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Precious Chong wonders why people can’t get comfortable with her unconventional family

Okay, maybe I’m projecting and maybe I’m completely making up some paranoid story but there’s this woman at Jack’s school who I feel gives me the cold shoulder on purpose. She also happens to be a photographer who took some “family” portraits of Wes, Sarah, and Jack.  They are lovely pictures and they all look beautiful,… blah blah blah.  Now, I’ve met this woman.  Wes introduced me to her at a kid’s party, you know, like “This is Jack’s mom, Precious.”  And she smiled and nodded.   Okay, maybe she doesn’t remember meeting me.  But she certainly knows Jack.  I mean they took pictures together.  So why doesn’t she acknowledge my existence?

Ew.  Her smugness is so irritating.

Is it because she feels I am the interloper on the “perfect” family that she met when she did the portrait? Am I ruining her image of the perfectly, perfect family?  Is it because, I’m the “other” parent and she’s friends with Wes and Sarah? Okay, I know that’s totally me getting on the crazy train.  Choo choo. “All aboard the crazy train, first stop is crazy-crazy town.”

That’s another sticking point.  Wes once asked me if Jack could spend a couple of hours of a Sunday that was technically “my” day with Jack, going to a barbecue that they were invited to. They meaning Wes, Sarah, Jack and Audrey.  But the thing is, I know the people too.  I mean I’m not close to them, not like Wes is. But I know them.  And it really bugged me. What am I, chopped liver?  It infuriated me that my son was invited and I wasn’t. How rude.

It is a sore point for me, I admit.  I hate feeling left out.  I really do.  I hate feeling like I’m not included.  So, a lot of this is my stuff.  But come on people!  Don’t be jerks.  Be inclusive. Include the “other” parent, especially if it’s an amicable situation.

Maybe it makes couples uncomfortable to interact with a “broken” family?  Even the term “broken” family is absurd.   Okay, how about, “extended” family, “unconventional” family? But maybe it somehow threatens the status quo of the “intact” family.  Jack plays with several of the kids who live on our street, but the only one whom I’ve managed to become friends with is a single parent like myself.  Is that a coincidence?  I mean, she wasn’t single when we first met. Maybe it was my evil influence. Maybe I turned her “single” like people get turned “gay”. Or maybe we’re friends because she’s a bit unconventional, likes vintage stuff, and says things like “I always say what I mean and mean what I say.”   How can you not love a woman who buys a Ducati motorcycle with her divorce settlement?

The point is, this is probably 95 percent me being oversensitive and paranoid.  There is the  5 percent though. What is it about the school playground that brings me right back to old childhood insecurities?

On another note, Jack has lice.

Yipee!

Previously on Being Precious… the many joys of tending to a co-parenting schedule

Precious Chong is a writer and actor living in Toronto. She’s also a professional stilt walker and is the daughter of cult movie hero Tommy Chong.

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