Life as a single parent has been tough going, yet empowering. It’s a hard thing to put into words, but there is a distinct sense of emptiness wafting about our home and my mind.
I have never felt more challenged as a parent, or more needed. I never thought Raff would feel this missing and longing for his daddy so deeply. Even Elsie, my carefree two year old, exclaimed to me on one of my trips to comfort her back to sleep last night, “I ‘iss dadda”.
They’ve been amazing, and somehow, within them, have known to be a little gentler and kinder on me. Raff has shown real compassion for a 4 year old. There have been moments he’s amazed me with his empathy and filled me with pride. Yet he too, is feeling it all quite intensely. He has sniffed the life out of a t-shirt Oli wore on his last day and left for him to snuggle in bed.
The kids need me now more than ever and whilst it’s easy to drift about in a state of exhausted and sleep deprived zombiedom, I have to get myself together and try to be present. I’ve been holding them close, talking about their dad, listening to their feelings and reassuring them it won’t be much longer. But to the little boy who idolises him, it’s confusing him being gone so long.
Poor Elsie is sick again. A recurring chesty cough and fever which keeps coming back. I was up in the night more times than I care to admit despite going to bed at 9.30. Sleep has not been my friend since Ol left and I can only assume it’s connected. Somehow.
The flip side to all this and of course there is one… it has been liberating cooking food I fancy and not thinking about anyone else. Putting the kids to bed when I feel like it rather than rushing it so we can have some quiet after the long day. And no snoring! It was worth it just for that…
But tonight as I find out the results of Raff’s school application, I really long to be with their dad, to share it with him and to be together. It’s such a milestone and yet we are thousands of miles apart and he as yet has no idea about any of this. It’s made me full of admiration and respect for those who single parent or who have lost their partner. Parenting on your own is tough and there is no sounding board at the end of the day to share it all with. And there is no one to help with the load of chores to be done as a parent. And there are, so many, chores!
In all this I’ve found one thing to be a huge comfort, getting back to basics. We’ve taken many a late walk after teatime, trips to the park or to feed the ducks well after we normally would. Getting out, and letting the children be at one with nature is healing. Healing for me as much for them. There seems less fighting when we’re out the house and fresh air is such a tonic for us all. I am cooped up in here every night so it’s liberating calling it at 6pm and saying, right, coats on, we’re heading out on a walk. The kids love it, I may keep this new ritual long after their daddy comes home.
We’ve done a lot of art too. It’s so therapeutic for the children. Raff is into colouring and painting, drawing portraits of his dad mostly, and mountains (the ones his dad is climbing). Oh how your children teach you as much as you do them!
I bought myself a bunch of tulips today along with an armful of spring greens to make soup to help heal my little babies back to wellness. I told myself they were in honour of 10 days on my own with the kids, and the 14 we have left to go.
Thanks for stopping by and for all your lovely messages on instagram. I’m ok, really I am. If anything I’ve realised, life is about growth, every experience is there to help shape you. This none more so. I hope I’ll be in full bloom by May.