Che Diaz and Miranda Hobbes cuddling in bed
Photograph by Craig Blakenhorn/Max

Che Diaz Doesn’t Get It

It’s not their fault that they don’t get it because they can’t get it. Because they’re not a parent.

Che Diaz doesn’t get it. It’s not their fault that they don’t get it because they can’t get it. And I say this with absolute love because Che (played by Sara Ramirez) is really giving it their all in Season 2 of And Just Like That… They’ve stopped saying things like “I’ve done a ton of weed,” and their comedy concerts appear to be a thing of the past, a blessing for which we can all be thankful. But they are not a parent. And no matter how much Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is willing to try to fit herself into Che’s cool pretend life in California (complete with a new sitcom and Tony Danza, thank you very much) this is the one mountain that will always divide them.

[Spoilers ahead for the first three episodes of And Just Like That… Season 2.]

In the third episodes of Season 2, Miranda’s son, Brady (Niall Cunningham), whom she shares with long-suffering ex-husband Steve (David Eigenberg), called her from Amsterdam completely distraught after his girlfriend had broken up with him. He was sobbing on the phone, which was frankly sort of a refreshing change after the first season version of Brady was just having sex constantly and loudly in the next room. Miranda is distraught and decides to immediately return to New York to meet Brady when he gets home. Che, frustrated because Miranda’s phone call disrupted a taping of their sitcom, doesn’t get it. Because everybody gets dumped, Che points out. They’re not wrong. Everybody gets their heart broken. Brady is (technically) an adult. It would be totally reasonable to just reassure him over the phone and move on with life.

Once I became a mom, I became more mom than anything else. Forever. For better or worse.

But Miranda is his mom. He is heartbroken. And as irrational as it might be, there is literally nothing else in that moment. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) gets it when Miranda calls her, because she’s a mom. Che cannot, not fully, because they’re not a parent. And, as depressing as it is, and as harsh as it sounds, this is the truest, most insurmountable thing about dating when you have kids.

One of the nicest men I dated post-kids was not a parent. It was a little bit glorious in its own shiny way. He had time for me on the odd occasion when I had time for him. He was fascinated by me, by my life full of homework and bedtimes and casseroles. He made a point of organizing lovely adventures in the lovely city where he lived; his apartment was clean and organized and quiet, his towels folded. When we talked about my kids (because I am never not talking about my kids even when I’m wearing a push-up bra and a thong and black eyeliner) he would nod along and say, “Yeah I remember my mom used to do the same thing with me when I was little.”

He said this because the dial had not switched over for him from kid to parent like it had for me. Like it has for Miranda. Like it has for you. Before you have kids, you are primarily someone’s kid. It’s not like people without children are less mature. I might even argue that some childless friends are more mature. (I still don’t have retirement savings.) But I think their world view, like Che’s, is primarily that of someone’s child. When they think of being a kid, they think of themselves. They think of snacks their parents would make them, maybe, or mistakes their parents made with them, most definitely. Because this is their frame of reference: being the child.

Photograph by Craig Blakenhorn/Max

Once I became a mom, I became more mom than anything else. Forever. For better or worse. Whether I like it or not. If I’m out with friends and we’re talking about childhood, my kids’ are the childhoods I think of first. If one of my children is hurt, no one else matters to me on the planet. I’m cold and heartless and not to be crossed.

All this makes dating me, as I was recently told, a “suicide mission” for people without kids. Even with the push-up bra and black eyeliner. I can be fun and happy and ready for smooches, but if one of my kids needs me, I’m out. Even if it’s for something stupid and I know it’s something stupid, I can’t really help it. They are my kids. You get it. Or you don’t have kids, and you don’t.

Just ask the man with the good apartment. He called me once to tell me about a Russian puppet opera he had just seen with friends. He was drinking a bourbon, his message said, and looking out at the city lights on his balcony. And thinking of me. I was picking nits out of my kids’ hair and also mine, with the four boys lined up in a row to get hosed down and de-loused, so I didn’t get his message until late. We broke up not long after. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. I cannot go back to looking at the world without my kids in the picture and he cannot imagine a world as a parent. Not until it happens. Which is what I predict for Che and Miranda.

It’s really quite sad, to know that you might find your soulmate but you will never be able to understand each other on this sort of elemental level. So sad that I sometimes can’t breathe while thinking about it. I try to remember that there is all sorts of love out there in the world, that being in a couple is not the only thing that matters. And I believe this about 90% of the time.

The other 10%... well.