Posted on | July 25, 2011 | 17 Comments
Yesterday, for the first time, I couldn’t fix what was hurting my son.
He stood there in the kitchen, tears welling in his eyes, his face crumpling before me.
He did not want his father to leave. He wanted his Dada to stay longer to play with him, to love him, to just be in the same room with him.
It was too much for me to watch and despite my promise not to cry around my Ex ever again, the tears fell. Because this was not my hurt… this was J’s. This was my sweet son realizing for perhaps the first time that Dada going to “his home” meant J not seeing Dada for a while. This was his little heart breaking before me just as his little legs collapsed and he threw himself onto the rug, face down. He used to do that when he was barely walking and he didn’t get his way. He would just fall wherever he stood and throw a tantrum.
But this was no tantrum.
There was no kicking. There was no screaming. There were only tears and the slow, sad whine of a cry as he asked without asking for his Dada to stay.
I couldn’t stand it.
I picked him up.
I cradled him against my neck and told him he’d see Dada soon. I kissed his soft, tear stained cheeks and promised him it would be okay. I silently begged my Ex to slip away without any further good byes. I wrapped my arms around my son, willing my embrace to be enough to soothe and comfort. I closed my eyes as his father slipped out the back door and I willed myself to be enough for my son. At least for now.
The pain of this divorce has been so hard on me but through it all, my son has been resilient and loving. He has been happy and loved. He has not cried for his father or asked where he is… those are thoughts too deep for an almost two year old who is more concerned with what is right before or right behind him.
But on Sunday night, I caught a glimpse of the grief that will spread itself like a spindly cloth, weaving into the pattern of my son’s life. He will always, I hope, wish for one more day with his father. He will always, I hope, miss his father on the days following a particularly fun visit. And he will also, I fear, shed many a tear over Dada leaving for “his home.”
After my Ex left, I cuddled J close. We read a few stories and played a few games. I did what I could to erase his memory of those few moments when his world flipped sideways and then upside down as he realized his father didn’t live with him any longer.
But the memory of my son laying there on the rug, crying for a life I can not give him, a loss he had never before felt… that memory may haunt me for a very long time. Those tears, his heart broken tears, landed like tiny drops of delicate poison, burning painful forget-me-not patterns on my skin and my heart. I wanted to fix what was wrong with my son. I wanted to make it better for him.
And for the first time in his little life, there was nothing I could do.