Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's Talk About The Gosselins

Okay, I hate doing this, but I can't help but be consumed like the rest of the world about Jon and Kate Gosselin.

I've been through a divorce. I know how it affects one child. Jake was 18 months when my ex and I split. He was a late talker. Just a few words, really. Cason used to work in the basement. Carpentry projects. Jake would bang on the basement door and say, "Da-da." Cason would walk up the stairs, say hello, a few kisses and hugs, then go back down.

A few days after Cason moved out, Jake walked up to the basement door and asked for Da-da. "Da-da's not here, honey," I said. My eyes tearing up. Me looking away, not wanting to face my young son, my baby. How do you tell a baby that his mom and dad are never going to be together again?

We had two days of Jake looking for Da-da in the basement, and then he stopped. Toddlers live in the moment. If someone disappears from their radar, they move on. Not that Jake didn't build a relationship with his father up to that point, because he did. They played guitar. They hammered nails. They did puzzles. But Jake quickly accepted that Da-da was not in the basement. That he wasn't in the house.

Now the Gosselins. What's it like to have eight children asking where Daddy is? Though the Gosselins have proven to be overall shitty parents (Who puts their kids on TV? I don't care how much money they're getting, sorry.), they still love their kids. They're going to try to talk to them rationally about the separation. About Daddy no longer living in the house. About switching out parents on weekends, because I'm guessing they're not going to shuttle eight children every other weekend like the rest of us divorced parents.

I find myself fascinated by the logistics of it all. Do you tell each child at once? Do you tell them as a gang? How do two people console eight children? Dealing with one emotional child is enough to make your heart sink. But times eight? It overwhelms me.

The children will move on. They'll accept that Mommy and Daddy might not love each other, but they love the kids. And the children have each other. There are lots of shoulders to cry on in that family. Sixteen of them.

The kids will recover from the divorce. Will they recover from their lives being taped from the time they were babies? Probably not.

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