The Most Difficult Conversation with a 10 year old: Why Daddy had to leave

Three years ago I made the decision to let go of the man I had spent 14 years building a life with. It was a decision I made over the course of two years; battling with myself and those close to me who saw the destruction the relationship was creating in my life and in my spirit. It was really awful in the end. But it's over, and I'm happier.

But my children are not.

In fact, for 3 years, my 10 year old son has been unhappy, frustrated, violent, ill-mannered. I have gone through bouts of worrying and praying, that still have not ended.

But on Monday, I made some gains.

I dropped Jordan off at basedball practice at 6pm. He struggled with his huge bag of bats, balls, gloves, and stuff. But insisted on getting to the field with all his stuff all by himself. Ok, that's usual.

At 6:30pm, Jordan called and said he was ready to be picked up from practice. . Hmmmmmmmmmm. short practice, but OK.

I picked Jordan up, but noticed that the other kids and coaches were still on the field, so I asked Jordan what the deal was. He started to cry and told me that the coach made him sit in the dugout because his attitude was bad. {This is a very familiar and long story.} I started to just nod my head and drive off, but couldn't resist digging deeper. I pulled my car into the nearest parking lot and started tallking to Jordan about what happened, and ended up insisting that he go back to the coach and give him a heartfelt apology.

Well, when you're young, and hot-headed, that's pretty much the last thing you wanna do. But I stood my ground, and I made him do it. Then, he returned to the car, stone faced and stared out the window.

I'm desperate to figure out how to get through my son, so I started asking him questions: "What's wrong?" Nothing. "Are you sad?" Yes. "Did someone hurt you?" No. "You know you can talk to me, right?" Yes. "Did someone touch you." No. "Do you need more attention?" No. "You know I love you right?" No.

OK. This is madness. I was determined to get to the root of why my sweet boy was so sad and mean right now.

I drove the remaining 1.5 minute to the house in silence. But as soon as we arrived at the house, I told Jordan to come to my room and closed the door. I sat him on the bed, forced him to look me in the eye, and asked him the question I've avoided asking for three years. "Are you sad that your Daddy is not here?"

And then it happened. He cracked. He started crying. . softy at first. . then he started to moan. . and rolled up inyp the fetal position on the floor. . moaning. . as if I had kicked him in the gut really hard.

I melted to the floor beside Jordan, picked him up in my arms, stroked his hair, held him close to me, and we cried. . for about 30 minutes. . We both cried. . Once he stopped moaning and starting sobbing, and I had caught my breath enough to complete a sentence, I asked my 10 year old if I could talk to him like a big boy.

When he agreed, I told him the best way I knew how that me and his dad were really sad when we were together. He was a good boy, and had nothing to do with our decision to part ways. And that we were sad that we couldn't make things work just for him, because we loved him SO much, but we couldn't. And that sometimes, I'm sad that his dad is not there, too.

That discussion took so much out of me. It was so hard to hear in my child's voice the pain our decision had caused him. This was the opposite of what I wanted to accomplish by the split. I hoped and prayed that we split in time to protect our kids from the hurt, sadness, and meanness that we were wrapped up in at the end. But it appears that I failed.

After I gave Jordan the big boy talk, I asked him if it would be OK if he, me and his Dad sat down this week and talked through what we could do to make his life better. And he smiled. He smiled! This child who had not really smiled from ANYTHING I had said for 3 years, looked at me with tears in his eyes and the most genuine smile I had ever seen. . Again, I cried because in that smile I felt joy.

I called The Ex, and I told him about my convo with Jordan, and he's a good Dad, so he said all the right things. I'm going to continue to pray - I'll never stop. And now I already feel like God has started changing things for the best. I feel like I've gotten my son back.

Jordan didn't just smile when I told him about the Big Boy talk we would have with his dad, he's been smiling ever since. He's 10. I know he will not hold on to this smile for much longer. But God got me through the most difficult conversation you can have with a 10 year old boy: why daddy had to leave, and I know he won't fail me now.

Thank you Jesus!

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Tags: 10, big, boy, daddy, had, leave, old, talk, to, year

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Comment by Susan Kimber-Skeete on November 20, 2012 at 11:15pm

The timing of your talk with Jordan was meant to be. It was in God's time.


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