“Oof, that’s not an easy question.” Cody muttered from the drivers seat.
We were driving to church when Addie asked why my parents weren’t married to each other, more specifically why they got a divorce.
She has a new friend with divorced parents and half siblings and I can only assume the question arose from seeing her friend and his sister go back and forth between their parents houses throughout the week. She’s asked about it before, why they weren’t married to each other but she had never used the word ‘divorce’ before.
My parents got divorced when I was 5. It was very strange, I was the only kid in my kindergarten class with divorced parents. I knew it wasn’t my fault but I remember taking the blame to make the fact that my parents hated each other more bearable. There’s a lot of old baggage there.
My mom got divorced from her second husband last year and it’s led me to think a lot about which is harder, your parents separating when you are younger or when you are older. When I was younger it was hard because I had no idea what was going on, the complexities that were involved with the legalities of divorce and the emotional toll on both of my parents were too much for me to understand. When I was older it was hard seeing my grown parents as flawed people.
I didn’t want to tell Addie that my parents didn’t love each other anymore, I don’t want her thinking that love can end just like *that* but I also didn’t want to explain how complex divorce can be. Both my parents are really good at being grandparents and they would have never been the parents they were or the grandparents they are had they stayed together. I simply answered with “They didn’t take very good care of each other.”
I’m not sure if that was the right answer. She thought about it and responded with “We take good care of each other right?”
Relationships are a two way street, they do require an awful lot of care from both parties. While I don’t want to tell Addie that divorce will never happen to her, I do want her to understand that taking care of people, be it your family, your spouse or your siblings; is more important than anything. If she ever asks again I may go into the subject deeper with her, if she’s ready that is.
Have you had to answer the divorce question to your kids? How did you handle it?