My sweet little boy had seen a lot those few weeks leading up to his daddy moving out, and I wished so desperately that I could have shielded him from it. He heard us arguing, watched his daddy yell at me, watched me cry almost constant tears, and got scared when his daddy slammed his fists onto the hood of the car as I begged him not to go. I can't imagine what was going on inside that little head of his as he watched everything unfold. He must have been so confused and terrified.
His daddy stopped coming home and stopped spending time with him. I remember at one point adding up the days and it had been 22 days since Jason had seen the kids. We weren't what he wanted anymore. It was so heartbreaking to watch as the kids stopped asking when he would be home. I think inside they knew a lot more than they could actually understand.
I tried my hardest to hold myself together for my kids and I would try anything and everything to not cry in front of them if I could help it. I would wait until they were all asleep and then I would go into my closet, shut the door, and cry. Carson always knew. I don't know how, but he did. He would crawl out of bed and come find me, begging me to stop crying. It broke my heart. He would look at me with those terrified and desperate eyes and beg me. So, most of the time, I would. He would crawl into my bed with me and hang onto me as if he thought I was leaving him forever. He was probably scared I would.
I started crying in the shower after a while, thinking the sound of the water would cover up my tears. It didn't work. Carson always knew. Even when my tears were silent tears that would hit me as I folded laundry or was looking for my shoes, Carson always knew. It was if he had a sixth sense of when I would cry. He wouldn't leave my side until he was sure I was done crying and was "better."
I had some pink chapstick that I used to put on at night before I went to bed. I remember one day I was crying in my bed and Carson came running into my room. He went into the bathroom, grabbed a Q-tip, and that chapstick, and scooped out a huge glob of it. He brought it to me and handed it to me. I was so confused at why he would do that. As he handed it to me, he asked me if it made me happy because he knew that I liked that "lip stuff." When I told him that it made me very happy, I could see the relief on his face. He just wanted me to be happy. He started bringing me Q-tips with chapstick on them when I would cry after that. My sweet little boy.
One day, I told Carson that his daddy was on his way to come get him to spend some time with him. Carson instantly started crying and telling me he didn't want him to come. I remember thinking, "Heavenly Father, how do I do this? I don't want him to come either, but I can't tell my child that. Please help me!" I knelt down next to him and asked Carson why he didn't want his daddy to come that day. His answer was heartbreaking.
"Because everytime he comes, you cry. He always makes you cry."
I watched him closely after that. Sure enough, anytime Jason was around, Carson wouldn't leave my side. If I ever asked him to go play so that Jason and I could talk, he refused. He wouldn't leave me. He became my protector and his little hand in mind gave me strength to face another day. We became a team, this wise little 4 year old and I. I felt like he was carrying around this burden that was much too heavy for him, and it worried me.
I took him to counseling. I explained everything to the counselor and she sat silently watching Carson play. She asked me how much he saw. I explained that until Jason told me about the affair, life had been normal. As soon as Jason told me, he became a completely different person. He would scream at me in front of the kids, make me cry, hit the wall, door, car - you name it. He would kick things, throw things, and get so angry that he would clinch his hands into fists and scream. He had never done any of that before, so it was scary for all of us. I explained how Carson wouldn't leave my side, how he always knew when I was crying, how he wouldn't be alone in a room anymore without becoming scared, and how he watched his daddy turn into a person who didn't even want to be with the kids. What she said surprised me. She told me that it was better that he saw some of that then nothing. I'm sure she saw the confusion on my face, so she continued. She said if Jason had just left and moved out without Carson seeing some of the things he did, it would actually be more traumatizing and harder for him to understand. The fact that he saw some of the things he did made it easier for him when Jason left. It was a relief to him too.
One night, a few months later, as Carson and I were laying in bed about to go to sleep, I asked him if he would say our prayer. In the middle of his prayer, Carson said thanks for letting Jesus come visit on Tuesday. After the prayer, I asked him what he was talking about. His sweet little answer brought me more comfort than I had felt in a long time. "Jesus comes and visits me on Tuesdays. He sends angels on the other days, but on Tuesdays He comes." We weren't alone. We had angels watching over us and protecting us through this horrible time in our lives, and I knew in that moment that my kids were going to be ok. We had angels and the Lord on our side. The faith of my children always strengthened my own when I needed a little extra. Carson is a child of pure faith. It is one of his gifts.
My sweet little boy turns 5 today. Five. He has had to go through more than any 5 year old should, and yet he has handled it all like a champ. He is the man of our house and my right-hand little helper. He has had to grow up so much in the last year and some days I worry that he is losing his innocence too fast. He is such a tenderhearted little boy and is constantly telling me how much he loves me and always wants a hug and a kiss. I wish I could keep him this age forever and savor every moment. Oh, how I love him.
Happy Birthday, dearest Carson. You are an incredible little boy and one of the most amazing spirits I know. You are destined for great things and I am so blessed to be able to be your mommy. Thank you for being my best friend and for always being there when I needed someone. You are forever my hero. I love you to the moon and back, to Pluto, the milkyway, and to the faraway mountains. Here is to making 5 the best year ever.