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Every saturday C and go to the local downtown (ahem) diner for breakfast before kindermusic. Usually there are a bunch of other kids there too, often with just one adult -- typically father or grandparent shepherding them along. I've always looked on with a sort of sentimental fondness, thinking how nice it is for the mother (no patriarchal assumptions there) to be getting a break.

This morning, of course, the same thing, only with a few overheard fragments of conversation that put a different light on it. A couple of little girls with their father, one all boisterousness and missing front teeth, the other a little older and very self-contained, striving for her father's attention in a way that set me a little on edge.

Then, as they were leaving, "We'll have to stop by your mother's to pick up some stuff" and all became clear. Or at least clearer.

Almost all the parents I talk to have kids more or less C's age, and so it's easy to think that everyone is either in a stable couple or else stably single. That will no doubt change, but for now I'm a little chagrined to see how quickly I assume every family is more or less like ours.