LDT: A long time ago, I realized that my boys never mentioned their mother. When I realized this, I immediately decided it was because I wasn’t allowing them the space to mention her. So I went to them and I asked them…don’t you ever think about your mommy? When they said yes, I asked them why they never mention her…and to that they smiled and looked at me.
With the air cleared, periodically, they will mention their mother. In truth, my youngest mentions his mother and my oldest just listens. I think that is because my oldest was old enough to realize a lot of what was going on with her while my youngest still has this fantasy based sense of his mother.
To help them, sometimes I ask them things like:
- What color is mommy’s hair?
- Is mommy tall or short?
- What languages does mommy speak?
I try to ask them as many questions as I can answer about their mommy in an attempt to keep her likeness fresh in their mind.
At any rate, we were just walking together recently and out of the blue my youngest said “I haven’t talked to my Mommy in a long time” and it caught me off guard.
I told him he was right…it had been a long time. He asked why and I told him he’d have to ask her that. I told him that our telephone number is still working and it hasn’t changed and I don’t know why she hasn’t called. He asked me if I had her number and I told him that the last time I tried her number it didn’t work and that perhaps she changed it and didn’t tell us.
That isn’t exactly all true…The truth is, the last time I spoke with her I told her that if she wasn’t going to call them consistently, that she needed to stop calling. That the one call a month, the missing their birthdays, the not sending them a Christmas present, the not calling them on Christmas, Halloween or any other child-centered holiday was simply not acceptable. I told her that I was tired of the look of disappointment on their faces when she was supposed to call and didn’t. That I was not going to cover for her any longer. I reminded her that one day when they are older it will be she, not me, that has to explain to them why they are so estranged from her.
I must admit that I like that she hasn’t called though I am constantly conflicted over whether I made the best decision by putting my foot down on the issue. Without her periodic calling I feel like my boys have less disappointment, they are more stable and the emotional regression (i.e. behavior problems at school) they experience after talking to her evaporates. I feel like they are able to turn and face the life they are building and the activities they are engaging in without having to be pulled back into the turmoil of their younger lives.
But still I wonder…