Hard Choices on Kiddo’s Birthday

Today is my son’s birthday.  He turns four years old. Nine days ago on my birthday, I turned, well….older.

Despite our almost “coparenting” 50/50 arrangement, my son was with his mother on her birthday, my birthday and his birthday.

My son was excited to call me on my birthday and sing to me! He had a plan! But, my phone never rang.

The prior day, a Thursday, he cried in front of his preschool classroom for 20 minutes because he wanted to party with his father and was sad to leave me. That Thursday, he cried more than his first day of school (which I also took him to).

Today, while my son is with his mother and his maternal grandparents, I sit on my balcony in thought.

Should I attempt to arrange a video call with him? Being utmost aware that even requesting the call from his mother will cause drama, I choose not to.

“Why”, you ask?

My son has an exceptional EQ. That’s my own assessment given how I witness him handle stress and navigate his parents being in a high conflict separation. How he emotionally regulates and is able to discern truths and vocalize his own emotions is amazing.

The very act of me requesting a call on his birthday will change the atmosphere and personas of those immediately around him. He will feel that. It will cause anxiety. They will spiral into negativity. It. Will. Affect. Him.

And, if the call was granted, he would then have to switch mental gears back into protective mode after the call.

Not to appease those around him, but to literally protect himself from whatever residual shrapnel would be said or discussed after he spoke to me.

I know he wants to talk to me.

I sit in tears on my balcony wanting to talk to him.

But, for his sake. For him, I will not.

Tomorrow is Monday. He comes to me and we will celebrate a 1 day belated birthday.

Many of you are in similar situations. Many people that don’t think deeply wouldn’t understand my decision.

But my son does. He knows. At the tender age of four he already gets it.

Despite my sadness, I will not cause him unnecessary stress and anxiety.

That’s what fathers do. We suck it up. We are misunderstood. We just do what we have to do to make sure our kiddos are safe and avoid drama.

I miss you, son. Happy Birthday.



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