I know it's been a while since I last wrote but a lot has been happening and most of it I didn't feel able to share, not until now anyway...
So I am now officially a 'single parent'! And what have I learnt so far in my limited experience of this new situation? That going it alone is hard, maybe an obvious reflection but so true. The complexities of relationship breakdowns are multiplied by the addition of children. In reality when most relationships come to an end there is a very real chance that you will never speak to or come into contact with your ex ever again. However when you have a child with someone this changes the dynamics considerably.
I do not wish to share everything, most being extremely personal to myself and Gavin but needless to say we came to the painful conclusion that we could not continue living together. I guess sometimes in order to fix what is broken you have to step back and see it from a whole new angle and that can be hard to do when you are constantly in each other's space. But as I have already said in a previous blog, 'There is nothing lost, that cannot be found, if sought' and I truly believe this. It's just maybe you have to look for it in a different way...So although Gavin and I may have closed this particular chapter of our lives, characters can return to a story at any time. You should never assume that you know the ending to a good story because you may be pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns that occur.
Anyway enough metaphor bashing. What are the realities of single parenting? Well the sudden realisation that whereas before there were two of you to do everything, now all that 'everything' falls to you. I am truly exhausted by the aloneness of it all. That is not to say that Gavin hasn't been around, he has of course retained a very close relationship with his daughter. And I am aware that for him this whole situation is doubly hard, being away from Emily is heartbreaking and he is handling it with a strength of character that most, I fear, do not possess. I myself am not sure I could deal with the situation so well were the tables turned. To add to the aloneness and exhaustion is the financial worry and the endless form filling, spending everyday carefully watching your bank balance and praying that your claim comes through before all the direct debits come out. Trying to figure out what you are entitled to and spending ridiculous amounts of time 'on hold'! Sleeping alone in an empty house, that's tough! Knowing that you are the only person that stands between your daughter and an unwelcome intruder.
And all the time you are battling through you are also desperately trying to keep a sense of normality for your daughter's sake and well for your own too. Life doesn't stop just because you don't feel like joining in. Take College as a prime example, I still have classes to attend, assignments to write and these are just as important especially if I am going to change that conditional offer at University to a firm one come July. Another tricky part is fielding the constant questions of 'where is daddy?'. I mean honestly how do you explain this situation to a two year child? Answer, you don't. We told her that although daddy has gone to live with Nanny and Grandad, that he loves her very much and will always be around and left it at that. That's about as much as she can understand at her age and being the product of a parental breakdown myself I am not so sure that being her age isn't better really. Being SO aware of what is happening around you, to your family is not always a good thing. Besides, amazingly, children seem to adapt very quickly and I am certain that she will be over all this long before Gavin and I are.
And on a more positive note I have a new found admiration for all the single parents that I know. My mother being one, raising three girls alone and trying to hold down a full-time job at the same time. My best friend, my aunty and some of the wonderful women that I attend college with. I draw strength from their experiences and their assurance that with like so many other things in life, a little bit of time, it will get easier.