Not enough sorry in the whole entire universe

Wednesday nights the big kids sleep over at their dad’s, so it’s just me and Willow here after she’s back from dinner with her dad.  She’s got afternoon kindergarten and I work at home on Thursdays, so we sleep in and cuddle in my bed and talk during the time that we’re usually busting ass to get out the door on time.  Today she wanted to go to her before school daycare to see her friends.  She was listening to her iPod and I was putting her hair in pigtails, and she started to cry.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said that I was knocking her headphones off.  I told her to just hold them over her ears and that I’d work around them.  She stood there with her mouth quivering and big tears running down her face. I brushed her teeth for her and she was still crying.  I got on my knees and hugged her and she kept on crying, not making any noise.   

I picked her up and brought her over to the couch and sat her on my lap, facing me.  You’re so sad, I said.  Do you know what is making all those tears come?  She shook her head yes, but didn’t talk.  Would you like to tell me? I asked her.  Sometimes, if you just say what’s making you sad, it makes you feel a little bit better. 

She just looked at me, and the tears kept coming.   

I held her for awhile, wiping her tears away, helping her blow her nose.  Will you turn off your music and talk to me?  She nodded and took off one side of the headphones and turned off the Last Unicorn soundtrack she’d been listening to. 

I want to help you, Willow, I said.  Will you tell me what’s making you so sad?

You yelled at me, she whispered, so small.  While you were brushing my hair. 

I held her little face between my hands.  I am so sorry, I said.  I didn’t want to yell.  I wasn’t mad.  I just wanted you to hear me over your music.  I’m not mad, okay?  I love you.

She shook her head yes and melted right into me, her wet cheek on my collarbone.  I ran my hand over her back and hugged her close.  And as I sat there, barely holding it together, all I could think of was how the conversation we’d just had was such a false one.  Really she is sad that her daddy moved out.  Really I wasn’t apologizing for yelling without meaning to; I was apologizing for breaking her heart to try and save my own. But she’s too little and it’s all still too tender to even put into words. 

We got in the car, Willow still teary.  I took her to daycare, and she clung to me for a little bit.  I sat on the floor next to her at a tiny table as she put cotton stuffing into a tiny little felt shark body.  This is so cool, I told her, you get to make a stuffed animal and it’s a shark.  How awesome.  She put it down and looked right at me.  I need your help, mom, she said.  I know you do, baby, I said.  I put my hand over hers and helped her use her popsicle stick to put the stuffing in the shark’s tail. 

I left her there, head bent over her work, totally concentrating.  I walked out the door into the beautiful blue sky fall day, put on my sunglasses as I walked down the steps, and picked up the silent crying where she’d left off. 

I know that I’ve made the right decision for me.  I don’t know if it was right for Willow.  All I know is that my heart keeps breaking and breaking and breaking, and I don’t know how to make it stop.      

17 thoughts on “Not enough sorry in the whole entire universe

  1. furiousball

    this world seems to be strung together by broken hearts. and that’s not to belittle your own pain, just to let you know there’s others out here. think of the hurt i carry every day after the night before i couldn’t get my son or daughter on the phone. i wonder if they hate me for that. all i have is the sound of their voices most days. it’s not enough.

  2. jenijen

    Hey Van, I know you aren’t belittling what I’m going through, and you already know that I wish things were different for you. You’re a kick-ass dad. They don’t hate you.

    Gwendomama — I loves you, too. You are right.

    Mamadaisy — thanks so much. I think we are okay. I should probably quit crying before I start posting about shit.

  3. Ashley

    You’re doing it now. You’re doing what needs to be done—taking care of yourself so you can take care of them. You are a positive example, even if you are stressed, OK? They will look back at you and say, “My mom worked! And raised us all! And loved us SOOO much that she cried when she dropped us off at daycare. And cried because she wanted us to be happy!

    You’re an AWESOME mom. Really.

  4. Mir

    It gets easier. For all of you. And you do have to save yourself to do right by your kids — I believe that down to my core.

    It gets easier.

  5. jenB

    You know you did the right thing, but that is a heartbreak for sure. I am tearing up right now with you and Willow. You are strong and amazing.


  6. jennyalice

    You are a thought-ful person who doesn’t walk past a serious thing without thinking it through.

    You are all going to be okay. You are strong and smart and full of love.

    love to you-

  7. Melissa P.

    Little Willow is breaking my heart from just reading this post. OMG
    I hope things become easier for your family soon.

  8. dana

    this reallly struck a chord with me. i also had to break my kids’ hearts to save my own and it’s hard that i moved them away from their father, but it would have been harder for me to stay. i was literally coming unglued mentally.
    i know you’re a fan of Van’s (i’m the ex) but sometimes I wish I could send a broadcast email to his readers explaining how he’s not the saint all his readers seem to think he is. there are 2 sides to every story. i mean, i do want him to be happy and have friends and a place to vent here on the internet…but it’s really not fair that i’ve been made out to be the bitch evil mother of his kids who took them away out of spite and meanness.

    the pity party just gets kinda really old sometimes when in my heart i know the truth about what happened between us and that i had several reasons (years worth actually) to leave. and whatever, maybe this is the wrong venue for this but your blog strikes a chord with me because you’re new to the single mom scene as am i and i just so really realllllly relate to your stories.

  9. your lil sis

    i don’t know what it feels like to have divorced parents. i know you do, though. just figure our mom had to make the same choice you’re making now. how did she comfort you and brudder? i cried my eyes out reading this because you always seem so okay, so strong when you’re around me. it’s weird and sad all at once to watch my sister go through something that hurts so much, but that wasn’t your fault. love you and all the little munchkins **kisses from auntie cait**


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *