Monday, September 8, 2008

a road less (or never) traveled

I am so not an expert when it comes to matters of divorce/split-ups, especially when there are children involved. More especially when my children are involved. I call upon all of you readers to help shed some of your experience on a subject I was lucky enough to have avoided growing up, but am faced with head on now.

Last night, after a fantastic weekend (which is not documented with photos because I forgot the damn camera) Brad and I settled on the couch to watch Sunday Night Football. Armed with nutritious Sonic foot long wieners and gigantic Dr. Pepper's, we were ready for a night of much needed relaxation and muchly more deserved indigestion.

Halfway through the game, Brad's cell phone beeps. He has a text from the girls' mom. I assumed one of the girls had left something behind this weekend; certainly it was nothing that would cause lifting my head off the couch pillow. Wrong-o. The text stated that Makayla had been crying most of the night because she wants her Daddy and Mommy to live together like a family. Whoa. Nelly.

Gut reaction: Makayla secretly hates me. Accurate? No. Paranoid and rather selfish to think this is even remotely about me? Absolutely.

Second reaction: WHAT DO WE DO? Obviously this is not going to go away. Angie is asking Brad to help because she clearly can't be expected to handle it alone.

SO...that leaves the obvious question. What brought this on? I can think of two possibilities:

a) Brad and Angie attended Parent Teacher Conferences last week together. I did not attend because that would have been too many cooks in the kitchen. Perhaps Makayla saw Mommy and Daddy together and it stirred up some emotions from the past? Makayla is old enough to remember Brad and Angie when they were together, and I'm sure that was a nice (and familiar) feeling seeing them together in her school.

b) Makayla has just reached that age where she is beginning to wonder why her friends have parents who live together and she doesn't. It probably doesn't seem very fair.

Thursday is our weekly dinner with the girls. I'm thinking perhaps Brad and Angie should sit down with Makayla before then. She's just started 2nd grade and I hate to think of her focusing on this issue rather than her schoolwork and friends. She's just- I don't know- too young to be worrying about stuff like this, and I want to hug her and make it all go away.

Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where I essentially need to lay low and let Kayla's Mommy and Daddy help her out. It's not a great feeling, knowing that I'm expected to be a Mom in all other ways, but can't, in the end, be there for her when I most want to. It's a helluva bum deal, but there it is. And with my limited experience in these matters, I sort of feel like an infant being tossed into giant waves and told "Learn how to swim. And make it quick."

Needless to say, between Makayla's questions, the foot long hot dog, and my feelings of helplessness and third-wheelishness, my indigestion is still with me this morning. I don't think Pepto Bismol is going to help it go away.

As a kid, adults told me that growing up was hard to do. I rather stupidly assumed they meant until I was 18. I gotta tell you, ages 1-18 were a friggin' cake walk. I have this horrible feeling that the older I get, the harder the learning gets. Not sure I'm ready for it....


Anonymous said...

Hey Kim,
I understand what you are going through right now!!!! Have Brad and Angie explain to Kayla that sometimes it is better for parents not to be married to each other. It would have hurt everyone in the long run if they had stayed together. Besides, Brad loves you very much and Angie loves Mark?(not sure if still true, but use it) And then inform the girls they are extra lucky that they have 2 sets of parents that love them more than anything in the world!!!! Hope that advise helps!

Judith said...

Being the child of divorce several times over, I suppose I should have some insight to share with you. I think each situation is different--for the kids invovled and for the parents as well. It's hard for me to identify with Makayla since I never wanted my parents to get back together....but I think her confusion and emotions are pretty normal for kids in this type of situation. She probably is just wondering why her parents aren't together like maybe some of her friends' parents are. I think it's a good indication that perhaps Brad and Angie should have some heart-to-hearts with the girls and talk about how their family is special. I totally agree with Missie's post: the girls should be told by both parents (and more than once) that they are lucky to have so many people in their lives who love them and love their mom and dad. Make it clear that no matter what, their parents love them. I know first-hand how one parent's bitterness towards the other can hurt a kid; and from what I know, Brad and Angie have the girls' best intentions at heart so I'm confident that this will be an opportunity for them to have some dialogue with them....

Don't feel helpless! Keep your chin up--Brad knows how much you love the girls too. And he knows how much you love him--he might not even need it, but just remind him that you're there for him come what may....!

antisdel said...

Thanks for all the advice! It's good to hear people's perspectives that have been through it or know something about it. You guys are fantastic!