Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mom, Did Dad Cheat on You?

Yep. Those words came out of my 9-year-old's mouth. My empathetic, older-than-his-years, "indigo child" son. 

We were driving to grab some dinner the other night. Their dad was working, and my son asked why we no longer go to the place where it all went down. He asked why Dad doesn't even want to go near it. 

"Did something bad happen there and that's why he quit?" he asked.

"Yes, pretty much" I replied.


"Did Dad cheat on you, Mom?"

The world stopped for a second. What did he just say?

It was almost like when he looked into my eyes and demanded to know the truth about Santa Claus. Only that was a question I had been preparing for. This one, not so. 

I had decided to keep the Santa thing going until he finally asked me, flat out. If he was to ask me for the truth, I was going to give it to him. Until then, I was going to carry on with the sweet fantasy to protect his innocence and keep the magic alive.

So applying that philosophy to this loaded question, what was I supposed to say? This nine-year-old who watches Full House reruns every night has a deeper understanding of compassion and human relations than many adults I know. How could I lie to him? He was asking for the truth. He can handle the truth; he's not your typical kid. 

I swore that after being betrayed and lied to by the person I trusted the most, I was going to make it my life quest to be 100% honest and truthful to myself and my loved ones. And now my child was asking for an answer to a question that could possibly change his opinion about his father forever. 

I could lie and break yet another vow - the vow I made to myself about being truthful. Or I could tell him the truth. I've been wanting to tell him since day one for selfish reasons. In the beginning, I wanted him to know so I could have another ally. I wanted my husband to feel the loss of his son's trust and respect, because my husband deserved that. My husband put my innocent child's future on the line for a stupid, useless fuck. He choose the whore, not my kids. He spent his mornings at her house, fucking her in her marriage bed when he should have been at home making pancakes for his adoring sons. But when they woke up each Saturday morning, they knew Dad was "on a bike ride."

So yeah, I wanted my son to know. I wanted his support. I knew he'd be on my team. I knew he'd protect his momma. 

Yet when he outright asked me....I dodged the question.

"What makes you ask that?" I replied after several moments of silence.

"I don't know...cuz you guys were fighting so much," he said.

"Would you be mad at Dad if he did?" I asked. (I just had to know!)


And then I changed the subject. I think we were pulling into the restaurant at that time so I was able to segway into something about dinner. But I couldn't stop thinking about it.

He knows. I know he knows. Which is why I do want to tell him. I don't want him to make this mistake with his future wife. The pattern MUST end with this generation. And he won't learn unless he knows and understands. 

Would it be more helpful to grow up knowing the truth and understanding that when your parents are fighting, there is a root cause? They say the danger in divorce is that kids think it's their fault. Would him knowing help him understand that it's not at all about him? That his family is dysfunctional because his dad fucked up royally? And then he could leave this house with nine years of knowledge, which he could then take with him and apply to his own life?

Or do we wait until he's 18 and risk it falling on deaf ears? Would it be impactful to say, "You know when you were nine and Mom was throwing patio furniture at Dad? Yeah, that's what that was all about." At that point, will he even care?

I know it's my job to protect his innocence. But sheltered kids grow up to be naive. I don't think I'd be doing him any favors if he already knows the truth and he is witnessing me being untruthful with him.

But trust me, if I choose to tell him, he will hear it from my husband. This is a man thing, and my husband is responsible for teaching my sons how to be men of honor. And if he wants me to think of  him as honorable again, he needs to man up. 
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