Brice was about five and during dinner he blurted out, “Mom, Dad, I hope you two never get adopted.”
William gave me the What the hell is this kid talking about? look.
But, somehow, I knew. “You mean divorced?”
“Right, divorced. I hope you two never get divorced.”
“I hope we don’t either,” I said.
And that was that.
Until about six months ago. Brice, now nine, had more questions and he wanted me to make promises. A friend was over with her three kids –all six kids were running wild. Brice wandered into the kitchen and asked. “Are you and Daddy ever going to get a divorce?”
Me: I don’t think so.
Brice: Do you promise?
Brice: Promise. Promise. Promise.
Me: Honey, I can’t promise you that. Me and Daddy love each other tons. I can’t imagine living without him. But people do get divorced. I think it is important that Daddy and I love each other the best we can each and every day. So if things don’t work out we know we did our very best.
After he ran off to play, my friend said she totally disagreed with what I said.
It really made me wonder. Brice is my second child, but he’s so different from Ashton, it’s like I’m learning to parent all over again each time he reaches a new stage.
The truth is when kids ask us questions, the answers may change depending on our mood and what we have going on. But something about his voice, his worry, made me want to open up and be very honest with him. I don’t think William and I will split up. But I’ve had many friends and relatives break up ---for some it was a mutual “this isn’t working” kind of thing and others were completely taken by surprise.
But my friend was alarmed by the conversation I had with Brice.
My friend: I would never say that to a child. How can you tell him that you might get a divorce?
Me: I didn’t say we might get a divorce, I just didn’t promise that we wouldn’t.
My friend: When (the name of her two daughters) asked me, I told them they never had to worry about it.
For awhile, I wondered if I caused Brice to worry unnecessarily. (Do we EVER stop wondering if we’re damaging our children????)
Yesterday, my friend called. Her and her husband are separating. The reason she and the kids are moving is because of financial stress. I hope things turn around for them soon. I really love them both and think they make a great team.
What do you think? For those of you who are married (or in committed relationships / partnerships / living together) do your kids ask you about the D word?
What did you say?