Thursday, August 18, 2011

Unintentional Eavesdropping

I press the phone closer to my ear.

In the background I can hear muffled chatter and lots of laughter.  An American woman, requesting ever so politely to a waitress that none of her food comes within spitting distance of butter.

"Hello?  Hello, are you still there?  Hey big guy - talk to me!"

I press the phone even closer to my ear, straining to hear the sound of my son's voice, but he is too obviously engrossed in the happy family situation he is a part of, while on holiday with Ex and American Girlfriend.

I try to shut out the sound of her voice, intermingled in normal everyday conversation with his.

They sound really happy.  I can almost hear the smiles in their distant voices, via this unusually clear mobile phone reception.  I feel the bitter taste of envy rising from my stomach and the tears begin to smart behind my eyes.

Oh, not again.

For God sake, you big nelly...are you not over this already?

Just when I think I have a handle on this.  On her.  On him and her.  And them (meaning, of course, the boys), I get challenged.  I get a peek into their life together and Oh-My-God it always sounds so bloody picture perfect.  So very balanced.  Two loving adults.  Two happy children.  One small yappy type dog. What could be better?

It just still makes me sad that it isn't me that is able to provide this for them.

Finally, Johnny Drama returns his attention to the phone, whilst still clearly distracted.  "Bye Dad!  I mean Mum.  I love you...bye."

The phone is duly passed to his big brother.  I get to overhear yet more laughter at the dinner table.  Oh joy.  Lucky, lucky me.  "Hey Mum.  I went in a tow truck today!  Bye."

That's it.  That's my lot for today.  I hang up the phone and try not to cry.  Thank God they're happy.  Thank God.  Thank God.  Thank God.  It's all I want for them.  But, fuck me, it hurts that they just sound SO happy.  Surely a little bit of a grump, maybe a moan or two, possibly a few tears, wouldn't be too much to ask?

I miss them.  It's been 10 days since I have seen them and, despite having a lovely time in Chicago with my friends, I am beginning to crave my boys.  Life is beginning to feel distinctly off-kilter without them around.

It's been a fun summer.  We have already been to visit friends in Stockholm and had a blast swimming in the Baltic (brrrrr) nearly every day.  Seven kids, one dog, two cats and three parents (intent on having at least one alcohol free day, but never quite managing it.  Can't imagine why.).

The boys are approaching their 6th and 8th birthdays and seem to have turned a maturity corner.  They are becoming young men.  Their company is delightful.  I am head over heels in love with them right now.

And I guess it's a good thing that I am not the only one.

It's what I have always wanted for them - to be surrounded by love.  To be a part of a really happy family.


Right.  Where's my drink?  Let's make an attempt to drown these tears (and the sound of their combined laughter) in a litre of California's finest.

After all, looking on the bright side it's not as if a hang-over is going to matter...I'm not due to get woken up at 6am and be on 'summer fun' duty for another 4 days.  Might as well get the vino opened and make the most of it.


  1. I know how much your love your boys, and it IS so much better for them to be having a good experience when they're with their Dad and AG. Just imagine (and I've been in this situation) if they were on the phone asking to go home because they hated it and it was impossible to go and get them? As difficult as this is for you, and I honestly do understand what you're feeling, the alternative is so much worse. Take care hun xx

  2. notsupermum is right, BUT it's not the whole story. What you describe is heart-rendingly painful for you, and you are important in all this too. So don't discount your feelings (discount as in dis-count, not as in what you hope to get at Best Buy).

    I don't know if this helps, or makes it worse, but maybe it's not quite as straightforward for the boys as the impression they give you. Maybe they were embarrassed talking to you in front of AG. Maybe they were trying to sound like everything was super-fun to spare her feelings, and their Dad's. Maybe they were trying to spare yours a little too. I'm always amazed at the complexity and subtleness and maturity of children's feelings and their understanding of other people's feelings. You probably don't want to probe too much at this point, but in the future, maybe they'll say to you "you know Mum, I really missed you in those summer holidays, but I didn't want you to be sad so I didn't tell you", or something that will take your breath away.

    Beautifully written, as always.

    Is subtleness a word, by the way?

  3. Yes, beautifully written. I can feel your anguish. You don't want it to hurt, but it does. I struggle with this too and omg it hurts. While I look after the kids on a daily basis doing all the hard stuff, ex gets to look after them on Sundays and at night times when I'm out and it's like he does all the fun things with them. Then of course, I think that they are going to prefer to stay here with him instead of come home with me and I get all upset and jealous and horrible. It sucks.

    But YOU, and only you, are their mum. The boys love you like they love no other. It's OK for them to be happy with their dad, you know that already, but no-one can replace you. And remember, they're on holiday, which is much different to living life with them on a day to day basis. You give them so many things that he can't because he is not there every day. You are their safe place.

    Hugs, Jo

  4. What everyone else has already said. And enjoy the wine. I'm about to tuck into some myself so will give you a virtual clink.

  5. Ooh, I can comment today. Yesterday bolllocky Blogger kept signing me out. Anyway, I was going to say that liking "her" doesn't mean they love you any less. Kids have huge hearts!