I picked the small boy up from his Dad’s house today. I am looking forward to the extra noise in our home. I am excited for another week with him. What I wasn’t expecting was what he said the moment he got in my Jeeps. I ask if he had a good time at his Dad’s house, he responded, “Yes, this weekend are Mr. X and his kids coming to stay with us? E and I wanted to build the biggest marble tower ever.” All I could do was say “I think they have other plans,” as I quickly wiped my tears so he didn’t see them.
You may be asking why I didn’t tell him what was going on. We were in my Jeep on the way to his karate class. This is longer than a 5 minute conversation. He is an inquisitive small boy. He asks big questions that are far beyond his emotional maturity. You see, after testing, we found out that Riley has the cognitive understanding of a young adult. That is amazing. He has the emotional processing ability of a normal 7 year old little boy. That makes things like a his a little harder for him. He can understand them mentally but he can not process them emotionally.
He asks more questions than most kids. And he wants to know the reasons why. He will understand what is happening and he will most likely want to know why things are changing. And there lies the problem. A surface answer may not work for him. The truth will crush him. His 7 year old brain will not understand the true reason why. I know this small boy. He will find a way to blame this on himself. He will make promises to be better. He will ask me to call Mr. X and invite them back. So, what do I do?
I made a promise years ago that I would not lie to my child. This is hard. A child should not need to worry about adult issues but he ask adult questions. So, where does that leave me? It leaves me with an answer he will not like. Sometimes, adults make decisions that we know will be best in the long run but will be hard now. This will lead to “Why will it be better in the long run?” Ugh… my brain is spinning just thinking about it.
For most kids, it is out of site, out of mind. Riley still talks about our Dog that died when he was 2. He does not forget easily. He is not most kids. So, I have to find a way to not tell him too much, but tell him enough to satisfy that inquisitive little brain. I really wish I knew the words to say. For today, I will leave it at, “I think they have other plans,”
Maybe a good night of sleep and some prayers will bring me clarity, but for now, he is content with that answer until he ask again. I think I’ll just snuggle him a little longer and make sure he knows that he is and will always be my #1. I am realizing something, for me, dating after divorce is harder than divorce. No one left my child’s life forever during the divorce. No one went no-contact. Things were handled with dignity, maturity and respect because we both realized we would have to co-parent together. We both put our child first. I know this story differs from others and I know I am blessed with how my ex-husband and I moved forward, but this is so much harder. Dating is harder.
This blog is my safe space. It is my therapy couch. I get ask why I share so openly, the answer is partially selfish. I write because it helps me process my feelings. I publish them because it holds me to my words. If the blog says I am going to do something, I will do it. I publish them in hopes that my challenges and struggle will help someone else. Maybe, someone is going through the same thing and won’t feel quite so alone. And here is the selfish part, when I publish a blog, there is no need to tell the same story over and over again. It is out there for the world to see. There is so much support from friends and strangers that follow my journey. It is amazing. The love. The ones that cheer me on. The ones that call me on my bullshit. The advice. The encouragement. All of it. It helps me heal. It means the world to me. And I am so blessed with the community this blog has helped me form.
So for tonight, as my child is snuggled in bed sleeping. I will pray for the words and the clarity to know how to get my small boy through this and I will thank God for my beautifully blessed, messy life. It is crazy, and heartbreaking and amazing and filled with so much love and support that at times I am in awe. This may not be an easy moment in my life but there is always joy. I felt joy when my small boy gave me a hug today. I felt joy when I receive gorgeous flowers from a man from my past. I felt joy when I got out of bed and faced the world. So each day, I will look for joy and in the midst of chaos, I’ll sparkle. I won’t let life dull my shine.
The Manicured Mom