Nora left me an extremely nice comment right here saying that my kids will recover from whatever negative effect my divorce could have on them. My reply to her took some form of pros-and-cons analysis, but it went on and on, I though I better put it here since here is where I think out loud. I just reread it right now and realized it got much longer here!
This is what it would have been like if I had stayed in that marriage:
I would have never been a happy person. I have tried to put up with resenting him for two years after he first started having some sort of a girlfriend during his MBA, during my not so easy pregnancy with beano. In some sense, my lack of trust or tolerance made it easier for him to look for someone who would listen to him and tell him he’s right, even if it was just pretenses and lies. At least I know he will forever blame me for that.
Two extremely unhappy parents. That was what we offered. We would have always found reasons to disagree and fight for we have lost the reasons that brought us together. I loved him for the strong protective and loving man I thought he was, I had blind faith in him and I willingly compromised a lot to please him. He loved that naïve little girl who saw the world in him and yet somehow managed to be the mother he never had and always acknowledged he deserved nothing but the best. After his first incident, he was someone I could no longer trust, and I was the doubtful wife who always questioned his actions silently yet gave him accusing looks from time to time. Yeah, I realize men can’t handle that. Humans can’t handle that.
This would have resulted in a miserable mother, who is always crying when he’s not home, who is too busy to even notice her kids’ needs because she’s too absorbed in her own self-pity. A mother who would made her kids resent the father even if she doesn’t do it on purpose.
Him, he would have come home every day (like he did), too tired and exhausted to spend anytime with those two. He would shout and ask for some quiet so that he can sleep and on weekends he would be too busy figuring out ways to skip home.
We did that for a short period of time thank God. I will never forget the look on beano’s face whenever he saw me crying the way I did and kept patting me, the way he freaked out when he first saw us yelling at one another and me falling on the floor and not being able to stand up again. I will never forget the first day after he arrived from that business trip and started yelling at beano for getting his stuff out of the suitcase, worrying that it would make me notice something I was not supposed to see, the way beano cried, yet held on to his daddy because he missed him.
Every time I think of those two particular incidents, I am filled with hate towards him. It breaks my heart to remember how cruel he was to the two of us because it was the only way he could deal with his guilt, before he started making up lies and believing them. I am thankful my son shall not remember those days. Sometimes when I feel I am up to it, I over compensate by showing him photos of him and his daddy in the carrousel or in the pool or just having fun at home like they briefly did.
We would have earned the Worst Parents Award if we had stayed. I already think mocha is too restless and jittery because I was that tense during pregnancy. I am not even sure whether it’s good or bad that Mocha has zero recollection of his dad whatsoever. Not even a photo!
This is what my kids have now instead of a father:
An amazingly loving and adoring grand father, aka daDDoo. The way my father’s face lightens every time he’s playing with beano makes up for a lot. The way my father looks and sounds happy when mocha smiles at him is just priceless! Yes, he’s not that much of an authority figure anymore, not the way he was with us at least, but he does give beano the I-mean-business stare from time to time. I am wondering though, is it ok that my son is starting to refer to my dad as baba instead of daddoo? I think he’s copycatting us when we call him that.
The cutest and coolest aunties, Maat (aka aGGaa) and Goody (aka GoGo). Maat seats beano on her lap as she uses her laptop and plays the songs he likes. She holds mocha and moves as if they’re dancing as she sings to him. Goody lets beano listen to her mp3 player and teaches him new words every day, and sometimes even lets him play with her hair when he feels like it. She also keeps mocha’s company and takes photos of him as he crawls around and keeps telling him he has the most beautiful eyes, which she believes are hers.
One kind, yet somehow crazy grand mother, aka naNNa. Yeah, she adores them, despite all the loud yelling and whining; she loves them way too much. She would defend beano when I start giving him hard time, and try to explain to him how to behave, yet doesn’t get hurt when he shoos her away or gives her an angry dismissive “na2aa”. She would take care of mocha all day long and do her best to feed him and tolerate it when he insists on wiping his mouth on her shoulder, and I think this one appreciates her, for he gives her his warmest and most beautiful smile when he sees her walking by.
Moi, aka maMMa. I feel so small trying to think of my role. I love it when beano runs to my arms and I hold him so tight and sometimes even twirl, he pats me on the shoulder and kisses me on the cheek when he’s grateful. I ask him “meen habib mama?” he says “boMMba” and I kiss him. When he keeps nagging about something and I am too tired to do it, sometimes I lose my cool, but I make sure I make it up to him. When I start yelling at him for pulling my hair so hard when I am headachy, I hold him afterwards and try to explain that it hurts me too much when pulls my hair. I hold mocha as much as I can, sometimes he hugs back and my heart just melts. I play with him and tickle him and make him spend as much time laughing as I can to make up for all the crying he had to put with while in my womb. I wish I could do more. I wish I could control my temper and not lose it the way I do from time to time. I attend lectures on parenting, how to manage and release stress properly, and how to help kids express themselves so that I can be a better mom. People tell me it’s a good start, but I think they give me too much credit.
There are those other family members and friends that my beano recognizes and loves…
Brrrr; this is how he refers to my Uncle G, because of the sound he makes while they play together. He recognizes the brand of the car he drives and whenever he sees it he points at it and says “brrrr”
Maaa, my cousin’s adorable wife whom beano just adores, basically because he has an eye for pretty ladies and because she is way too nice to him and brought him colorful blocks that he now refers to as “kAAb” (I have no idea why)… whenever asked “who brought you those?”, he’d say “Maaa”
Oaaa, yeah Ola, he did say your name once or twice when I asked him who bought him the goungoun (ball) and the aanaan (car), I ask him “u like Ola?”, he nods :)
Heeeba, one of my best friends, who now he mentions her name whenever he sees us getting ready to go out and say “Heeeba, baaaaye??” I tell him “no, we’re not seeing Heeba today” he says “Heeba, aaanaan” as to say he wants to ride in her car, which he also recognizes its brand now!
He happens to recognize D’s photo over facebook and kisses it when he sees it. She’s surprised he knows her at all for he totally ignored her back before she left the country!
Let’s not forget…
The big 3ann3ann. My dad’s driver, who taught my son the whole aanaan concept; now every car or motorcycle is aanaan, and so is the guy.
Daaadaaa, the maid who slacks around the house because she’s busy playing goungoun (football) with him, which makes naNNA go kookoo.
I think missing a father who wouldn’t even bother stopping by to check on them is not something to miss having. I don’t mean to trash him. As a matter of fact I know that one day he might come to his senses and realize how much he lost for not taking the time to bond with them. However, I don’t feel that sorry for him anymore.
The little voice in my head just worries about the time when my kids are around 6 or whatever age kids realize other children have daddies while they don’t! I am leaving whatever answer I shall give them to then; perhaps then, he would be involved, not that I am counting much on it.
I had no idea it would be that long! I should do word count from now on.