The Hardest Part (so far)

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.


17 Responses to “The Hardest Part (so far)”

  1. By Word of Mouth Musings
    July 25th, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    Sad tears here as that image of your cherub, and your sadness. Our heartbreak is nothing compared to how we feel when we cannot fix life for our children.
    You are doing a great job over there … remind yourself all of the time, you are doing a great job with your little boy!

  2. TheNextMartha
    July 25th, 2011 @ 3:47 pm


  3. Chunky Mama
    July 25th, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

    There was nothing you could do to change what made him sad, but you already did EVERYTHING by holding and comforting him and letting him settle back into his routine with you. Life will be different for all of you, but he has you there to love and comfort him, and that will help him be okay with the changes every single day.
    I am sorry you both are hurting. It will always be hardest for him, but I promise it will get a little easier as time passes and he begins to understand the new “normal” in his life.

  4. KLZ
    July 25th, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    This is not a hurt you caused. It’s not. A big hug to you both.

  5. Adriane
    July 25th, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    Tears are flowing for sweet little J. Heartbreaking. I only hope the Ex feels the guilt and pain right along with J.

  6. Heather
    July 25th, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    If it’s any consolation, he is still before the age where children form lasting memories. The immediate grief of someone-they-like leaving is a very basic and raw emotion.

    I am no psychologist, but by the time he is old enough to make those permanent memories, you will have a routine set up, and he won’t really know it any other way. He’ll know that he lives with Momma, and that he sees Dada every other weekend or whatever your arrangement is. I think the adjustment is probably worlds harder on an older child.

    Not that this makes you feel any better about seeing your child in pain, but J will be OK in the long run.

    *hugs for you and J*

  7. Jamie
    July 25th, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

    Big hugs for J. Poor little guy. He is lucky to have such a wonderful, caring, comforting mama like you. Keep doing what you are doing. Take care!

  8. KristinaYellow
    July 25th, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    This breaks my heart. I hate when DD is hurt and I can’t fix it-I can only imagine how it feels for you. I love that you do want him to have a good relationship with his dad and that you realize missing him can be a good thing. Still, it is so hard to be the one who has to pick up the pieces. Wish I could help somehow.

  9. Sarah
    July 25th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    I’m so sad for you right now.

    I know exactly how you felt and there’s nothing that can make that pain easier for you either.

    Big BIG hugs to you and J from Talulah and I.

  10. Anthony from CharismaticKid
    July 25th, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    The best way you can make it better for him is to not act like it is a big deal. He follows your lead, he follows your reality. If he can sense this is a horrible thing happening, then he will feel the horribleness.

    If you feel normal about it, knowing that he will see his father countless times throughout his life, having great memories in the future, this wouldn’t be such a big deal.

    If you can keep strong and in control, keeping positive, so will your son.

    But if he feels the slightest bit of sorrow, guilt, or regret in your body, he will think that something is wrong with this situation.

    It all has to do with your mindset, because he will see whatever path you take as the most healthy, valuable path for himself.

  11. Jessica @ Raising an Owlet
    July 25th, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

    big hug for J and for you. And while you it felt like you couldn’t do anything, you did so much for him by holding him and reading to him and loving him.

  12. pinkflipflops
    July 25th, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

    poor little guy

  13. Janet
    July 26th, 2011 @ 12:15 am

    You can’t fix the hurt but you are his constant in life now, in the future, forever. You are the consistant responsible adult in his world. Everyday you have wiped butt, wiped tears, hugged, scolded and taught and loved. We Moms signed up for this and J will know you picked him up and held him, he’ll know Dad left but Mom was there, he’ll know the first face he sees in the morning when he wakes up. This stinks but we just do it for our kids because we love them. He’ll be OK because you are there. You’ll be Ok too because you are tuned into your child and know what’s best even in the worst times. You are doing an awesome job and do not forget it..If you need me to tell you everyday I will. Divorce stinks but being a Mom never changes.

  14. Luna
    July 26th, 2011 @ 4:23 am

    You know, I watched my mom hurt because I was suffering a lot, and maybe if she’d known how to comfort me, like you comfort your boy, I wouldn’t have been suffering at all. What I’m saying is that you can meet his needs, because you are a sympathetic, comforting parent that is good enough for two. maybe he isn’t/ won’t suffer as much as you think.

  15. Jennifer
    July 26th, 2011 @ 7:53 am

    I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that was. No parent wants to see their child in pain like that. Maybe it can be a consolation that he will not remember that. In a toddler’s life that was just a passing minute. And by the time his memories will have formed this will just be the way his life is and he won’t know any different. Yes, I’m sure he’ll still be sad sometimes, but it won’t be the heartbreaking scene of this weekend.

  16. Dre
    July 26th, 2011 @ 9:48 am

    Sending love and hugs. There is NOTHING worse than seeing your child in pain and not being able to “fix” it.

  17. Tara@DoTheseKidsMakeMeLookCrazy
    August 1st, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    You opened up my head and took a little snapshot.


    Oh, come over and see my whine today:

    Gah. Hard day.

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