Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to Earth With A Bump

It's Sunday afternoon. My hair and clothes are still covered with a fine smattering of sand, courtesy of my lunchtime walk on the beach with Green Eyed Man. There is a smile on my face. I go to pick up the boys from their father's with an unusual spring in my step.

Upon entry into his apartment the typical chaos ensues. Bags are still being jammed full of toys that simply cannot be left behind. Clothes are being wedged into my handbag as an afterthought. There is much phaffing and palava and hyperactivity. Finally, everything that needs to be shunted on a bi-weekly basis between two homes is safely contained within an assortment of bags. Ex and I shuffle behind our exuberant offspring to the lift, laden down with baggage like a couple of prize mules.

There is the usual commotion when we get to the car. Daddy is temporarily forgotten in the fight to the death for who will gain ownership of the car seat behind mummy for our 10 minute journey. The adults might be making every effort to be on their best behaviour but the boys have no such intentions. I try to remain calm and admire ex's restraint in not raising his voice. The last thing he wants is to spoil what has been a really fun weekend with a rant right at the last minute.

Finally, after 10 long minutes of negotiation and arbitration that makes the Middle East crisis seem like a walk in the park, the boys are finally battened down and we are ready to head home. Which is of course the exact moment that each boy demands a series of hugs, kisses, secret handshakes and silly walks to prolong that actual moment of goodbye. I can't imagine that leaving daddy is something that they will ever find easy.

We drive off slowly - the boys windows are down and daddy jogs alongside the car to the end of the road, throwing last minute kisses and generally lampooning about and kicking his heels to a chorus of giggles and much applause. I internally commend us both for dealing with this situation as well as we are able and feel a quiet comfort in how well the boys have adapted as a result.

We turn the corner.

And Captain Underpants begins to cry.

"I already miss my daddy so much. And I've left my special Bakugon and I really wanted to remember to bring it home and now I have forgotten it and I won't see it for days. It's just too hard to remember everything. I don't want to have two houses - I don't. It's just too hard."

My little self-congratulatory balloon instantly deflates. It doesn't really matter how well ex and I are handling this. Captain Underpants is right in his undertones. It is still shit.

He continues to cry. Johnny Drama looks on with a face full of concern.

"We have a new house now mummy. I know you said you and daddy were unhappy in the old house. But we have a new house now mummy. We can all be happy in the new house. Daddy too. That would be a good choice, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it, mama?"

Yes it would my love. Yes it would.

How did this all get so fucked up? And how did I successfully achieve the one thing I promised I would never do...break my boys' hearts.


  1. And doesn't life always have a habit of wrenching the happy music off the turntable? Sorry the weekend ended badly, but don't beat yourself up about the boys' reactions. It really isn't your fault, and in saying things like that they're trying as best as their little minds will let them to come to terms with the situation they're in. They haven't the language to express what they feel in any other way, and they're adjusting and (as you know) it takes time. But they will adjust to it, and be better for it. Honest. Two happy, well-adjusted parents living fulfilled but separate lives is better than any amount of time with two people who's relationship is over.

  2. I have written and re-written this comment a million times. I know what I want to say but cannot rely on text to say it how I mean it.

    I wish that we were all living the dream life that surely now we deserve. Or maybe that's our next lifetime, Mergatroid *sigh*

    Love you lots, Lurgatroidx x x

  3. I'm with Dotteral, wise words indeed. Hope it gets a bit better today. Shall I send you a smiling vibe? Hold on to your hat it's coming your way.
    See it works! How smiley are you?
    You'd better be smiling by now or I'll have to tell you a joke.
    And I only know rubbish ones.

    Go on then:
    What do you call an Italian with a rubber toe?

  4. I'm with the above.
    Hang in there.
    Time is the healer of all things, or at least it helps to numb the pain.
    Much love,

  5. Sending you hugs, it will get easier, it has to.

  6. Splitting up sucks, and my balloon is easily deflated too. Sending cuddles and hot coffee.

  7. Oh darling. It can't be easy for any of you, but the most important thing is that the boys have parents who love them so much (whether or not they're together). So much better than having parents around who don't care about them, or fight with each other. You're doing the absolute best you can and they will get used to it. In the meantime, keep doing what you're doing, keep being brave and things will get better. Kisses and hugs x

  8. They perceive their old pre-split lives as happy, and perfect. But that's a child's perception. You know better, but you can't yet explain to them.

    I'm sorry it's so tough.

  9. Thank you everyone. Apologies for being so lazy and not responding to each of you in person. Dotterel - such a thoughtful and meaningful comment that I have truly taken to heart. Millennium - you really did make me smile and actually I thought the joke was quite brilliant and I will be stealing it to add to my pitiful reportiore.

    And the biggest thank you to Captain Underpants who yesterday, quite spontaneously before swimming class, stopped in his tracks and looked directly into my eyes and said, 'You are such a lovely mummy.' So of course, instead of simply accepting the compliment I pressed him on it and asked why, expecting something deep and meaningful. 'Well, because you buy us great presents. And take us swimming. I am lucky to have the best mummy ever.' So it doesn't quite negate the sorrow he feels at his parents not being together, but at least I am still up there, in his little world. And that makes me feel so much better.

    Thanks again ALL OF YOU. Your kind words and wishes help so much.

  10. Hi Nicola, thank you for commenting on my blog so I could find you and read this heartwrending piece. You are so strong to get through this so far from 'home'.

    As to your comment - WOW lol! You made me laugh with your confession about your little secret.

  11. Hope it gets easier for you ...

  12. Sending you my best happy vibes for a happier week ahead. Hang in there.

  13. It is hard on the kids. And so hard to hear them articulate their unhappiness, I know. But it's fantastic that yours do obviously feel able to voice their feelings. And they are resilient little things and will be fine. Having a happy (sea sand sprinkled!) mum is key. x

  14. Ahh i'm sure the boys will be fine with it all eventually, kids are resiliant and they have a great mum! Can't imagine how hard this all is on you but you sound like you have alot of good friends around you to get you through.

    P.s I love Millennium Housewife's joke :)

  15. I've been there so many times over the last ten months. So many times. And I wish I knew the magic answer, but I don't.

    I'm sending virtual hugs your way.