So I took the kids to the park yesterday and as Z went off on the slide, little E and I had our “conversation”
The whole “Why doesn’t Dad live with us?” question that he had asked me earlier in the day… I thought I had mentally prepped my answer, thought it through, and I thought I was ready to handle it in a way a 6-year-old would understand, without many follow-up questions.
I thought wrong.
We sat on a park bench and I told him that dad used to live with us and asked him if he remembers living in Kenya with him. He said oh yeah. I went on explaining that something happened between mom and dad, where dads imagination/brain made him think he was in danger a lot and at that time, his mind told him that mom was a bad person, so he hurt mom. So I made the choice that even though at the time I loved dad, I had to make sure you little E and Z, plus myself, were going to be ok. Because I didn’t know if dads mind was going to think up any other silly things that might hurt anyone else. So I took you, little E and Z and we moved out of the house where dad was, and back to Canada to live with Nanna and Nonno.
I wanted to make sure everyone was safe. And now, like I’ve told you before, dad takes medicine to help his voices go away, so he’s not scared anymore. But the medicine also makes him very tired. Which is why when he visits you and Z, he just likes to sit there and doesn’t talk much or have the energy to play with you.
This whole time little E was taking it all in and asking a few questions here and there, but then he asked this ‘how did you disobey?’
It occurred to me that little E STILL remembers what happened to me (he was unfortunately in the room) and also still views it as a spanking. I do spank my kids, but I don’t beat them like E did me. I think because I closely monitor what my kids watch on TV or see online etc, this was the only ‘violence’ he’d really known. So the only word he had to describe one person hitting another in any fashion, was spanking. And therefore, since I obviously don’t spank my kids for fun, he associated it with the fact that I must’ve been being disciplined for something I’d done wrong in the eyes of E. Totally reasonable though process for a 6 year old.
So I explained that (please bear with my very basic explanation, he’s 6 not 16, I had to make sure I was on his level) husbands and wives don’t have to obey each other like kids should obey their parents. Parents have to teach kids because you’re still learning and we are there to guide you. But moms and dads should be a team. Not one the boss of the other. I’m still on your team little E, but I’m coach. There’s a difference. Ok? He kinda nodded but I think he still wanted to know what I did wrong to warrant such a ‘spanking’. Probably so he could avoid that behaviour in the future and not get in such “trouble” himself.
But I reassured him that dads meds made sure that when he’s with little E and Z, he’s ok. Meanwhile my mind is screaming out a million ‘what if’s’ And reminded him that we’re doing great and having fun living in our house with just the 3 of us.
That’s when he pulled out “Maybe I’ll have another dad one day, that would live with us!” And I said yep. (and then of course the tears welled up, seriously what is wrong with me these days) One day mommy will maybe start dating a man and then get married and you and him can talk about him being your dad. Because little E, E will always be your dad, but… and then he interrupted and said ‘but then I could have two dads!’ With a big smile on his face. I said ‘one day, maybe.’
And in my head simply thought how much I wanted that for him as he joined his sister in the park.