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My Son & My Divorce

Photograph by Getty Images

When my marriage became unbearable, I decided to pull the cord out of the socket as quickly as possible. Even though my son was was still a baby, I did not want him to spend any more days mired in the codependent quicksand. I told myself to rip the bandage off as quickly as possible so that we would all hurt less.

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My hopes seemed logical. The environment was unhealthy. I did not want Lexington to experience the horror of having the two people that you love the most rip each other apart. If I separated just after my son’s first birthday, we would have at least one photo where we were a happy trio. I also hoped that maybe, just maybe, my son would only remember mom and dad as individuals. Perhaps he would not even know that we were a family.

Seven years later my son weeps for his father. Not daily, but frequently enough to prove that all my best intentions were just worthless hopes.

A few times a year, Lexington’s dad flies to Los Angeles. I drive the hour down and drop our son off at a hotel so they can spend the weekend together. They ride buses and trains. They read and get haircuts and eat. And then it's done.

I told him that loving and missing his dad is normal.

This last time when I went to pick up my son, no sooner had I pulled out of the driveway of my ex’s hotel than he started crying. I wanted to pull over and hug him for 20 minutes. But I was hosting my work holiday party, and I had to push through. I allowed him to get McDonald’s for the first time in years. After the joy of a salty fry wore off, he cried for another 10 minutes.

I told him that loving and missing his dad is normal; passed him napkins, tried not to cry, myself, and drove. Finally, he fell asleep. When we went into the house, he started to sob some more. I calmed him down and considered skipping the holiday party. I went, came home and found Lexington sleeping like a baby.

The following morning, I heard the stream of urine from the kids’ bathroom, a toilet flush and a sob. My sweet boy had literally woken up crying.

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We spent a couple of hours in and out of grief. Lexington told me, “It’s getting harder and harder to leave him. It breaks my heart.” Even though he does not remember the three of us as a unit, he knows that a piece of him is always missing. And that breaks my heart, at any age.

Logic does not heal a broken heart in a divorce. I really don't know what does.

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