I can’t tell you the exact day the Earth stood still for me. I was too busy being crushed by emotion to write it down. It was such a hard time.
Son #1 was 6 when Husband #1 moved out of the house. As much as we tried to keep up a normal life and schedule, he knew something was up. I was a complete mess, struggling to hold it together without any sort of support system in place. I was in a new house, surrounded by moving boxes, located over 500 miles from my closest relative. Just as my world had been shaken, Son #1’s little world was turned upside-down as well.
It started suddenly, Son #1’s anxiety showed in a strange way. He would wake up in the middle of the night and come into my room to sleep on the floor next to my bed. I’d wake up and see him lying there with no pillow, no blanket, cold and forlorn. I’d pick him up and tuck him into bed as I took my morning shower…only to find him asleep on the bathroom floor as I opened the shower door. My poor little guy was afraid I would disappear as well.
My world was ending and my son was experiencing the same thing. Making our home life stable was the driving force that got me out of bed those terrible weeks. Every time I felt like I couldn’t get up, couldn’t go on, I thought about Son #1 and his fear that I would abandon him like his father had.
I wasn’t going to let him carry that fear.
As hard as it was, I allowed him to stick close to me. We played together with the other kids, read books, and had family sleep outs in the master bedroom. Like me, he is a cuddler, and I made sure he had plenty of hugs and snuggles to make him feel safe. Eventually I proved to him that I wouldn’t leave him, but that time in his childhood still breaks my heart.
Now as Divorce #2 approaches, Son #1 is an adult and able to articulate his feelings and fears better than he could over a decade ago. He’s been upfront with me about his feelings towards Husband #2, but Son #1 hasn’t lost his concern completely. Early in our separation, Son #1 still checked in on me at night when he returned home from being out and about…asking about my day, if I had eaten, how I was feeling, giving me hugs and kisses.
No matter what happened during Divorce #1 and what will happen during Divorce #2, I am eternally grateful for the closeness that developed between the two of us. He makes me proud to be his mother.