Well, where to start??
So much has happened since I last posted. I’ve held back from posting if I’m honest, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, everything was so raw to begin with that I could barely think straight, let alone make enough sense of what was going on in my head to write it down. Secondly, my life is so different now that I worried I’d have nothing interesting to say. Not that I was any great philosopher before you understand, but for the last few months I’ve just been functioning, not really living or doing anything of note. And thirdly, this blog has become known to some real-lifers that I don’t really want to share my personal thoughts and feelings with, if you know what I mean. Writing down your inner turmoil and sending it out into the ether is one thing but when you know certain people are reading you start to think ‘would I discuss this with that person face to face?’ and when the answer is no it becomes hard to write honestly without censoring yourself. So I thought I’d give it some time for the dust to settle before I started trying to blog anything personal again.
So what have I been up to since Matt and I separated? Well initially, Forrest and I moved into my parents house while I gave notice to my tenant that I was going to need my house back. Luckily I’d kept the house I bought before I met Matt and had been letting it, so at least I had somewhere to go. I felt terribly cruel, making someone homeless but I had no choice - I had to put Forrest and myself first. Luckily my tenant was a very understanding lady, she started looking for a new home straight away and I got my house back at the end of September. It had been rented out for the last six and a half years and was looking distinctly unloved - quite horrible in fact - so the first thing to do was give it a good clean and repaint it from top to bottom. I called in my wonderful family and they didn’t let me down. I got my keys on the Thursday morning and by the Monday night it looked like a new house, with only the kitchen and bathroom left to do. I had new carpets fitted on the Tuesday morning and started to move in on the Tuesday afternoon.
The first few weeks were a bit of a blur. I was exhausted from all the cleaning, painting, planning, ordering, packing and moving. My days were spent making lists of things I didn’t have and running backwards and forwards into town to buy a kettle, microwave, toaster etc and stock up my cupboards. Evenings were spent - once BT managed to get my address right and install my broadband - ordering a new washing machine and freezer, searching online for a kitchen table and chairs so that I could show Forrest how families eat together. I’ve borrowed things and had things given and everyone has been so kind. You certainly learn who loves you at times like this, that’s for sure.
Forrest seemed to settle in to his new home straight away. I brought him here to play a few times when it was empty, showed him his bedroom, let him explore the garden. He seemed to like it immediately and slept well here from the very first night, which surprised me as his sleep hadn’t been so great at my parents’ house. We’ve been through a few sticky patches since then but you know, he’s a two year old. It’s all to be expected. He spends a lot of time with his daddy, far more than he ever did when we all lived together, and he seems to have adapted well to time spent in two different homes. It broke my heart at first - I’d tried so hard to prevent this from being his life but it had to be this way. I wasted a lot of tears on the whole sorry situation but eventually I started to realise that what people were telling me was true. He really is fine. He loves us to spend time as a family but he’s equally happy with either one of us. He is the centre of two people’s universes, what could be better?
As for the relationship between Matt and I, well let’s just say it’s a work in progress. It’s been a rocky old path and we’re not at the end yet. There have been periods of blissful harmony, when we’ve had dinners together, days out as a family, called each other every night to discuss our current box set obsession. And there have been times when I’ve been so, so unbearably angry with him that I’ve felt like I’ve actually gone insane. That man knows how to push ALL of my buttons and he isn’t afraid to do it. The only thing we have to disagree about now is Forrest. We both want to spend as much time as possible with him and we both feel shortchanged by any suggested arrangement for access. I don’t know what the answer is - we haven’t found it yet. Forrest is so lucky to have a dad that wants to be a big part of his life and I don’t want to deny him that. But neither do I want to feel that I’m merely here to facilitate that relationship. Before the split I'd barely been apart from Forrest since the day he was born so I’m finding the enforced time apart very hard. REALLY hard. I wish I knew what to do and how to do it. I wish it wasn’t so hard.
We'll always be a family, we still feel like a team but there's this unbearable sadness that goes with it because we failed, we fucked it up and none of our lives will ever be the same again.
small child, giant dinner
Despite all the heartache and the stress, Christmas was actually really lovely. Forrest and I spent Christmas Eve alone together, I cooked a huge Christmas dinner just for us two which we hardly touched (lesson learned, I won't be doing that again) and I introduced Forrest to one of my favourite childhood Christmas films - The Snowman. He absolutely loved it, we watched it just before bedtime, in our pyjamas and snuggled under a blanket on the sofa with cups of warm milk. He was on the edge of his seat all the way through and talked non stop about what was happening on screen and tears ran down my face for how happy and sad I was all at the same time. We spent Christmas Day with my sister and her family and it was the loveliest, most laid-back Christmas Day I've had in years. I so appreciated and needed it.
More than anything I was looking forward to signing off on the year. Kissing 2015 goodbye, perhaps showing it my middle finger as it left. It was a bad, bad year. The end of my relationship was by far the worst thing but there have been other things. My health, particularly, has not been good and I'm really hoping that can be changed soon. I need to stop hiding from my problems and start facing them head on, for they cannot be solved any other way.
2015 was a year of disappointments, of let downs and mistakes and mishandlings of situations. I don't know what the future holds, I don't even know what I want it to hold. I can't imagine where I'll be this time next year. Life is so different now to how it was this time last year, for so many reasons. I'm 34 and I'm a single parent. This was never in my plan.
Someone said something to me in the early days after the split, when I was struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel and felt like I was hanging on to my sanity by a teeny tiny thread
Oh but my darling, you’re doing fine! This is how it’s done - with doubt and discomfort and reaching out - it feels futile but you’re doing beautifully. Keep up the good work, stay strong, stay positive and you’ll have a bright and fulfilling future ahead of you