P.S. One more thing for the night…. the other day, spurred by a camp scholarship application a conversation came up with my boys about separation and divorce and I said, "You might not even realize that Daddy and I aren't actually divorced, but still only separated." NO said he knew. I followed up saying that the divorce would likely be final this month. MC who was sitting on my lap at the time chimed in without missing a beat, "unless you decide not to." We talked about that a little. I tried to validate and honor his feelings (as much as he would even admit to having any), while still disabusing him of any notion that there would be a change of heart. I was surprised a little, because even though I know better, he's the one who always acts like this doesn't matter to him. I asked him about that at the time. He indicated that he did care and then he said a couple of other incoherent things and the conversation ended. Incoherent not because he was too quiet, but because his words didn't form meaningful sentences. And yet I think his tangled thoughts spoke volumes. He DOES care about all this. It's just so big and amorphous and tangled up in his brain he doesn't know what to think and doesn't know how to identify his feelings about it.
P.P.S. NO had to do a research project and speech on a famous person. He chose Einstein. I guess I hadn't realized that Einstein, brilliant genius of a man that he was, was a real schmuck of a partner. He fathered an illegitimate child with his first wife. Made a list of obnoxious rules for his wife. Left her for his cousin. Cheated on both of them repeatedly. I ran across all this information while helping NO gather information for his speech. We didn't go into much conversation about all this. We summed it up in his 1st person speech by saying (in regards to Einstein's first marriage): "We weren't really a good fit. I guess I wasn't a very good husband in some ways." We kept our conversation about the topic very specific to Einstein and didn't veer into generalities. I can't help but wonder if he has made the connection or not. I wish he would just out and ask the question, "did Daddy have an affair." If he asked the question I would answer it. I won't lead him to the question. I intentionally tried to keep us in safe territory while discussing Einstein. But it drives me crazy to not know whether or not he suspects. Not sure why it matters. I don't want to burden him with the truth, but I want him to have an emotional response to information such as Einstein was a philanderer. If not about his father, just about developing a moral compass about right and wrong. In fact I almost feel like I have to avoid conversations that potentially touch on adultery just because they might lead him to ask the painful questions and how do I teach my child that I am passionately opposed to such behavior while not making him feel crappy about his father? So long as it doesn't come up I don't have to deal with it, but not dealing with it feels like avoidance. I don't mean our story in particular, but the topic in general.