next time he sobspublished: 2012-10-31
“I hated today. Hated it mum!” His two friends have only just left. The little boys had made a request for french fries and fish fingers which – hell why not – I decided to make. We had gone to a playground where they chased each other, and chased girls, jumped in puddles. My sons pants and shoes are still on the heater. Other mothers were telling the boys not to walk through puddles, but it made no difference to me. And so they continued jumping around until their teeth started chattering. At home, they emptied out the box of playmobile, of wooden blocks, started a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle then stopped, played with Bayblades, Jenga, colouring pencils, all of that and more was all over my floor. Desert? Their favourite: strawberry yoghurt with smarties.
Did you really just say you hated this day?
He nods. It was awful, according to him. He whines and moans. I manage to be firm and instruct my son to help me clear up all the toys. While on our knees, he suddenly bursts out crying. It is an honest cry.
“Why are you and dad separated because if it was the three of us – or four now that we have Door (the cat) – things would be much more fun than they are now. Will you ever get back together again? And I don’t understand because when we used to live here, when all the furniture was different, everything was really fun.”
I stop angrily throwing building blocks into boxes and take him on my lap.
“You remember that?” I hardly remember myself. He nods, sobs even louder. And I realize: it was good back then. He’s right. Again he asks, “won’t you never ever get back together?”
I make myself say exactly what every book on divorce tells you to say (do not give false hope, be clear. While God, do I wish I could give him hope) and so I am clearer to him than I am to myself: “Never ever.”
And when he asks: why not?, I say: too much has happened. But when you tell a 6-year-old too much has happened, he doesn’t get what you mean does he?
He is trying to stay curled up on my lap but he is too big and no longer fits. I repeat what I’ve said many times before: That he can tell me these things, always. He can be mad and sad and anything he wants. And I tell him I’m sorry, I wish it had been different. To hell with it, I think. I’ll show my son my tears. Immediately, he jumps up on my lap and pinches my cheeks. He’s laughing now, all of a sudden.
“Son’t cry, mummy, don’t cry, haha.” The way he pulls my cheeks up and jokes around makes me laugh too, even though I feel like crying even more for the simple fact that he’s doing this. He shouldn’t be cheering me up. Next time he sobs, I’ll tickle him instead. I’ll try that.
Nothing wrong with being cheered up by your son, says my book.