Friday, January 13, 2012

Being Responsive

I've posted many times about divorce, and as much as I'd like to put all of it behind me and move on, I have two sweet boys who are and will always be impacted by the choices their father and I made. Divorce is cyclical; the three of us continually journey through varying phases, and I never find myself prepared for where their little hearts and minds will go.

The latest installment came the other night at the dinner table when out of the blue, Gage looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy, I'm never going to get married."

I can never be sure where Gage will go next when he makes sudden announcements like this, so I asked why and waited for the rest. I never expected what came next; his mature thought process that lead to his profound statement left me breathless, heartbroken.

"Because I don't want to be like you and Daddy."

I might as well have been a puddle on the floor. My brain grasped for something to say, anything that could take away this knowing, this life experience that my little eight year old possessed. My feeble attempt to reassure him, to restore his faith in marriage fell pitifully short. He looked at me skeptically as I rambled about choosing the right person until thankfully, his attention was diverted by his brother.

I know it is clearly too early to predict doom for his future relationships due to commitment issues. But at the same time, I also realize that they will both be permanently impacted by our choices, even if they were only two and four. They are fortunate enough to see their father and I interact positively most of the time. They also see a loving and healthy marriage here at the Rock House.

Gage, at 2

Gage's comments have helped me to realize that in addition to modeling healthy relationships, I need to be talking with them about marriage and divorce more frequently and in a more complex way than I have been. I have to help them heal and understand the whys and hows of what happened, so they can learn and hopefully not repeat this experience later in their lives.

This has definitely had the potential to completely stress me out! Instead, with my momfulness practice and focus on presence, I'm learning to be less reactive and more responsive to their needs, to love all of the challenges and opportunities parenting them brings.

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