The last two days have been probably among the most heart-wrenching I've had to deal with so far. I don't know quite how to begin explaining it, so we'll start with the tantrum to end all tantrums.
Yesterday, Doug took the kids overnight so I could have some time to study for my sociology midterm. I'd been making cakes all day and didn't really have a chance to study in depth. When the kids came home from school, we were decorating cakes and Doug came by to help. As kids were finishing up, he asked them to pick out clothes and PJ's to pack for his house. The kids all obliged except for Carter who had a tremendous meltdown. At first he said he didn't know what to pick out and Doug told him to just get pants and a shirt, like always. He came into the kitchen, furious and told me that his dad wouldn't help him. I told him that wasn't true and if he needed help, I would help him after I finished helping Ethan. Carter then got completely unreasonable saying that when he asks for help, no one helps him and stormed off into his room and proceeded to have a crazy, stormy tantrum.
I was busy helping the other boys and left Carter in his room, passing the tantrum off as just a fit he was throwing because he was tired. He often gets belligerent when he's tired. He eventually calmed down a little and came downstairs. He wasn't totally calm, he was still crying and refusing to get his clothes for his dad. I asked him what was really wrong and he said that everyone was making him mad. I asked him how I was making him mad and he said that I was making him go to his dad's and he didn't want to.
This is not a normal response for Carter. He loves to go to his dad's house. I assumed he didn't want to go because it wasn't a normally planned day to go and he doesn't do well with schedule changes, and I hadn't had time to explain to him why he was going.
Then he said "If I go to dad's I can't see you and if I stay here, I can't see Dad." Doug and I were a little stunned and tried to fumble around for something comforting to say. I offered to let him stay home with me, but that seemed to make him even more upset and he stormed off to his room again.
I followed him to his room and laid down on his bed with him. He didn't want to talk to me at first but finally started to open up after I tickled his back for awhile. He started talking about how he wanted to sleep in his own bed, and wanted his dad to live with us, and how he missed me when he was at his dad's. Doug came in while Carter was talking and all we could do was say we were sorry for our circumstances and that we both still love Carter so much and we're doing the best we can.
Doug promised to bring Carter over in the morning before school so he could see me and I promised to check him out of school so he could spend time with just me. Carter perked up enough to make it to the Blue and Gold Banquet. Doug said Carter fell asleep on the way to his house and everything seemed to be fine this morning when he came to see me.
Today I took Carter to McDonald's for lunch. He asked if his dad could join us, so we picked up Doug on our way. We had a pretty good time, talking about math and stealing each other's fries. After we dropped off Doug and we were on our way to take Carter back to school, I felt like I needed to remind him that it's ok to be mad or sad about the divorce and that if he needed to talk to us that he could. Then we had the following conversation:
Mommy: "It's not your fault that we're divorced."
Carter: "It's not?" (and he starts to cry and then I start to cry....)
Mommy: "No Baby, it's not. Do you know why Daddy and I are divorced?"
Mommy: "We just fought too much and we thought it would be best for everyone if we lived apart so we didn't fight as much. It's not because of you or your brothers or sister."
Carter: "You fight about me."
Mommy: "We don't mean to fight about you. What we're really fighting about is stuff like money and schedules and stupid grown-up stuff but we're not fighting because you make us mad."
I think at that point in time, my already very broken heart broke into a million pieces. My beautiful 6 year old baby boy has been carrying around the burden that this is his fault. I'm his mother. I'm supposed to fix the pain, not cause it. I'm supposed to soothe it and take it away, not be the source.
When we got back to the school, I asked him if he knew who the most important person in the world was. He said: "Me. And Garrett and Chase and Ethan and Mckenzie too, I guess. I know that, Mom."
At least he knows that. But it's little comfort at this point. Of all the casualties and fatalities of this divorce, I was not prepared for this. I thought Doug and I were making our best effort to help the kids feel secure. I just wasn't prepared for the blindside and the ensuing agony. Last night, every time I closed my eyes, I saw Carter's precious face as I laid beside him on his bed. His big eyes looking at me as he told me why he was mad and begging me to fix it. I wish I could fix it the way he wants it. I'm so sorry for these circumstances and making my children victims of this mess.
The time Jacob broke his arm. In half.
3 weeks ago