I look at him, so young, naïve and vulnerable. I watch him playing with his gameboy, his blonde head bent towards the tiny screen, and his face creased in serious concentration. His face has not changed, he still looks the way he did when he was 9,10,11 years old. Smooth pink cheeks, sparkling blue eyes , and a grin that could win a heart of stone.
He has not asked me to stop kissing him before he goes to sleep, and he hugs me every morning as he rushes out the door to Yeshivah. For me, his mommy, he is still my baby. He is still the little kid who taught himself how to ride a bike, and persevered no matter how many times he fell off. He is the kid who always put his arms around me when I cried after my husband had humiliated me. He is the one who runs outside to help me with my bags, and lately he has been making coffee for me on Shabbos morning.
He is the child that is most caught up in my separation. His brothers are older and in yeshivah longer hours. His sisters are not the ones who Tatty calls to accompany him to daven Mincha or Maariv. He is the one who is the most in contact with his father, and he is the one who has to hear the negative comments against his mother.
My soul cries for him. He does not deserve to be in the middle like this. I wish I could reduce his pain even a bit. Tonight my husband took all the kids out to buy donuts. My big soon-to-be Bar Mitzvah boy, innocently asked if he could buy one for mommy too. I don’t know exactly what my husband’s response was, but he came home trying to hide the tears from me. When I asked if he had fun, he shrugged his shoulders and said: “I’m sorry mommy, I couldn’t get you a donut”
I pulled him towards me and told him that I don’t like donuts that much anyway. He looked me in the eye, and nodded his head knowingly. I smiled back and told him that it will all be okay.
It is that these times that I begin to doubt myself. What am I doing to my children? How will they get beyond this? But then I remember how my daughter told me a couple of months ago, how she used to hear me crying in my bedroom. And I realize that having a mother who cries and is sad all the time cannot be healthy either.
I know I have to go through with this divorce.
I do not deserve to be treated so badly, and to be told I am a worthless human being, and a rotten mother.
I must look towards the future and know that Hashem does not want me and my children to continue suffering. I am doing the right thing, and I have to stay strong and not give up.