough to expect it as the default once the telling of my back-story commences.
Overall, I'm genuinely not sorry to have to explain my situation with the girls and Sean and Matt. I've ended up with an amazing family (extended members included). I suppose I just wish I knew a more comfortable way of addressing my situation without expecting it to be awkward for the other person. And without it actually being awkward for them. Maybe one of these days I'll figure it out, but until then I'll stick to my strange answers when people ask me about my daughters as they try to understand who their daddy is.