I remember my personal therapist and also our couple’s counselor telling us how important it was to not have discussions in front of the kids, around the kids, or in any radius in which they may be able to pick up on a frequency that had anything to do with the D word. In fact, their little antennas seem to work at a higher frequency when you are having a Divorce conversation than when you use a bull horn to remind them to clean their rooms for the 5th time, or even when you are calling them to have candy and cake for dinner. Nothing perks up the antennae like mom and dad issues.
Energetically, I have been opening up so much space within myself that I am blowing my mind every day. Seriously. Like I am meeting new realms of myself who are long lost friends, and I am feeling closer and closer to my own perfection. Maybe I am funneling that energy so strong and so hardcore, that it is affecting my 7 year old too? Am I opening him up just like I am opening up myself? Is this energetic transfer possible?
Yesterday I had a 7 year old kid playing on the playground, ripping holes in his pants and burping gregariously at the dinner table. Then he turns into a mini teenager complaining about how I am “in his business”, asking me for deodorant, axe shampoo and old spice body wash, and then… the kicker…the part that brought me to my knees in my hallway after I had to excuse myself from his presence… my mini teenager is asking why I can’t just trust dad again and let him come home. (Among quite a few equally direct questions and statements).
The delivery of this question was just so matter of fact for him. So expected. So valid of a question, and deserving of an answer. So simple. It really is so simple in his eyes. There is a problem. There is pain. It should be fixed. Wholeness = fixed. Ding ding ding! The answer is clear! The family should be together. Everyone is happy, everyone is whole, all is right in the world.
The beauty of this outweighed the heart wrenching pain that was trying to ruin this opportunity for me to have a real emotional conversation with my son. My son understands simplicity and isn’t overwhelmed by the “complicated web” that life becomes as we get older. The same web that took his father farther and farther away from us…he was still here with me. Present.
How do I preserve this? How do I help him keep the faith in the simplicity of life? He just says what he feels. And sees how simple the answers could be. “He is not doomed”, I think!
Where his father was in a place to only see doubt and shame and complications, he sees clearly. Had his father been able to address his own personal issues and see the simplicity of the situation, we wouldn’t be here in this position today. Had he had the same conversation with me that my 7 year old is having now, we could have prevented the agony and suffering that was the concluding 4 years of our life together.
It has been nearly 2 years since the day that our lives changed direction. Two years of living apart, crazy time-sharing schedules, heated battles, quiet moments, happy afternoons, serious talks, silly playtime and everything in between.
My 7 year old teenager sees no boundaries, and has not limited his thoughts in a way to accept his unhappiness. The path to him is still as wide open, clear and simple as it was from the start.
When do we lose this clarity in life? When do we begin to limit ourselves, our potential and self worth? When does the belief in our own happiness give in to the societal expectations and obedience to “what it has to be like”? When does that damn sneaky bastard “The Ego” take over our lives?
It breaks my heart, over and over again, to think that our marriage could have been, and should have been, something so fulfilling and right. And to know, that we started off with the best of intentions. A picture of me in my wedding dress, stepping out of a horse drawn carriage, my hand in my new husband’s with his eyes full of promise and commitment. We radiated pure love and adoration. We had this whole “Love and Marriage” and “Forever and Ever” thing. Of all the things we imagined going through in life together, divorce was never considered. It can’t happen to us. We are exempt.
And now my 7 year old is peppering me with his innately simple questions, about a simple concept. Like he sees the same vision that we saw then. And maybe he does. He was there that day. All dressed up in his little suit and shiny shoes, standing (being held by his uncle because standing was beneath his princely self at 9 mo old) as a groomsmen for his father. He saw the vision, and is the only one who managed to hold onto it.
So how do you explain such emotional complexities to a 7 year old and help him understand that the simple path to happiness is actually more like the Yellow Brick road for mommy and daddy? Lots of flying monkeys, little people and witches… ugh, the witches… really, it’s quite treacherous. Best to just stay right here in Kansas, where the tornadoes threaten our existence all the damn time instead. Makes sense, doesn’t it sweetie?
How can I take away his ability to see the simplicity of life? How can I muck that up by dragging in the same damn culprits that carried my husband away from me to begin with? He’s only 7. I cannot allow the Ego bastard to start complicating his outlook on life. Not now. This divorce cannot ruin him!
Tonight I settled for believing that the right answer was the standard answer they teach you in books and in counseling sessions. If you’ve ever been in a state of shock and awe of your child, you might have experienced this syndrome. It goes something like “I have nothing intelligent to say to this child, quick brain-scan for acceptable and minimally scarring answer! He’s waiting!”
“Just because mommy and daddy are apart, doesn’t mean we aren’t a family still. And we love you very much!”
I could see the unenthusiastic acceptance of this in his eyes. “Ok, mom.”
Time to banish The Ego. You know, set an example with it. Drag it out of you and set it on fire and show those boys that you are not afraid of it. That it does not own you and it never will. Show them how to be brave. Show them how to keep the weeds of uncertainty from suffocating their lives forever.
And for God’s sake… come up with a better answer!