As a single parent, one of the things we fear the most are questions from the children. Now, later, then, when…
It’s the chord that hits all of us the deepest and our haters use them against us with bottomless and threats that come from inexperience and lack of understanding. The worst one being, “you are going to totally mess up your kid!”
Fears of future questions by the children, such as “Mommy, why did you leave Daddy?” are also a huge driving force keeping many of us in unhappy marriages. Which, in my opinion, are worse for children than being in single parent households with one happy, fully functioning single parent.
In my house, the questions have come and many more will, I’m sure.
The other day Benjamin asked,”Mommy, did you and Daddy used to be married?”
“Why aren’t you married anymore?”
“Because, when we were married we didn’t get along very well. We fought a lot and we weren’t happy.”
And you were surrounded in the car with boxes and piles of laundry, nestled in between it all – with a U-Haul behind us so I could get you as far away as I could, as quickly as I could. We left everything I had behind to do it. My career, my friends, the city. But it was worth it. You are worth every thing, every minute of it all. You are my everything. I keep my mind and my heart quiet and continue answering as casually as I can.
“But, you’re friends now, right?”
“Sure.” If you call civil communications a friendship, then yes, absolutely. For him, we are friends.
“Why can’t I live with Daddy?”
“Because you’re here. You live here. This is your home.”
This one is tough to answer because his father is so uninvolved (past post for a recap). He sees him once a month, if that, and for a visit to happen, I have to drive him there. His father hasn’t come here to visit in ages and only calls once every few weeks.
“But, I want to live at Daddy’s!”
“I know, but you can’t.”
“Why not?!?!?!” He’s upset now. Daddy’s house has all kinds of fun things like more violent Wii games, a four-wheeler, real BB guns and even real, live pigs, and neighbors who I don’t know and adventures to their houses unsupervised. Oh, and lots and lots of pop tarts, candy and Kool-Aid.
“Because, you just can’t. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, because his house is so much fun and I wish you could live in both places at once! Can you imagine if you could teleport yourself there from here?”
And then we go off on a tangent about something else and the questions fall silent (for then).
What questions do your children ask? How do you answer them?
This post was inspired by a recent post by Matt Logelin. His daughter, Maddy, asked him some questions the other day about her mother’s death and his answers and her reaction are now permanently implanted into my consciousness. He is such a brilliant writer and father, and please read this.