There was no right time to do it. We decided to wait a few days –after a party, school, and other commitments that got in the way. Looking at my soon to be ex-husband for support, I sat our daughter down and took a deep breath, knowing that I was about to shatter her entire world.
I had gone to the library and looked for whatever resources that I could find about breaking the news to a six-year-old that her parents were getting a divorce. The selection was woefully inadequate. Well, I guess any books would’ve been woefully inadequate at this point. I felt my voice shake as I grabbed her and hugged her tightly, praying that I could find the right words.
“You know how your friend’s mommy and daddy don’t live together anymore because they are divorced? Well, Mama and Baba are also getting a divorce…”
I watched it hit her as tears filled her beautiful eyes and all she could do was wrap her little arms around my neck. I felt her hot tears roll down my neck as she kept repeating, “No, no, no, no…” I look over at my ex who just sat there with tears rolling down his face. I felt what was left of my already shattered heart breaking into a million more pieces. I asked her if I could read her a book I found in the library that talked about divorce. She sniffed and nodded. I sighed a little sigh of relief, happy to have something to say and do that was scripted for a few minutes. When I finished the story, my ex still hadn’t said a word. My daughter asked some questions about where we would live, who she would live with, how life would look. I did my best to answer her questions and reassured her that we would always love her no matter what. As I wiped away her tears and kissed her, she jumped off my lap and asked if she could go play at her friend’s house. I sent her on her way for the last vestiges of normalcy as she knew it.
We took her to a family therapist a few weeks later –just in case. But thankfully, aside from a few blips, she’s shown to be a resilient little girl. Almost a year and a half later, I still shudder thinking about that moment.
I know some couples that have stayed together and not divorced, unhappily for years and years, “for the sake of the children.” But as difficult as telling her that her life as she knew it was going to be irrevocably changed, it would’ve been more difficult to live the rest of my life as it was and raise her in an environment of sadness, distrust and bitterness. I’m happy to say that she is a normal, healthy, fun and smart eight-year-old today with no signs of emotional trauma (thank GOD!), and her Mama is happy and healthy as well. Together, we’ll take on the world.