My kids—like most—are full of questions, especially since the divorce. They keep me on my toes and sometimes, their inquisitions even knock me flat on my back. In the last week alone they have asked me the following:
“Do you love Scott [my boyfriend] more than us?”
“Will you treat D [his daughter] equally to us?”
“Do you still love daddy?”
“Why did you get married if you were going to get a divorce?”
“Why did you get a divorce?”
“Why can’t you remarry daddy?”
They are only five and six, but their life is a puzzle and they are trying to sort it all out. I know it’s a positive thing that my boys feel comfortable enough asking me these questions. I know it’s good that I answer calmly and thoughtfully.
Thanks to a lot of therapy, I have (most of) the right answers.
I tell them that sometimes in a marriage, especially when you marry young, people grow and change and love can change, too. I tell them that their daddy will always be special to me because we were married for a long time and we have two wonderful kids together. I say that mommy and daddy decided we would be happier being apart than together and we wanted them to have two happy homes instead of one unhappy home.
I tell them that a parent’s love for a child is different than the love between a husband and wife and even if a marriage ends, a parent’s love for their children never does. I tell them that it was nobody’s fault, especially not theirs, but that their father and I would not get back together. I tell them it’s common; lots of kids have parents who live in separate homes. I say that all families are different. I explain that even if one day I marry someone else, kids are always the priority and that yes, all the kids would be treated equally by both the adults.
And I think it helps, I think my calm, cool and collected answers reassure them.
I know my answers helped when all their questions lead up to another walloping one: “So can we get a dog?”
The weight of their emotions and the burden I feel to fix things for them is so heavy. I want to give them someone to love and care for and pet, even if I end up picking up all the poop. I’ve been scouring the internet for dogs that are gentle, calm, loving, don’t shed, don’t bark, need little exercise and are really really cute.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that a dog won’t solve their problems; their parents will still be divorced whether we have a dog or not. But slowly, with every question, I’m getting worn down, closer to getting them a furry best friend. It’s a relationship and a love that will last forever and I really want that for them.