No-one told me it was going to be this hard

I’ve not seen my children for a while. Its to do with this problem with my eye and the ongoing care and treatment I’m receiving. I’ve also moved out of their home and I’m trying to sort that out too. Life is in flux but something hit me the other day which should’ve hit me a while ago.

I’m not living with my children any more. I’m not going to be able to spend as much time with them as I want. Things have changed and I’m no longer a SAHD. They go to playgroup 4 days a week and. I’ve lost my old job and my old life. Less SAHD and more sad. So very sad sometimes.

I’m sorting things out. There’s stuff to do and stuff to get on with. It’s called Life 2.0. A wholly different one to the one I’m used to as a full-time parent. One that doesn’t involve my children on a day-to-day basis and one that has thrown me a bit. 12 hour days with 2 kids, 7 days a week, waking nights, ill children, fussy children, children who won’t sleep, children who say no to everything. Children who tantrum and children who just pay no attention.

But this is easy compared with life on your own.

For me it was the easiest job in the world because it was the best job in world.

The kids are fine. They’re with their mummy and they know I love them. They are told this every day.

I sent them a picture of me with my bandage on my eye so they could see how I was doing. My son has a Cookie Monster soft toy which he used to bash around and drop. As such, Cookie’s eye got damaged, so we stuck some funky plasters on it and told T that Cookie has a sore eye and the plasters would help so it didn’t get any worse. T bought it the story. I thought he’d like to see the same of me because T used to say that Cookie Monster and I looked alike.

K pointed at the picture, of me staring miserably out of one eye, and called out ‘Daddy Daddy’ about 20 times. T saw the picture and laughed.

I know because I received a text telling me.

So I have this blind in one eye thing going on, but also I have another thing going on with my eyes. Both of them.

They’re rarely dry.

I wake during the night and find myself crying. I’m walking down the road and seeing parents trying not to lose it in the supermarket while their kids ask to carry the shopping, or try to hold the basket or take sweeties home for dinner. And I start crying. I’m a breath away from sobbing amongst the sandwiches. Worse still, I hear the theme tune to TV show that I used to enjoy watching with my kids and that’s when I proper lose it. Proper lost it in fact. Yesterday. Gut wrenching sobs coming from an immense and sudden pain. A right here, right now moment which takes me over in a nanosecond, and one which governs my thoughts for the rest of the day. And worries me. Not worries me about me, but worries me for the future. Whatever the fuck that is.

Proper lose it. Fuck me, I’m turning into Danny Dyer. What a muppet. Anyhow, I digress.

I’ve been told it’s grief and natural. I’m grieving and I should let these feelings overwhelm me so I can deal with them. Allow them to come.

But the pain, the actual physical pain of your heart being battered makes me want to scream.

There’s this invisible thread between a parent and their children and every parent knows this. When you see parents with their kids the thread is the most visible thing in the world. It connects them both. Parents have their eyes out while their kids are roaming around and senses are on high alert. And the child knows this, knows where to go if something goes wrong, if they trip or fall, or if they get scared. That thread connects them, without either of them even knowing it’s there, is visible, shining and beautiful to see.

But when you’re hundreds of miles away? Does that thread still exist? Or is it being stretched and stretch so that one day it will simply snap.

One day I was looking after my children, as I’d been doing since 2009, and the next I was leaving home at 5.30am, being as quiet as I could so I didn’t wake anyone.

The job is to try to make sure this invisible thread doesn’t stretch and break, I guess. I know. I really really know that the next time I see my children I will feel better. But when T&K returned from Spain, and I saw my son for the first time in a couple of weeks, he smiled and shouted gleefully ‘Daddy!’ Great. But then he just stood there and gave me a look which I’d never seen before. An accusatory look. A look that said ‘Why?’ And then he crumbled and cried in a way that made me felt so terribly ashamed. He wouldn’t let me hug him and ran away from me.

The thread had gone.

I’m dreading getting this look again. As much as a thing I’m truly dreading something which may never happen. A conversation with my son or daughter in a few years time which begins with the question ‘Why couldn’t you find enough love to stay together with mummy? Were we not enough to keep you together?’

Some normality will re-enter my life. I’ll step back into a role I feel comfortable with, and enjoy every second of, as soon as I see them.It’s odd being one thing for so long and then not that thing less than 12 hours later. But things have to happen before I can do this. I need to do things. And life without my children is making me miserable and stopping me from getting on. But I can’t actually see them right now. And there’s nothing I can do about this.

Without them? Right now? I feel like a fraud. And as it hits me that life must go on without them around me, I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m not asking for comments on this post. I just need to write it and get on. Thanks for reading.

First published May 5th, 2012.

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