Kiddo’s Got a Way with Words

I got a phonecall from my exhusband last night. It was his night with the girls and he’d had a long conversation with our seven-year-old, Kiddo, that he thought he should talk to me about.

Basically, the gist of the story is that she’s feeling a lot of hurt and sadness over the fact that her dad and I are no longer together.

It’s been nearly two years now since we split up. The girls were both great through the entire thing. In the last couple of years they haven’t really talked about being hurt or upset about the separation. I blindly assumed that they were taking it all in stride and doing okay. Small things have come up recently, particularly a recent conversation with LittleMo, that have caused me to consider otherwise.

The conversation that Kiddo had with her dad was heartbreaking. She told him that her sadness over our breakup was what powered all of the other hurts in her life. She said that it was the worst hurt that she’s ever experienced and that her fantasy is that he and I will get back together.

Ouch.

This morning I had the opportunity to talk with her about it more. I did my best to explain, in ways that she could understand, why her dad and I ended our marriage. I reassured her that we both loved her. I told her that he and I were doing our best to be friends with each other, so that we could spend time together, now and again as a family.

One of the things that I talked to her about was that there were things that I needed to learn how to do on my own – things that I wasn’t able to do when I was with her dad. The big one was loving myself. I explained to her that I used to count on other people to love me so much that I had no idea how to love myself. I told her that loving yourself is the most important thing that you can do in this life…because you can’t love other people properly unless you can love yourself first.

She got very thoughtful for a moment. Then she smiled sweetly and said, “Well, I love you, Mommy. And I’ll always love you. You’re like the stink on my feet….you’ll always be with me.”

It was just what we needed to break the intensity of the moment. Laughing at her comment, I grabbed that kid in the biggest hug that I could possibly give her.

I am so fortunate to have my girls.

While the conversation was difficult and heartbreaking, it was very, very necessary. I need to know when they’re hurting…and most of all, I need for them to be able to talk about it when they are. I’m not always going to have all the answers when it comes to them, this I know. The only thing that I can do is love them the best that I can, listen when they’re hurting, and be the best person that I can be. That’s all any of us can do, isn’t it?

8 Responses

  1. Wow, that is a precocious seven-year-old, being able to express herself so clearly and come up with a great quip like that. She sounds like a great kid!

  2. You definitely cannot assume they are OK. If you have a significant other in your life that your kids know about this could be the cause of her worry. Things were OK with my kids too until their dad moved in with his girlfriend. My 11 year old had the worst 6 months of her life and mine. Crying, sobbing about going there and being really mad at her dad. I think it was the final nail of closure for her and it set her off. She did ‘settle down’ and seemed to be doing and then They broke up (yep, he’s a smart guy to drag the kids through his relationships). She is better now but I am so open and frequently asking them how their feelings and so on…. Good luck. Your daughter sounds strong and well-spoken. 🙂

    • Barb, I do have a significant other, but he is not new to the picture at all.

      I think part of what is going on has to do with the fact that in the last couple of months, my ex and I have been making amends and attempting to heal past hurts. Where we were “all business” for the last almost two years, in the last several months we have been warm and friendly with one another, and we have been spending time all together as a family again. I think that this might be triggering some emotions in both of my girls.

      In any case, the lines of communication are open and their dad and I both plan on checking in with them regularly to make sure that they’re talking about what’s on their minds.

  3. I’m so glad that the ex and you are able to openly allow your children to express themselves. And it sounds like you explained it very well.

    The stink on my feet. Now that’s a great line!

  4. It is awesome that you are all open to talk about all of the feelings that life can bring out.

  5. Wow, that had to have been a hard talk for you. Maybe your girls, ex-husband, and you all ought to sit down every 6 months or so and talk about were you guys are in life and how everyone is feeling about it? Just a suggestion. I haven’t been aced with those kiddo emotions yet as a single mommy. Good luck to you and your family.

  6. All kids are different, and you are lucky to have ones that are open about their feelings. When my husband was sick and dying, my oldest daughter (7 at the time) would be all rainbows and butterflies. We all took advantage of the social work at the hospital to deal with all those emotions. My oldest daughter was very candid with the social worker about her feelings, when she cries, and how she hid it from me because i was “hurting enough”. What a sweet kid. Even though I asked her to talk to me, I realized the best thing I could do, was to offer her SOMEONE to talk to. It has been nearly 2 years since her father’s death, she is a very happy child, who still talks to 3rd party “listeners”. The important thing is that I am very aware of her attitude, and emotions to determine when she needs a hug and a walk down memory lane…
    Kids are resilient, but separation, loss, etc is never a cakewalk for them!
    Keep them talking!

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