Thursday, October 4, 2012

Divorce Court. You get the kids, buddy!

During the past month, my oldest son, William has asked several times if my husband and I are going to break up.  The first time he asked I thought he was joking; however, the comments became increasingly more regular.  My sixteen year old believed - and still does to a certain extent - that his dad and I are headed for divorce court.  This is a heart wrenching revelation.

I won't deny that Eric, my husband of 18 years, and I have been going through some difficult times lately.  We're not laughing as much as we used to.  When we're together, we don't reach out and playfully tag or slap one another.  The teasing gestures and words seem to have gone on hiatus.  We're tense, short-tempered, and tend to gravitate towards private rooms when we have the opportunity.  Of course our son would assume the worst.  Why wouldn't he?

At 6 years old, William became our foster son.  He entered a home filled with non-stop giggling and laughter.  Eric and I were solely responsible for teaching our kiddo how to play.  At the time, he was conditioned to be the parent and guardian of his younger siblings or he would suffer severe consequences.  He didn't know how to relax or laugh.  When he became our "forever son", we took the time to teach him how to be a child.  He's never, ever seen Eric and I exchange unkind words or yell at one other.  William has only been exposed to a loving, committed relationship.  Now, something is wrong; mom and dad aren't laughing anymore.

How do I explain that it's the stress of raising two emotionally draining and abusive children that's affecting the marriage?  If Eric and I hadn't been so committed to one another, the union would have been over years ago.  Yes, we receive support but to what end does it serve?  Did it help me this morning when I pulled my 167 pound 14 year old out of bed, physically undressed him, dodged his kicks, and put up with his bites and scratches all the while listening to him screaming at me that I was a "fucking monster"?  This behavior was because he didn't want to go to class today.  Sure, I could have called the police for the 3rd time in two weeks but why?  So he could ride to school in their squad car again?  He loved that.  Hospitalize him?  There aren't any adolescent psychiatric beds available in all of Colorado.

Do I explain to William that his dad and I are miserable because we can't go out to dinner by ourselves without having someone "babysit" our kids?  Or, do I tell him if we take them with us, we have to plan on eating as early as possible so that their behavior doesn't disrupt other diners?  He's a smart kid.  He'll probably understand.  Eric and I can't have a conversation between us without being interrupted, insulted, or corrected by our Aspergian teenagers.  We haven't gone to church for months because instead of praying, I'm plotting revenge on the kiddo hanging off my shoulder and telling his father to "shut-up" while giving the little girl behind him the middle finger.

There's not a lot of sunshine and laughter bouncing off of Eric and myself these days.  Honestly, we're exhausted.  Is the laughter dead?  No.  Our marriage is strong as steel.  In fact, it's stronger than it's ever been.  Not too many relationships could withstand what we've been through together.  What William doesn't realize is that at the end of the day - no matter how awful it's been - his parents' eyes still meet and often times - though my son doesn't hear it because he's asleep - Eric and I are in our bedroom giggling over something absolutely ridiculous.