Calder was a mess when I dropped him off at school this morning -- crying, clinging to me, asking to go home, begging for his daddy. Despite my recognition that this behavior is probably going to be part of the process, and is likely to continue for some time, it still rips my heart out each time I witness it. His teachers all give me that knowing glance and do their best to usher him in to the classroom, where he ultimately settles down to the serious business of preschool, but they’ve also let me know that he often requires time away from the learning and playing so that he can sit with an adult in the corner and just be hugged. That I’m not the one there to do the hugging is difficult for me, even though his teachers are wonderful and highly qualified to comfort him.
Matt hates to hear me say this, but I just can’t see how this is in his best interests. I know, I know, there are hundreds, thousands, even, of children going through separation, divorce, etc. In some cases, it probably IS the best thing for the children. Violence, abandonment, sexual abuse, abuse of drugs and alcohol -- fine. Get the kids to a safe place where they can have a happy life. But Calder, man, he HAD a safe life. He had two parents who not only loved him to pieces, but who lived in the same house as him; who were there for him whenever he wanted them to be, with a child-friendly predictable schedule. Weekends with his parents and his dogs. His red shirt hanging in his closet when he wants it, rather than at the “other house.” His stuffed animals waiting for him in bed at night, not at daddy’s house where they lay, forgotten in the transport suitcase. Three-year olds aren’t supposed to have suitcases -- unless they’re on their way to visit grandparents in sunny places. I feel helpless to save his childhood. I want to be strong and to know that we’ll all get through this, but on days when I have to watch the love and light of my life cry and wail for something he wants so badly but can’t have because of adult emotion, it makes me want to scream.