“I can’t keep living a lie”

That’s what the Bee said to me, sobbing, at her birthday dinner.

It seems that she had only told 2 friends about the fact that landisdad and I have separated. And there were 3 girls coming to her birthday party—a sleepover—the next night who didn’t know about it.

She was worried that people would make fun of her. She said, “I’m supposed to be this perfect girl, and now they’ll know that I’m not perfect!”

Oh. Bee.

I told her, no one’s life is perfect. I told her that when I told people that landisdad and I were getting divorced, some were shocked, because it looked like we had the perfect life. I told her that she would see that her friends didn’t really care.

Mostly I held her while she sobbed.

12 is a hard age. I remember that.

As it turned out, I don’t think any of the girls noticed or cared when I left the party, around 9 pm. They did notice when I came back the next morning, because I was carrying a huge box of doughnuts—but I think it was the doughnuts that caught their eye, rather than me in street clothes, obviously showered.

After we ate breakfast and the  girls went home, one by one, the Bee asked if she could come back to my apartment with me. She did her homework while I did some stuff on the computer for work. She hung out with a stray kitten the kids insisted I take in, that I haven’t found a home for yet. She looked at some of her presents.

We drove back to landisdad’s for dinner, and after we ate, I came back here. Around 10, she texted me that she couldn’t sleep, and that she wanted to talk to me–I offered to call her, but she said she didn’t want to talk on the phone. I told her to think about things that made her happy at the party, and that we’d see each other today.

I don’t know what’s going on inside her head. But I’m hoping she lets me in.


October 3, 2011. kid reaction.


  1. Jackie replied:

    Oh, the struggle of trying to remain the perfect girl. My heart goes out to the Bee; I teach girls like her all the time, and in truth, resemble that girl myself. Wishing you lots of love and luck.

  2. Jody replied:

    That’s really hard. I wish it were easier to get from point A to point Z in this process. It will get better, really it will.

  3. Elise replied:

    My oldest daughter (senior in high school) has been drifting away from a girl who is always striving for perfection (part of the way she does this is by putting others down to make herself feel better, including my daughter). I see that this girl tortures herself. Last night it suddenly sunk in to me that my younger daughter (freshman) has these same tendencies….I’m really not sure what to do. I know this doesn’t help you but I just thought you’d like to know you aren’t alone….maybe you’ll figure it out and can write about it here to help ME out..ha ha.

  4. Susan replied:

    How did she feel after the party? It’s so heartbreaking watching kids negotiate sadness. (and must be hard to be offering to talk when she doesn’t respond…but things will change, eventually.) I’m so sorry this is so hard all around.

  5. CamiKaos replied:

    It took my daughter a while to tell her friends when her dad and I separated as well. She too was worried about being judged.

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