Somewhere between attempting to Konmari my home and my belongings, I hit a wall. Not a literal wall, just the kind of wall that delays the process enough to require a good sit down, and a few boxes of Kleenex. I started the process in the hope that this house will sell quickly or that the newly found peaceful environment will bring welcome changes that I have so long wanted.
Currently on the paper phase or whatever it is called, I found myself lingering over the random letters and cards received over the years… I love you more than life itself…. Sure you do…. I will never leave… LOL… Ummm maybe he should have read the words he sent. You mean the world to me… thank you for being the best mother to our children… Right, until we get to Court, and you bring a picture of our sunburned son, claiming that I neglected to put sun block on him…. Sad for you, the date stamp and a few facts revealed that it happened on your weekend. Fool. You should have known that I am smarter than that.
My middle child, my younger son, became fascinated in the piles of paper, so he sat by my side picking up odd scraps of paper I had saved over the years. Nope… I have no clue why I saved the Costco receipt for the ice tea mix that I bought in 1990.
Quietly he sat with me, and we had an occasional laugh about my 80’s hair or the cards from grandma. That card with the puppies and kittens is Sooooooo grandma!!!
I have not written a lot about him. He is my quiet child. He is my honest child. He is the one who seemed to have the most connection to his father before he left. He is the one who has suffered the most. He has spent years putting the pieces together and a fiercely loyal protector of me. He never clearly understood why his father left, but he trusted me, the parent who stayed, enough to make his decisions based on who stayed and who left. Things are simple for him. His decision making process is never clouded with shades of grey. Black and white- He left, she stayed. Decision made. He stepped up the plate when my older son went away to college.
As we sifted through the cards and photos, he stopped.
He allowed his long blonde hair to fall over his eyes. I could see that he had started to cry. The blonde hair and blue eyes that turned red made him shades of red white and blue.
Deeply concerned over what he had found, I glanced over and noticed that he was reading an email that I had printed.
It was an email that had been a piece of evidence in the divorce.
The details do not specifically matter here, but the line that may as well been written in size 36 point font was a threat.
Needless to say, it was from his father…. “If you don’t ____________________, you will never see or hear from me again.”
Confusing and painful then, to me as a wife and mother…. Torture to read all these years later. I could see my son’s response in his red eyes….. would he really have left forever? Why don’t I find this surprising… why didn’t you ever tell me this? You did not need to know… It all makes sense now… he doesn’t know how to love us… I don’t really know how to process this mom….
I know, Sweetie…. I know…..
We sat there for some time.
Me, not really knowing what to say, attempting to stick with my decision made a long time ago…. I will not speak ill of him, but I will no longer make excuses for him either….
There was no way to cut the pain… the words in that letter cut so deep, and they are not words that I would ever say. I would never threaten the leave them, no matter what. I stayed, he left… the rationale was clear to him.
Finally, after sitting there a while, with my head on his shoulder, I asked him… is there any difference in how you feel about him? I bet there isn’t, because you love people in spite of the things they do. You are a kind person, and you know how to forgive. I will not make excuses, but I will say that divorce is the most painful experience, so maybe he really didn’t mean it… I am sorry you had to see that. If you can pretend you never saw it, great… if not, then please work to understand the difficulty of divorce. Please don’t make this the end of your relationship with him.
Tears had stopped. Then he finally said that he feels sorry for his father… he feels sorry that those words would ever run through his mind. Worse, he feels sorry that his father really doesn’t know what he gave up. He will never know what he lost, or the family he could have had. It’s sad Mom.
By the way Mom…. You really had some big 80’s hair!
My beautiful boy was laughing again…
He will have to process what he saw… He will have to follow the directions I gave to both boys…. Part of parenting is learning…. If there is something you did not like as a child, don’t be doomed to repeat it. Learn the kind of father you hope to be, then be that person.