Monday, December 17, 2007

Collateral Damage


This year has been taxing on my little man, Kaleb. The divorce has been hardest on him, and in just a few short months he’s matured more than I’d like to admit. My toothless wonder is more reflective, thoughtful, and introspective.

Last week was the most difficult of my life. I won’t drag you through the details—suffice it to say that ending a marriage is a painful, difficult, and often, ugly thing. On Tuesday night I placed my kids in front of the TV and shut myself in the nearby empty playroom to talk with my Mom. It wasn’t long before I was sobbing uncontrollably, wiping snot from the faceplate while trying not hyperventilate. Kaleb walked in.

At that exact moment I realized that while my children have seen their mother cry (in a dainty, dab-a-tissue-at-the-corner-of-my-eyes kinda way) they’ve never seen me broken like that, incoherent and hiccupping with emotion.

He stood in the doorway, stunned. “Why are you crying, Mom?”

“Mommy’s just sad,” I said. (Why I speak in third-person like this, even to my six-year old, I don’t know.)

He continued to ask that same question, over and over, letting me know that being sad wasn’t answer enough.

Finally I said, “Sometimes mommy and daddy don’t agree about important things.”

There, I’d said it. In my least-rational, weakest moment I had told my child that his father and I weren’t currently on the same page, in fact, I was doubtful we were even in the same book. I got off the phone and we muddled through the next few days. Somehow.

On Friday the ex picked Kaleb up from school and asked how he could be a better father. His answer? Not, buy me a video game, let me have my own bedroom, or even play catch with me more.

“Don’t make Mom cry.” That was his answer.

And later, when I asked him how I could be a better mom he said, “Get along with Dad.”

Profound in a simple, innocent way.

And absolutely heartbreaking.

26 comments:

suburbancorrespondent said...

Ouch - dagger to the heart. I'm so sorry. Wouldn't it be nice if life always worked out the way it should? I cannot imagine the pain of going through a divorce with kids - without was bad enough.

JaniceNW said...

Kids have a way of getting to the nitty gritty. It must be so difficult watching your kids cope with the divorce. I'm sorry Shauna and I pray things get easier soon. HUGS

Feener said...

this is all so raw. i hope you are having some peaceful moments during the holidays.

Gustogirl said...

It qraduples any hurt you are feeling when you see that your children feel it too! I sm so sorry that it is a heartbreaking time for you(and your kids too). I hope it gets a little easier soon.

Anonymous said...

Shauna - All I have to say is that you are the greatest sister a brother could have! Love ya.

jason

Erin said...

I am so sorry that you have to deal with all of this. It's just not fair! Wish there was more we could do. We love you so much!

Eileen said...

Shauna,
I love your honesty with Kaleb. He is a wise one, and needs to make sense out the changes. Your answer could not have been more perfect. He knows you are an askable parent and he can come talk to you. Your children have always know that. That is huge. In fact, the way you have been with your children throughout this difficult process, shows just how wonderful a mother you are. I am just so sorry that it hurts so much.
I know with time it will get better. Believe that and take it day by day.

I wish I could do something or say something to make it easier for you. I am sending you thoughts of peace and more happy moments. You all deserve that.
XOXOXO

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Wow. Such honesty. Hard to hear, harder to do.

Tola said...

cant wait to see you too. you need a *big* hug.

Anonymous said...

love ya Shauna, I'm praying for you everyday. jen

linds said...

Your son has a good heart, he is a sweet boy! I am really sorry that your family is going through difficult times. You are a great mom. One who is there for your children, as well as open and honest with them. They are lucky to have you.

Thanks for being a good blogger friend to me, I'm glad I can be here for you as well!

RachelT said...

Shauna,
Your post today left me in tears as well. I am so sorry taht your family is in so much pain right now. Your boy sounds like such a sweetheart and I wish you nothing but good things.

Karen (Pediascribe) said...

Kaleb sounds like a tenderhearted kid. What a very mature response to his dad and you. It sucks that all of you have to go through this. I'm sure this is a hard time of year for you and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Candygirlflies said...

Oh, Shauna... What Eileen said, I would like to loudly second!!

I'm out here, thinking of you, and praying for you and your family.

xo CGF

shauna said...

This is just one week in the life of... I promise things haven't been this painful 24/7. Thanks so much for all your love and support. It helps a lot, especially when I'm feeling at the beggining of a very long and dark tunnel. Kaleb's a great kid. In fact, they all are. And I'm trying to believe that in the long run this will be better for all of us. I need to have that tattoed on my forearm or something so I remember it in my weaker moments like this phone conversation with my mother...

jason said...

If you are serious about the tatoo than I will make this deal with you. You get one and I will go with you and get one too...

zellmer said...

I second what suburbancorrespondent said. Divorce was the hardest experience I've ever been through, and that was without kids. I can't even imagine. Hang in there. Every day it gets a little easier.

Jen M. said...

Ooof.

Wow, I hurt just hearing this. I can't imagine how you must feel.

Stay strong!

Kristi O said...

I am praying for you. Kids are amazingly resilent. Thank God that they are are young and God's arms are big.

motherbumper said...

It's my first time here and can I say that your Kaleb sounds like a wise sage soul. Us adults obviously have so much to learn from children. Reading about your current painful situation is heartbreaking but you weave a profound post with your words. Stay strong because you sound like a great parent.

Spammon said...

Man, kids just lay it ou on the table. BAM. There's no decision too hard for kids. I wonder how we lose site of that as we get older.

Becky said...

Sending {{{{BIG}}}} hugs your way.

Annie said...

Hoping the hurt starts to ease soon, for all of you.

Rachel said...

Wow...I am quite impressed with your little man. He is very mature. Most kids would have responded to those questions with the usual wish for parental reconciliation. Instead, he seams to have accepted the separation and can actually see the way (through the eyes of a six year old) how to make it less difficult.

shauna said...

Rachel, I'm sure hoping that's where he is right now. I was afraid "get along" was his way of saying "get back together." He's asked countless times if dad will be here on Christmas day. We're going to do Christmas together this year and I believe that's in the best interests of the children.

Steadie said...

I know this was written a long time ago, but I just happened to read it now, provided that I never knew this blog before.

Oh the words of innocence. . . I just had to cry over it so much. I think mommy knew the consequences of a divorce to a great degree and knew what it means for the boy, but still had to do it. What a heart break! What an afreet your heart had to be to proceed!