When my daughter was about 15 months old, my husband was holding her while we attended a church meeting. Jeff was about to go up the platform for a quick word so, naturally, he was just going to take her with him, and moved up two pews to stand in the very front while he was being introduced. I was very pregnant, and Jeff was only going to speak for a second so he thought it was polite to just carry the baby himself.
This is not how Adelle felt about the situation! As she noticed I stayed behind and was two rows back, her eyes grew wide with fear. She looked terrified and confused, “why would her mommy stay behind? Why would daddy leave her mommy?” She reached her arms out while the pastor spoke and her voice shook the first time she cried, “mommy.” Subsequent cries were louder and with more force. “Mommy! Mooooommmmmmyyyyy!”
Had she been angry, or a spoiled one year old playing favorites, my response may have differed, but she looked scared and very, very worried, and so it broke my heart.
My one year old couldn’t handle a separation between her parents of only two rows at church. Oh, how heartbroken would she be if ever one of her parents would move out of the house!
I thought about all the children of all ages that I’ve ever known to go through a parent’s divorce. I never understood their pain, I never really considered the depth of it. But just then, my heart understood a tiny bit of their pain and it broke for them.
How confusing it must be for them, how unexpected and painful of a transition. Parents belong together; children never consider otherwise.
This is not to condemn those who have been or are going through a divorce, I didn’t think about parents while contemplating the effects on children. I understand that they happen, but my thoughts here are only on the children. And I do understand that sometimes that is what is best for the children, but what a heartbreak for them regardless.
I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and I believe it should be preserved if at all possible. Divorcing my husband has never crossed my mind, especially not after only three years of marriage, but at at moment when I saw a terrified little girl, I knew it was never an option for me.
As a mother, I never wanted to see that pain in her again and if I wanted to preserve the relationship between her mommy and daddy, the journey starts now. I have to have a marriage worth keeping right now. The seeds of separation start much earlier than the final decision, and suddenly my marriage was even more important to me than before.