19. May 2014 · Comments Off on Today, we told the kids… · Categories: divorce, kids, moving

I wrote this last week, but waited more than a week to publish the post. This post relays a very difficult conversation that was hard to document. It was about the most adult conversation we’ve ever had with our children…


Today was a day I was dreading. My children’s mother and I have decided that we are getting divorced. We have lived together for well over a quarter of a century and have been married for all but nine months of that (but lived together for most of those 9 months). But, we are two adults that have determined that being married is not where we can be any more. The task of telling our adult children was one that needed to occur before the word got out with very many people. They had to hear from us – not friends or other relatives. They certainly couldn’t find out from a change of a facebook status from married to it’s complicated or separated. We had to tell a few people first – a few friends (to keep our sanity), a few relatives (because, in reality, they already knew), and a few co-workers (how to deal with benefits). We had the built-in delay of our youngest living away in college until her summer break, but knew the talk had to come shortly after her arrival home for the summer. We could have talked to them in the house, but 25 years from now, we didn’t want them to have memories of horrible events that took place in their home.

I always hated that house – it’s where my parents told us they were getting divorced.

That just wasn’t an option. So, we decided on a neutral spot, one that held no meaning whatsoever; it was my job to figure out where. I looked at a few different public areas, parks, and ballfields. Since neither of our kids play ball, the ballfield was up there as an option, but the fact that today is Saturday and every ballpark in New England is being used took that one off the table. A public area might work (the food court in our local mall was an option if it was raining), but thought that if all things went wrong that we would all be arrested for creating a scene. So a local park was the best option; I was off to find a suitable location not far from home. One quick drive later, I had the spot selected. This new, small park had an ample parking lot and trails that could be walked to set the stage. I also guessed (correctly) that we would be alone in the park.

We arrived in three separate vehicles – one for their Mom, one for me (their Dad), and one for the two kids. This way, the kids could drive off together and deal with the news without being in a vehicle that one parent was driving home. The logistics were suggested by my therapist, but made the most sense once we thought about them.

We already told the kids that we were selling the house. Living in a huge house, with a huge property to care for, and without the need for living in a town with a great school system (since both had already graduated), meant that the location in town was no longer keeping us here. The huge taxes (mostly for the schools) were not buying us anything as well as the fact that we know almost no one in our town after six years was reason enough to move.

So we walked for a bit, exploring the park. After a 5-minute walk or so, we were pretty much in an area where we could talk – almost at the end of the park trail. She looked at me and gave me the nod to start  – indicating that she wasn’t about to start the conversation. Knowing what needed to be said, I started talking…

So, you know we’ve been having problems for a while, right?

I wasn’t going to mix words. The kids are adults and need to hear the truth. Time to spit it out…

We came to the conclusion that the only solution was for us to get a divorce.

If we were inside, you could have heard a pin drop. But we were outside, birds continued to sing, bees continued to buzz.

Our daughter’s eyes started to water; she turned around and walked about 10 feet away. We were silent. Her brother also remained silent and stood still, processing the information – that is his way. After about two minutes, he turned around and joined his sister, then put his arm around her as only her big brother could do. While this was a difficult time for their mom and I, neither of us could have been more proud of his actions – taking care of his sister as only he knows how to do.

After what seemed like an eternity (probably almost 10 minutes), the two of them turned around to speak to the two of us.

Our daughter had processed the events, cried a bit, then was ready to ask a few questions.

What does this mean for us?

Who have you told?

Where will we live?

The questions were answered, mostly with a we’re not really sure type of answer. Then, as in our normal family way, we ended up with an awkward laugh about something silly which is way easier than crying. The conversation ended up with hugs all around and the kids heading off to get ice cream because, as you know, ice cream fixes everything (short term, that is). Their mom and I hugged as well, glad to have this really important discussion done.

Both kids will be okay, and so will both of us. The next moment that will be tough is when one of us moves out or we sell the house. Big events that make for big memories.

Time to look forward and get the tasks to sell the house done – and time to contact a few realtors.

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