What the heck does it mean to put Little N first in the midst of a divorce?
I barely know and I'm clinging to every little clue that my brain can assemble.
We had a Family Meeting on Monday night and told Little N that Mommy and Daddy were going to live in separate homes. Daddy will be moving out to a new place. Little N got it and got excited about having a new home. Two homes! This is great! So far so good, I think, and hope. But I wonder what it will be like when Daddy moves out in another month, and has a roommate, and Little N is camping out on the floor of Daddy's room. He might really get into it. He might refuse to settle down and demand to come home to his own bed.
Another piece of our plan for putting Little N first is Family Time. Regular outings or events, in addition to holidays and birthdays, where we get together all three of us. This has started even now, when we are all in the same home, because we are so infrequently doing the same thing together. We don't even eat together. We've been a disjointed family for a while now. The differences between L and I just seeped into everything. But we want Little N to know he comes from and is part of people that love him. He has a pod. We are with him and on his side, no matter what else.
The most challenging for me is the most subtle and perhaps the most influential. I need to be careful about how I talk about L, how I think about him, and the attitude I bear about him. I wonder if that will get easier when he and I are in separate homes and out of each others' space. Right now, I feel like I'm stretching out of the confines we built, one way or another, in order to live together peacefully - the constructs of compromise, of habit, of ignoring the differences, of tamping down irritation, of underestimating the gaps between us. And it's good to stretch and to own those things that have so long endured belittling and lack of attention. But I need to do it mindful of how that bears on Little N. I don't get to show my irritation. I don't get to pull further away. I must speak and express myself with respect, complete attention, and gentle body language. I don't need to lie, but my truth must be compassionate.
This is all so unknown and impossible to predict. We do our homework and make our plans and step into them, still mostly blind. Yielding to our love of our son, to a gradual understanding of what he needs from us in order to make what is right for Mom & Dad also right for him.