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What Hurts the Most

I’m in the midst of my second divorce.  Divorce sucks, even when you’re the one who wants it.  There’s the bickering.  Who’s entitled to what.  The lawyers.  Damn the lawyers.  There’s the heartache.  The heartbreak.  The hurt feelings.  The anger.  The blame.  Who hurt who more.  There’s just nothing good about goodbye.

There is one thing, however, that hurts more than anything and that’s to see what the children go through.  Seven years ago the undeniable devastation on the twins’ faces one night singlehandedly convinced me to try to make my first marriage work.  Of course it didn’t.  She was abusive.  It took no time at all before she was hacking into my emails and literally cussing and yelling at the top of her lungs at me for not talking to her about our problems.  Problems which our counselor had told us both he didn’t want us discussing until he’d had a chance to work with her on her inability to react violently to things she didn’t want or like to hear.  When I mentioned that…well, that was just an excuse, of course.  I just didn’t want to talk to her.  I digress, however.

Baby C is two years old.  I thought him young enough to not notice the things that were going on between his mother and I.  We have never fought or argued in front of him.  He simply spends half of his time living with her and the other half living with  me.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, my wife (for now) worked until 8 o’clock every night so Baby C was with me almost daily.  He was used to his mother showing up when the sun went down to take him to her house.

Last night, out of nowhere, he started asking me to see Mommy and Granny (her mom, whom she lives with).  He had never done that before.  When he noticed my phone laying next to me he pointed towards the phone and said again, “Mommy? Granny?”  I asked him if he wanted to talk to mommy on the phone and he said okay.

So I dialed his mother up and they talked.  Well, as much as he can talk anyhow.  He just listened with a smile on his face while she told him hello and that she loved him.  I cajoled him into the saying a couple of things back to her.  He’s still a bit gun shy on the phone.  He’ll pretend talk all day but if there’s an actual person on the line he freezes up and won’t say anything.

After I had gotten him to say “I love you, mommy,” to her (I love you is something I’ve been working with him on for months and he just started saying it in the past week or so – it’s so damned cute), he handed me the phone and ran to the front door.  He pointed at and stabbed it with his right index finger and kept repeating, “Mommy?  Mommy?”  When I told him his mother wouldn’t be coming to get him he lost it.  Uncontrolled crying.  Nothing would please him.  None of the usual suspects would cheer him up.  Even M&M’s couldn’t corral the tears, but he still ate them anyway.

I took him upstairs to get ready for bed and he just kept bawling while crying for his mother.  And that’s when I about lost it.  I just stopped undressing him and held him and let him cry.  Tears began to well in my eyes, but I stayed them for his benefit.  It wouldn’t have done him any good had I lost my composure.  I just continued to hold him tightly and kiss his forehead.  I told him everything would be alright.  He responded with a dramatic, “Okaaaaaaay.”  It crushed my heart.

I finally got him changed we went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, which he usually enjoys.  Not last night.  He cried through it all.  He didn’t stop until he saw his bubbies (the twins) to give them night-night love.  Once that was taken care of I loved him up and then put him in bed.  On a normal night that’s the end of it, but as soon as I closed the door he started screaming my name and that’s highly unusual.  I went back in there and hugged him, kissed him, told him I loved him, and said that it was time for bed.  He said okay, and then laid back down.  I closed the door again and went downstairs to take my medicine.

He started screaming my name again while I was in the kitchen.  I took my medicine and went back into his room and calmed him down again.  This time I left the door open.  Five minutes later he lost it again.  We went through this a couple more times before I decided just to put him in bed with me and he was fine after that.  I was not, though.  I was devastated.  I was heartbroken.  I was emotionally exhausted.

I sincerely hope this was a one-time occurrence.  This is the first time anything like this has happened since our initial separation last August.  I don’t know what the catalyst was.  I don’t know what to do if it continues.  He can’t talk that well yet, so going to a counselor is out.  So I’ve got my fingers crossed that it was just a bad night and this doesn’t happen again.

Have any of you experienced anything similar with a two-year old?  What worked, if anything?

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Discussion

65 thoughts on “What Hurts the Most

  1. I am so sorry – that’s not enough but I am. My heart breaks for you. Send me an email if you need to – and Alice might get an Fb account though she hates Fb – for you. So sorry, again.

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    Posted by aliceatwonderland | June 19, 2013, 7:12 am
  2. That is devastating for everyone. I think you handled it very well. He needs love and support and sounds confused right now. He needs to know that if mommy isn’t there, Daddy will be. Take care and best wishes for the future. He will bounce back. Little ones are very resilient. Keep piling on the love and the hugs….

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    Posted by Kayjai | June 19, 2013, 7:21 am
  3. I don’t have anything helpful to add except to say I am sorry and to send virtual hugs to you and Baby C.

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    Posted by sortaginger | June 19, 2013, 7:21 am
  4. Wow…that’s a tough night, but Baby C is certainly lucky he’s got such a loving dad. It will get better when he can understand a bit more of what is going on. He must have seen or heard something that triggered his wish to see his mom. I hope it gets better soon for all of you. Hugs.

