It has taken me 6 months to write this blog. Plus many false starts. I didn’t think it would take this long; I figured a couple of months at most would do it and then I’d be back in the swing of things.
At the beginning of the year, things changed massively for me. The fine details don’t seem necessary or appropriate, but the short version is: I am no longer with my husband, and Alex spends half his time with me, and the other half with his dad.
Six months to write the words. Half a year to know how to type it in the way that I wanted to, without drama or fuss, but as a statement of fact. And, actually… it’s ok. Everything is ok.
My biggest worry was always going to be Alex. How could we tell him? How could we completely pull his life apart? How could we remain steady and stable for him when we were reeling from the shock ourselves? We spent a long time thinking about what he needed to know to help his 3 year old brain understand, rehearsing how we would tell him, making the conditions as favourable as possible. And then, on the day I moved out, we sat him down and said it. His reaction? He smiled. Then he rolled around in delight. He asked if he could bring his Batcave to Mummy’s new house. Then he carried on as normal.
Is that it then?
All that fretting, and this is it?
And the answer to that is yes, actually. That is it. In six months, I can count the number of wobbles he’s had about his new living arrangements on one hand. Possibly even on one finger. He knows exactly how many nights he spends in each house and when, and has his routine sorted. This is his normal, and he’s happy that way.
A lot of it was down to his nursery. I spoke to them before we told him, desperate for answers. I couldn’t have asked for more from them. His wonderful, unflappable key worker gave me a tissue and pulled a book from the cupboard about a boy called Alex who had two homes. That woman is magic, I’m telling you. I went home clutching the book like it might just save my life. Even now they sometimes read it at story time: the whole group hearing about Alex and his two houses, while my Alex feels like a rockstar as “guess what! I’M called Alex and I have two houses too!”. He has been overheard saying to his friends “oh do you only have one bedroom? I have two you know”. Show off.
My own ride has been bumpier. But that’s ok, and expected. I’m not going to lie, some nights I stay awake wondering what on earth I have done. Knowing it’s the right thing doesn’t always make it the easiest thing. But then in the morning (at the crack of dawn), I’m woken by a small warm body wiggling under the covers (and there’s some space for me to move into now, because I’ve had the whole bed to myself all night), and there are rough kisses on my face, and my favourite voice in the world says “hello Mummy, is it morning?”, and everything feels wonderful. It’s going to take a lot more than having two homes to stop Alex from being the happiest child ever known.
One morning, desperately thinking of a way I could get an extra ten seconds in bed, I blearily suggested to Alex that he went to the bathroom and took his nappy off, and then I would be along in a minute (come on legs come on eyes come on brain wake up wake up) to help him wash. His whole face lit up as he ecstatically shouted “Yeah! Let’s be a teamwork, Mummy!”, and all my insides melted and went fuzzy.
We walk along hand in hand, have in-jokes, make each other laugh until we’re breathless. Go on days out just the two of us, eat dinner in restaurants, create adventures. We spend time with the friends who have looked out for me and who care for us both.
They say it takes a village to raise a child – but I know it takes a tribe to hold Mummy together. I genuinely have no idea how I would have got this far without the support network around me. And the absolute best part is being a team of two with my magnificent, irrepressible boy. We will go out into our future together and continue to do what we’ve always done – make it up as we go along. So yes, little man: let’s. There is no-one I would rather be a teamwork with than you.