This article, entitled Divorce In My Previous Life – Do I Tell My Children? comes from Danielle Herzog's blog Martinis and Minivans at martinisandminivans.com.
My three and a half year old daughter asked me what the word “divorce” meant. My husband and I had just finished talking about a friend who is about to divorce and her little ears must have been listening to our conversation.
Martinis and Minivans is a blog about a New Yorker now living the Midwest life as a writer, mother, and woman on the never-ending quest to be hip. Danielle Herzog is a native Long Islander from a ridiculously large Italian family where she doesn’t know the names of all of her cousins. She loves being in the Midwest but still doesn’t understand what May Day is and why everybody is so nice. You can find her at nights after the kids are in bed writing on her computer with an episode of The Real Housewives of Any City in the background.
I explained to her that divorce is when two people who are married decide they don’t want to be married anymore. She then raised her hands up, shook her head while laughing and said, “That’s so silly, who wouldn’t want to be married?” I loved her shear optimism and naivety at that moment.
What she doesn’t know is that mommy was divorced before she ever met daddy. She doesn’t know about this entire life I had prior to ever meeting her father. And the question I wrestle with is, “Does she ever need to know?” Will there ever be a time when it is necessary to tell her?
My ex-husband and I didn’t have any children together and have no contact with each other, but I wonder if later in life I’ll feel like I’m keeping a secret from her. Perhaps I’ll tell her when one of her friend’s parents go through a divorce and she doesn’t understand. Or perhaps I’ll tell her when a silly boy breaks her heart and she wishes she could have married him. I’ll tell her that she is lucky for not having married him and how I didn’t have that chance. How I don’t regret my past decisions but want to spare her that kind of pain and disappointment.
Could it be a learning lesson for her? Or will it make her see me differently? Only time will tell but for now, I think I’ll live in the fact that she thinks marriage should never be broken. The nice part is that after meeting her father, I agree with her.