Diapers and Dragons

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's the Hardest One to Answer

Tonight he finally asked the question I'd been dreading.

He's asked If and Will you be before. But not this.

Tonight, after picking up the boys from daycare (after six days of absence) and driving them down to Detroit, DramaBoy suddenly asked me, Why are you and Daddy not together?

I've thought about this question, even though I would rather not. I've wondered what to say to a not-quite-four-year-old about this. How does one answer such a question without lying? Without talking way over his head? Without giving him unnecessary information? Without making him see either parent in a bad light? Without avoiding an answer at all?

And there it was, and there he was, and there I was, and it was time to figure it out. No more wondering. No more rehearsing. No more pre-show jitters. The spotlight's on full and the audience is waiting. Cue line.

Well, I said. I paused. Well, Mommy and Daddy had a lot of problems.

And accidents? he asked.

Well, no, not really accidents. Problems. We made some very bad choices.

Why? he asked. Why indeed? I ask myself that all the time.

We were not doing what was right and we were stupid and we made some very bad choices. And Mommy and Daddy hurt each others' hearts very badly.

Sometimes I make bad choices and I hurt my heart, he said. But I don't hurt my heart as bad as you and Daddy did.

That's right. We hurt each others' hearts so bad that even though we are sorry, there was too much hurt already. And, well, sometimes when that happens, when they're so hurt in the heart like that, Mommies and Daddies can't be together anymore.

There was a short silence.

Can I watch TV when I get home? he asked.

Yes, but only if you give me lots of cuddles, I said.

Okay. I will give you cuddles! he said, and there was a touch of joy in his voice.

I wish that would always be enough.

11 bits of love:

Brenda said...

Such an honest and brave post! Thanks for the share.xx

Monica said...

I'm speechless. What a love he is.

sAm said...

Well done - you handled that with class and care for your son(s).

melissa said...

from experience...just always let them know it has nothing to do with them. really. it's so important. let them know that, ok?!
love you!!

oreneta said...

You seem to have answered it well enough for him this time. Cuddles are always good too!

Heidi said...


Nydia said...

Great answer! My very own 4y/o said something similar ... He said he wished his father lived with us b/c everyone at school lived with their Mommy and Daddy except for him ... Man I fought back some fat, heavy tears but then I asked, Well, does anyone in school have a Mei Mei (his aunt and my wonderful little sister who helps so very much) and he said 'no' ... And then I was like "AH HA! You see!" and he was all, "Oooh yeeah" and that was that ...

I think I like ur approach better lol.

GingerB said...

I think you did that really, really well. I've been waiting for my daughter to ask me questions about my sister's recent divorce and feeling tense. I don't know how they are supposed to understand what we don't even understand.

Anonymous said...

I've gotta stop reading this at work on my lunch break. I love you and DramaBoy and The Widget! And I think you answered that very well and honestly, in a way that will likely prevent DramaBoy from blaming himself.
DramaBoy is just SO PHILOSPHICAL for his age! He makes correlations and conclusions that show how brilliant he is.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I meant I need to stop reading on my lunch break because I keep tearing up at work... not great for the type of work I do!
- SoccerSister

mom said...

Tenderly, truthfully answered. And cuddles are the boldface underlining that let DramaBoy know how much he is loved and not at fault here. Thanks for sharing this hard, sweet moment.

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