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    Posted by Polysyllabic Profundities | June 19, 2013, 7:25 am
  5. When I was married, my kids loved their great nan. She left our house one day, and went to the hospital because she had pains in her back. We had a phone call the following morning that she had died during the night.

    After that, my son thought that every time I walked out the door, I was going to die, and he wouldn’t stop screaming. It went one for a week or so until he realised that I came back every time.

    What I am trying to say is, when he sees your SToBex, (Soon To Be ex) and realises that she is not just a voice on the telephone and that he will see her again, I am hopeful that it will calm down

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    Posted by Alastair | June 19, 2013, 7:43 am
  6. i really don’t know what to say. I hope it is just a one off.

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    Posted by fibee5 | June 19, 2013, 7:52 am
  7. ((Twindaddy)). So sorry for you and baby C.

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    Posted by 1jaded1 | June 19, 2013, 8:02 am
  8. I’m afraid I haven’t any words of comfort, save these: continue to love and support Baby C and all will be well in time. Honest effort born of love never fails.

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    Posted by The Hook | June 19, 2013, 8:16 am
  9. You aced this episode, bud, and you’re a great dad. There might be more episodes, but now you have a model for it. Routines are great for kids, but when unpredictability is the routine (in some areas), they simply have to adapt. He will, and he’ll be all right.

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    Posted by BrainRants | June 19, 2013, 10:59 am
  10. Sending you love and hugs. And still praying. Xx

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    Posted by faithhopechocolate | June 19, 2013, 1:44 pm
  11. I don’t have kids, but my BFF has 3 boys. Her littlest one is 18 months. When she puts him to bed, she lays there with him until he falls asleep. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes he’s out like a light. While he now can’t fall asleep without her, she had to start that process when he was doing what baby c did (every night though). Pros and cons yes, but it worked for her to get her little one to stop wailing at night.

    When I babysit my friends little ones and they start crying like that for missing mom, I bring them out to the sofa with me, lay down with them and sing a lullaby.

    My BFF text me this to tell you: I find that kids, just want love and comfort when the lights go out. Something about the lights going out, life becomes real for them. Baby c may or may not know what’s going on, maybe it was just a one off, maybe he cries like that when you’re not there? Either way, your friend sounds like a great dad.

    TD, love and hugs.

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    Posted by Lady Lovely | June 19, 2013, 2:56 pm
    • Well, from what I understand he sleeps in bed with his mother every night so I’m not sure if that’s part of the problem or not. I don’t ever (normally) have a problem with him crying like that once he’s in his bed. I’m hoping it was just a one time thing, but we’ll find out tonight.

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      Posted by twindaddy | June 19, 2013, 3:14 pm
  12. Kids sense so much – we want to protect them but they are observant – I wish you the best – just be there and hold him and don’t say bad things about his mom to him- I think that’s important – he has to feel good about loving both his parents.

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    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | June 19, 2013, 3:01 pm
  13. Ugh, you stabbed my heart with this one. He probably just misses them & is slowly beginning to understand a lot more.
    Honestly, nothing helps except time. In time he could eventually accept things as the norm.
    I feel for you.

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    Posted by DaydreamsinWonderland | June 19, 2013, 4:28 pm
  14. Fingers crossed that tonight is not a repeat. :-/ I’m sorry I don’t have any words of wisdom to impart, no tip or trick to help calm baby C down and sleep without the wailing.

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    Posted by djmatticus | June 19, 2013, 4:39 pm
  15. Sorry you all have to go through that. :(

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    Posted by goldfish | June 19, 2013, 4:43 pm
  16. You’re an awesome Dad, I have stories I could tell you of what happened to me if I cried in my crib, they’re not good. You showed your son, that it was safe to be upset, and that you were there to love and comfort him. That’s a gift to him beyond words. He may have other moments but he’ll know you’re there to dry his tears and love on him. :)

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    Posted by behindthemaskofabuse | June 19, 2013, 9:18 pm
  17. Hope it was just a one off for you – sounds heart breaking to go through that with Baby C

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    Posted by Daile | June 20, 2013, 2:16 am
  18. I don’t really know if I can add anything to what has already been said, but it sounds like you handled it really well. Two year olds start to test boundaries so it could just have been that. Sending you a virtual hug.

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    Posted by kirstenhwhyte | June 20, 2013, 5:33 am
  19. I’m so sorry, Twindaddy. I really hope he’s all better now. Lots of hugs for you both. (naked for you. bear hugs for him)

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    Posted by MissFourEyes | June 20, 2013, 8:13 am
  20. I meant to comment on this yesterday and got distracted by something shiny, so my apologies. I’m so sorry, this night sounded awful, and my guts wrenched for you. I hope you’re both feeling better now, and that this was just a one-time thing. Hugs.

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    Posted by RFL | June 20, 2013, 10:07 am
  21. Even kids who aren’t going through upheaval have times like these. The twins always had each other to help. But Baby C would do some variation on this even without the breakup.

    Still he is a very lucky little guy who has an awesome dad. And you are a very lucky guy to have three terrific kids.

    Like this

    Posted by Elyse | June 20, 2013, 2:58 pm

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