This week my ex-wife has been in the US for work related shizzle. She left on Friday and is due back on Monday which means, for 10 days it’s just me and my children. Brilliant!
But it’s also been really tough.
Now, don’t get me wrong, absolutely nothing about spending time with my children since last Friday has been terrible. We’ve had fun even though we’ve had some illness, teething issues, very early mornings, some refusals to get dressed, the odd bit of bickering, and a bit of upset from T when he’s not wanted to go to playgroup. I find it a compliment to me that, instead of wanting to play with his friends at playgroup, he would prefer to stay at home and play, make train sets, watch a DVD, and just generally have fun at home. This is great. Without a doubt.
What has been tough has been staying at my old house. Living there. I’ve had to do this as my flat is too small to contain my children’s zeal and exuberance, and plus all their toys are here. But what’s been odd, apart from the total general weirdness of it all, is sleeping in a bed I’ve slept in so many times. I slept in this bed in the spare room since K was born in October 2010, when my ex decided that my presence in the marital bed offended her, and did so until I moved out in April 2012. It feels weird.
Gosh I’m so erudite.
It feels like a reminder of something that once was, was not good, and a painful time where I’d analyse what on earth was going wrong, try to find solutions, and no good would come of them. As such I’ve not had the best few night’s sleep. Plus, she’s put four clocks in that room which together tick a beat like something produced by Roni Size and they drive me insane!
The painful, unsettling oddness is enhanced by seeing familiar things all around me, and seeing how some things haven’t moved an inch since I moved out in April. But knowing that I can’t move them or put them away because it’s not my house any more.
Case in point. There’s a thermostatic radiator valve and an adjustable spanner that have been sitting in the downstairs cloakroom since I tried to fix a badly installed radiator fitted by an incompetent tradesman who refused to come back and correct his mistakes, and it’s been there since just before I left. I should put it away in the garage but, it’s not my house any more, and so such things could be deemed as interfering or doing something that doesn’t concern me, and I don’t want the grief for that.
I’ve wanted to clean the windows and tidy up the garden a bit. Hoover my ex’s car and give it a wee clean. Fill a couple of holes in walls created when we removed the stairgates from around the house a few weeks back. But it’s not my place to despite any good intentions behind it.
We have a strange relationship now. We are united, mostly, on what we want for our children, and are on the same page discipline-wise. But outside of that we don’t have anything to say to each other. I’ll look after the children when she has Book Group, see them at the weekend, look after them when she has a night out with friends, but we’re like strangers. Yes, we share something special but prefer not to recognise any of the history behind that.
I think we stopped being friends when we became parents.
My ex is the mother to our children and I will always help and support, however and whenever I can. She’s a brilliant, intelligent and determined woman and I have nothing but total and utter respect for her professionally, as a person and I am proud of all she has achieved. But I’m not sure she feels the same about me. Or ever did. Perhaps it’s been like that since I moved to the spare bedroom all those years ago. Perhaps it happened before. Dunno.
I don’t blame her for this. I know my depression got in the way, and I know that she found that hard to deal with. Found me hard to deal with. But I’m dealing with that aspect of my life now and I feel more positive that I can manage it. I think part of the reason I was so depressed towards the end of our marriage is because I knew it was ending.
I really don’t know what I’m saying here. A load of typical navel-gazing old bollocks I suspect. Or maybe something along the lines of ‘some things change and others just stay the same.’ Or perhaps they’ve always been like that and I just didn’t notice. Dunno.
All I do know is that this time with my children has been special. Very special indeed and I’ve loved every second. There are also other aspects of my life which are so joyous my heart smiles. That’s all I need to know. The rest, the past, is another country. The present and all I have to look forward to in the future is where I live now.
I think I’ll take the batteries out of those sodding clocks for a few days so I can sleep a bit better. Remind me to put them back on Monday morning won’t you?
Thanks for reading.