Just before dinner, my husband said he couldn't go through with it. As we were sitting at the dinner table, the kids clearly waiting for the "family discussion" to begin, the awkwardness grew and grew. My husband went into the kitchen and leaned back into the dining room saying, "What was that?". I didn't know what he meant. "You two were just whispering about something", meaning me and our son. He did not believe any of us when we reassured him that no one had said anything at all. Dinner was nightmarishly tense. After dinner, he did not excuse himself, just went and slumped in a chair in the living room. Our daughter did whisper to me then, asking when we were going to have the family talk. We all moved into the living room with him. He blurted out, "your mother has something to tell you".
I told them that I knew they had been sensing an increase in the tension over the last few days, and that it was because their dad and I were trying to make some serious and difficult decisions. Then I simply said it. That we had decided that we needed to separate, and that this time it was not temporary. They were both quiet for a few seconds, and my son said, "it's about time - I was ready to start calling lawyers for you!" My daughter simply said, "this is a good decision for everyone". She only got emotional when she said, "I just want to ask two things. First, I want you to have a plan before school starts - last year I had to start high school with my family life in a mess. I want to start this year with things at least a little more settled. Second, please be decent to each other and don't get mean." This last request made her cry. She has seen friends whose parents have divorced with great civility and grace, and others whose behaviour towards each other is nothing less that shameful. I asked if they had any questions, and they had a few, mostly about next steps and how quickly things would be settled. Abruptly, my husband got up and went to the bedroom, closing the door. The kids got up, hugged me, hugged each other, and both said they were glad this was happening. Our daughter said she wished we had simply gone through with the separation last year, and my son said again that it was about time we finally took this step.
I cleaned up the kitchen. I just looked in the bedroom, thinking I'd get ready for bed - my husband is asleep, and has placed a line of pillows down the centre of the bed. Think I will stay up for a bit. I now have a glass of wine at the ready - time to turn off the computer, sit quietly and get myself grounded. This is really hard.