They say that two is better than one. I sometimes agree… two beers after a long day taste better than just one. A two song encore is better than the stage going dark after only one. A two day trip home to Ohio is better than a one-day cameo any day. But in other areas, I love one. Who wouldn’t prefer a one-hour layover over two? I love being in a meaningful relationship with one person much more than dating two men. And as much as I love happy hour with a couple of girlfriends, I revel in lengthy phone conversations with that one friend who is perfect for you in that moment of need.
Sometimes, there are circumstances in life where one becomes two and while you may have always known, as I did in my situation, it was a possibility, knowledge doesn’t always appropriately prepare you for impact. Our transition to life in CT at the end of last summer was refreshingly smooth at its onset. Sam seemed to easily gel to life in two houses. In the beginning only I really struggled, but my own circumstances changed in the winter and that led to me not only relaxing and easing into our separations, but (gasp!) enjoying the adult time I was growing accustomed to. Yes, I felt guilty about this. But the guilt didn’t come from anyone telling me I should feel guilty because I was enjoying my life, but in evidence revealing that Sam’s adjustment to two houses was going in the opposite direction. Instead of becoming more comfortable with life lived in both Shelton and Milford, the confusion grew. The resistance grew. And it’s growing. And I am clueless here. I am heartbroken to hear a little voice that says from the backseat, “I don’t want to go to Daddy’s house anymore. I want to be with you all the time.” I am totally down with the fact that I’m dealing with a 3 year-old whose opinions and feelings change like the weather. Regardless, he struggles to understand that no, I’m not going to be at Daddy’s house when he gets there after school on Tuesday. Or this coming weekend when his nana is in for a visit. I am the biggest cheerleader I can be – I tell him how awesome it will be to spend time with his sister and his new kitty. I remind him of the super cool swing-set waiting for him in the backyard. And I tell him that Daddy and only Daddy can magically throw a ball on the roof and have the roof ghost throw it back to him. It settles… for 5 minutes and then it’s repeated – “Mommy, can you come to Daddy’s house?”
There are books. There are message boards. There are articles and Facebook posts by others who’ve gone through similar things. But in the end, you are trying to create a seamless transition for a person too small to understand anything more than that they are no longer with their mom every day and in those every day days that spanned his first two and a half years, Sam and Mommy went through so much together. RSV and bronchiolitis hospitalizations and roseola outbreaks. Milk allergies with exploding diapers. First steps, haircuts and that time he propelled himself out of his crib but somehow landed square on his butt. A plastic swimming pool in the little backyard for hot afternoons followed by a walk over a hill to the best playground a little boy could ask for. Sunday drives to Papa and Bebe’s house for donuts and playtime with cousins. Thursday night dinners and wine nights with our friends. It was two and half years of just Sam and Mommy. It’s quite possible that I am trying to hang onto that life more for my own sake than his because it was so good. It was challenging but cathartic because it showed me I was capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. Making this huge move has still shown me that I have strength, but it has also shown me how little I can really control and that’s probably why I am struggling with this. I don’t know the answers. I don’t know how to make him feel more comfortable. I can only promise him that we will, even in two homes, find our way, baby boy…
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke