came home from school with this drawing:
- Are you going to have another baby?
- Are you going to marry another man?
- Is Dad going to marry another woman?
- Is Dad going to marry Miss ____ (Dad’s live-in girlfriend)?
- Is Dad going to have another baby?
- Are we going to have to switch schools again?
- Do you have a boyfriend?
- Are you and Dad friends?
- Did you and Dad have a choice to get divorced?
- The easiest question (and my all-time favorite): Mom, are you going to marry John Mayer?
- The toughest question (and the one I dread even though it’s been asked multiple times): Why did you and Dad get divorced?
she came home with a family portrait that looked like this. The first time was
many months ago. At the time, I was concerned the drawing meant she didn’t
understand the change in our family dynamics and that she still saw our family
as intact with a mom and a dad who loved each other. Maybe she thought her father and I would
eventually get back together.
was as simple as a family portrait because, after all, those are the members of
her immediate family. She does have a mom, a dad and a brother. That’s the only
family she knows.
things: She either didn’t understand the divorce at all or she had the
healthiest outlook of all of us.
that our family didn’t look the same as it used to. Little C said, “I know. But
this is my family. This is what my family looks like. And I put you and
Dad on opposite sides of the paper because you aren’t married anymore.”
sure enough, her father and I were on the outside with the kids in the middle.
A few days later, I showed it to the
kids’ therapists, and they assured me I had nothing to worry about.
and as she explained it, the setting is in the neighborhood we live in, not the
neighborhood her father lives in.
immediately jumped to the conclusion that she’s regressing, that she placed her
parents next to each other as a sign that she still doesn’t get what’s going on
after months of answered questions and explanations since her last family
a good thing. Maybe this just meant that she saw her parents as two adults who
love her, able to work together to co-parent in a friendly manner.
And if that’s the case, then we’re
doing something right.
not remember her parents being married, a thought that is both heartbreaking
(because she won’t remember seeing her parents when they were happy together)
and reassuring (because she won’t remember the end of the marriage). Right now,
the divorce is still fresh, not quite 7 months old, and I have to give her the
space to process her feelings at the level of comprehension that works for her
and try not to project my worries on that process.
So I save these drawings, dating
them on the back and showing them to her therapist to discuss with her as
necessary. I continue to do my best to answer her questions. And I gladly give
her those hugs she loves because she inherited her pro-hug mentality from me.