Humpty Dumpty

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

My little family had a great fall.  We broke.  I painstakingly gathered all the broken and shattered, pieces picked up every shard and then carefully put them back together.  It took time. It wasn’t easy but I thought I’d done it.  I thought I had us all back together again.

And all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again

But I didn’t. I was wrong.  We are broken.  Once something is broken it’s much more fragile, more delicate and cracks more easily than before. Something broken isn’t as strong when it’s pieced back together. I know that but I didn’t understand that.  Until now.

We go about our days doing what we are supposed to do, saying what we are supposed to say and I thought it was enough.  Like brushing off your hands after stumble to wipe away the dirt…I brushed my hands together and said, ‘that’s it.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and let’s get back to it.  No one is hurt here.  We are fine.  And I tried to believe it.

My sons grades have slipped into the abyss.  I’ve grounded, argued, pled, begged, yelled, ignored…I’ve done it all.  Today during yet another discussion about the falling grades my son became  humpty-dumpty.  

At one point I said something like…”this is life.” And he fell apart.   His response shattered all my illusions that we were okay.

“I hate my life, okay, HATE it!” the raw pain in his voice stopped my heart.  “I try and pretend like I am whole but I am not.  Divorced kids aren’t whole mom!!!” Angrily he rubbed his face to wipe away his tears. ” I am 5’3” in high school mom.  Do you know how bad that sucks? People laugh because I swim but I can’t not swim mom, I can’t.  All my friends talk about their mom and dad and I can’t.  I HATE telling people you’ve been divorced twice.”  As long as I Iive I don’t think I will ever be able to forget those words.  They hurt in a place I can’t even name.  I didn’t interrupt him.

 “They always ask why and all I can tell them is I don’t know about the first one but the second time was because my step dad lied, HE LIED TO US MOM, he looked right at us and lied. He lied about not having a job—all that time he was lying.  He lied about everything.  And now look at us mom—look at what it did to us mom.”

“That was a year ago…we’ve moved on.  We are fine,” I began.

“We are not FINE! I have no privacy, Kinsley’s mad all the time. My dad has no where to live and and Sadie…how could  he do that to Sadie?” He’s said that before-that the thing he hates most about this situation is that it hurt Sadie. He’s still frantically wiping his face as he finishes, “…and  I have to take care of y’all.”

I do interrupt him here. “Whoa!  You are the child here, Colton, not the adult. Taking care of us is on me…that is not your job…..”

“It is my job mom.  I am the man.  I am the only man to take care of 3 girls.”  My little fella sat there crying feeling the weight of manhood so heavy on his shoulders.  I re-iterated that taking care of us was my worry…not his…but I could see he didn’t accept it. “…and I know it’s not but sometimes I feel like it’s all my fault.”

“It hurt, it sucked, it was bad, it was awful…” I admitted, “ but we aren’t defined by what happened to us. We are defined by how we handle it.  We have a roof, we have food, we have each other…you guys have your school and your activities and everything that’s important to you,” And I thought that was enough I wanted to say. But I didn’t. “You have a choice to make every day.  You can choose to be sad or angry or you can choose to NOT wallow and to move on.  You can choose to be happy. You can’t use this as an excuse anymore.  Your job is school and you are not doing your job.  Do you see me not doing my job or not going to work because I am sad?  NO. Do you see wallowing?”

“Yes…sometimes!  You come home and I know it’s been a bad or a sad day. I can see it mom,” The façade I had about us being okay evaporated. Truth be told I use all I have to get thru the day, to do my job and hopefully do it well, to scurry and hurry to get everyone where they need to be and to get them fed and bathed. I worry about making ends-meet.  I fret over decisions. At the end of the day I’ve used up all my resolve. I don’t cry. I don’t get angry. I don’t talk about it. I just stop. I settle into my chair and hold my baby girl and I watch tv. I stay busy until there is no where else I have to be and then I stop. And he sees this. 

“You can be angry. You can be sad. You can be whatever you need to be as long as you get rid of it. But you have to get rid of it. You can’t carry this…you can’t.” 

And then there is an awful silence. I don’t know how to fill it. My throat burns with the effort it takes to not cry. The phrase you’ve been divorced twice rings in my head and echoes with every beat of my heavy heart. I know I should let it go. I know I should. But I can’t. I just can’t. “I am sorry I embarrass you. I am embarrassed to be divorced twice. I am embarrassed you have to tell people that. This isn’t how I imagined things would be. This isn’t how I wanted things to be. I didn’t want this for me or for y’all. But it happened. And I had to make some very hard choices. I did what I had to do. You aren’t alone. You have me. You have a dad that loves you. I love you. None of this….look at me…none of this is your fault. None if it.” 

He can’t do this anymore. He has no fight left. He has nothing left. 

I want to stop him but I don’t know what else to say. I want to hug him tight but he doesn’t seem to want a hug right now. He shuffles toward the stairs. At the last minute he turns to me,”I am not embarrassed of you mom. I am proud to call you my mom. You never have missed a swim meet. You cheer for me. My friends think it’s cool they way you cheer for me,” he looks so burdened standing there. He’s a boy carrying the burdens of a man on a little boys shoulders. His soul is older then it should be. “I am trying mom. I really am,” and then he walks away. 

I choke back sobs that I can’t let escape. He’s broken and I thought I had fixed all the cracks and had put back all the pieces but I haven’t. Some breaks I just can’t fix. There are some pieces I just don’t have. 

But I’ll keep trying. I’ll pick him up and dust him off and put him right back up on the wall. And I’ll do it Everytime. 

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall–

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

And all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put humtpty together again.

But I am his mama and I can. 

Post script: 

Thanks to a wise and caring friend I started picking the pieces up again. My fella is at a great school with great support and with one phone call he met his guidance conselor who is meeting him Saturday at school to let him use the schools computers so he can catch up on his assignments. I don’t know if it was getting it out or if something I said helped, but he’s lighter tonight. He feels better. I on the other hand…..


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