My kids never stop surprising me. With all the angst I was feeling for my eight year old Peanut, it was my older son who was really struggling. My firstborn is ten years old and at the end of his fourth grade year. I've recently had a mom of three grown and nearly grown sons tell me that there is something about boys this age, especially in the spring... that the attitude I'm getting is common to this age & gender.
Friday afternoon, the attitude cropped up with yet another complaint about what I had asked him to do, in comparison with the job I'd given his younger brother. Firstborn got sent to his room, because I was livid. Eventually, we had a discussion, in which he shared some of what's really been bothering him - a very personal piece of information that his brother had shared & was now the source of a lot of teasing, and a general insecurity with how his world may change with the divorce.
It seems that a character on TV has parents that divorced, and when the mom moved out of state, she took the boy with her, so my son has been fearing that one of us will do the same. In general, there is a blank where the future looked predictable with a mom, dad, and two boys (and our cat, Scamper) all in the house together.
All I could do, and continue to do, is assure my kids that one thing their dad and I are doing, is working very hard at putting them first, and making time for them to spend with each of us. Yes, there have been a couple of nasty arguments in the past few months, but not many. Regardless, the boys are important to both of us and we will make being there for them our first priority. I promised that I won't just move them out of state, away from their dad (however tempted I may sometimes be - I kept that comment to myself).
For now, it seems like the conversation just took the lid off a well of fear and some anger that needs to be talked out. I named some of our friends whose parents split, permanently or temporarily, who had already told me they would always be willing to talk about it. I shared the conversation with my ex, so we can both be ready with assurances that neither will deprive the kids of the other parent.
Whew. The shoe that falls is rarely the one we expect, is it?