When Little Man was four years old, he asked a question that I knew would come up eventually, although I had hoped it wouldn’t come up for a couple more years at least.
“Mommy, why do you call Grammy ‘Susan’ and Nannie ‘Jane’ instead of calling them ‘Mama’?”
I explained that both of them were stepmothers, wives my dad had after marrying my mom, and that was why I referred to them by their first names.
“But where’s your mom?”
How do you explain to a four-year-old–one with plenty of questions, at that–a mother choosing to leave behind her own kids? Not easy, but I tried to keep it simple.
“My mom wasn’t able to be a good mommy to your aunt and me, so she decided not to be a mommy anymore and left. But that was okay, because we went to live with my Grandma, who took really good care of us.”
He thought over this for a bit and looked rather angry. “But don’t you hate your mom for leaving you?”
“No. Not everyone is cut out to be a mommy, so it was okay.”
“Well, I hate her. She shouldn’t have left you.”
He was fuming by now. I pulled him into my arms for a big hug and told him that it was okay, not to worry about it.
“You’d never leave me,” he stated while I held him close.
“Never,” I promised.
Little Man brings up my mom leaving occasionally, and tonight was one of those nights. While the four of us were laying on our king-size bed talking and playing, he made a very random comment about how he can’t stand my mom because she left me. It came out of left field, as his comments regarding my mom usually do. Sometimes I wonder if I should have told him something different (what, I don’t know), since it bothers him.
“What got you to thinking about that?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t think that I would ever leave you, do you?” I asked, hoping that didn’t have anything to do with his comment.
LM laughed. “No, silly, I know you’d never do that. And if you did, you’d take” he points at himself, his sister, and his dad “with you.”