Yesterday morning, my son out of the blue asked me when we were going home. I told him we were home. He said, “No Mommy. I wanna go home. Home in Texas.” I told him we don’t have a home in Texas anymore, that this new place here in California is our home now. It told me flat out, that it wasn’t. He repeated that he wanted to go home, that he was ready to go home now. So I try to twist it and tell him that he could go and visit daddy soon in Texas. He looked at me confused, as if I didn’t hear him and said, no. “Mommy and Jaxon go home to Texas. Me & Mommy go in daddy’s car to Mommy, Daddy, Jaxon’s House!” So I gently remind him that Jaxon and Mommy don’t live in a house with Daddy anymore. And that’s when he hits me with the mama-jama stumpers of stumpers, “Why?” I realize that I don’t have an answer that a 2 1/2 year old can really understand. I realize I’m in a corner and I don’t know how to get around this question. I find myself throwing smoke up. “Well honey, some mommies and daddies don’t live in the same house. Sometimes Mommy has her house and Daddy has his house.” He sits and thinks for a second and then says, “Daddy’s house is Mommy & Daddy’s House.”
It’s at this moment that I realize everything he was wanting to understand or wanting to say over the past 11 months, he hasn’t been able to and it’s all coming out. We don’t argue or fight over our son. He sees and hears us getting along and having a united front. When his dad is here, there are moments the three of us will spend together having fun. Could it be that my toddler thought this was just an extended vacation? He asks me often to tell his daddy that I love him when I hang up with him or he’ll ask me if I love him and if I love his daddy. The common stereotypical post divorce answers don’t really work with a toddler…but most toddler aren’t asking the type of questions he asks me. I’m sure that at times looking at pictures & videos, having memories…it can all be a little confusing. I feel like I’m running out of answers. He asks me why my last name is different than his. He keeps trying to give me his last name. He asks about the pictures of me and his dad being affectionate, wondering why his daddy isn’t here. Or why we can’t drive home to sleep in our own beds. He says things like, “I don’t like spending the night anymore. I wanna sleep in Mommy & Daddy bed with my mommy and my daddy!”
His frustration with the confusion hurts me deeply because I have the answers, but I can’t share them with him. Even though it’s approaching a year since the separation, Jax still knows life with his parents being together and loving each other. His family is Mommy, Daddy & Jaxon. There are days he still waits for his daddy to come in the front door from work. I really don’t know what to do at this point. The questions now come daily. He speaks and skypes with his father often, so it’s not like he thinks his father fell off the face of the earth. He loves being where we are and does call it home. How do I get him to understand that this is our life now. Life is Mommy & Jaxon in one house and Daddy in another. Maybe it’s confusing because his dad still lives in our old place. I don’t know. It’s so weird. Sometimes he will say, “Daddy’s House.” when referring to it in the present and when looking at photos it’s “Mommy & Daddy House”. But he’s never said I wanna go to Daddy’s house, he’s always maintained that he wants to go back home to Mommy & Daddy’s house. Watching him get angry, frustrated and hurt about not being able to be home with his family is truly heartbreaking and frustrating.
Now that the two of us have gotten past our issues or put our issues aside, I realize my son is still reeling from this change. It sucked for both of us adults. I don’t care who did what or who we think is to blame the break up was extremely hard on both of us. But neither one of us has felt the heartbreak that Jaxon will feel when he finally realizes that the three of us will not be living under the same roof as a family again. I’m sure that the love we surround him with and the united front we show help make him comfortable. I’m sure that our family moments we do share when the three of us are together, do make him feel complete again. But I do feel that he’s sitting in a place of fog when it comes to the understanding of home. Home to him is where his parents are, not one, but both. This is what he knows. He loves me and he loves his dad, but he doesn’t care to much for living with one without the other. I can’t say I blame him. Life was much warmer when my parents slept in a room down the hall from me. There must be some words I can use? A book I can read? Or maybe a group we can join? Please help. I’m sincerely asking for suggestions. It’s such a delicate thing, I want to get it right. What do I do? How do you explain divorce to a toddler?