Once Upon a time there was a kind little girl with questions in her heart.
Once upon a time there was a mom who was ready to answers those tough questions.
I knew the day would come when Mina would begin to start asking me questions about my marriage and recent divorce with her father. She is almost 6 and I thought I had, maybe, a few more years before an in depth conversation.
I was wrong. It all bubbled to the surface last night over dinner. It was as if the thoughts and questions had been simmering and swirling in her sweet head for a long time and finally boiled over the top. With each bubble came a new question: "Mama, is it true that you asked for a divorce? Is it true that you decided that you would have sole custody of me and share with dad? If you were so in love when you got married, how come you got divorced? What happened? How did you not make each other happy? How did you dissapoint each other? What happened to the love that you once felt for each other? Now that dad is engaged, I will have a step-mom, right? Does that mean you will die like in th fairy tales? Stepmoms always come in fairy tales when the real mom dies? Please don't die, mama!"
Ok, I will answer the best I can, but first mama needs to pour herself a glass of wine.
I took each question one by one and answered as honestly as I could. As far as "how come you don't love each other", I told her that unfortunatly there is no simple answer except: life experiences change people over time. I will not get pulled into the private reasons that her father and I separated. I made a tough decision for the sake of our family, all of us, because each of us individually deserved happiness. Now that the process is over, each of us has found happiness with another partner and that has added greater happiness to my daughter's life as a whole.
I think it has been hard for her to see the people she loves most talk to each other the least and found it difficult to believe there had ever been love there. It was important to her to hear stories and memories of happier times when her father and I first met. It made her smile when I told her that he would always kiss me on the forehead while I was sleeping when he came back from work late at night. She wanted to hear the story of how we first met and what he wore the first day he and I met. It has been good and cathartic for her as well as for me to spend time talking about happy memories instead of holding on the not so nice ones. In the end, I told her that her father and I came together and created a beautiful child out of love. That was our purpose for being together. Now, he has found someone who can love him and understand him much better than I ever could. She can give him what I was not able to give him. That makes me happy. I have only ever wanted all of us to be happy, wherever and whomever that comes from. I reassured her that her new step-mom will love her and that brings me comfort. I reassured her that fairy tales are just stories written a long time ago and that I was not going anywhere. She was just gaining an extra mom and how lucky she was to have such an opportunity!
We all want to believe in a happy ending, but life is just a series of chapters in a book. We are all writing our story as we go and sometimes it is just time to begin that new chapter in our story as we search for our own happy ending.