When he was 9, he made a decision that altered the face of our reality.
He pulled up a seat, his legs barely long enough to rest his little feet on the patio stone. “Mommy,” he said, “I want to talk.”
And his Dad was there with him. And I knew what was coming. My arms were crossed in front of my chest. And I’d look at him, then away. I’d scowl inwardly, and tears stung and threatened to explode down my cheeks.
“You can ask me anything,” I said to him.
I was so hurt. And angry. And upset. And I was all these things because I knew before he asked, and I knew why he was going to. I knew that his bond with his father was stronger than any two humans could be connected. I knew that he was squashed between two sisters on my side. I knew, I just knew.
I didn’t even ask why.
And I bargained, and negotiated. I said, let’s phase our current arrangement to one that sees him naturally evolve to living with you full time. And I cried that night, and every night for the next few weeks. And I went on to hold him too tight. Love harder. Squeeze him like I’d never see him again, even though he’d still be in the same region, and available as often and as much as I wanted to see him.
But it didn’t feel like enough. If I could have had it my way, we would have sawed that child in half like Solomon with a sword.
As the years passed, I was further validated that supporting him making the decision to shift his primary residence with his father was exactly what he needed to do. And it made sense. He went on to make friends in his new neighbourhood, and his new school. And I saw him often, though not daily, and I called him and picked him up, and loved him as hard as I ever did. And he thrived. With his father, and his stepmother, and his baby brother. He thrived.
In the critical end game of his high school years, he’s elected to try his hand with me again. He’s opted to see how he’d fare in Kingston. With new friends, and a new life. A new school. New opportunities. And because his father and I love him till the ends of the earth, we’re always supportive of him; his ideas and decisions. We’ve grown a young man who feels competent to make difficult decisions. I really, truly believe it was because we supported him through that moment when he was child that he has become a confident teenager. And I am so proud of him.
And he’ll be there back home with his other family as often as he can. And I’ll learn how to do this all over again.
— c ☆