It’s funny how fast things come around. I guess it’s a function of ageing.
It feels like hardly any time since I wrote this post about how weirdly isolating it is, as a single parent, when your only child goes on holiday with her Dad for two weeks. And how people who haven’t stood in your shoes tell you to make the most of your “time off” … but they don’t understand that it really, really doesn’t feel like time off.
It feels long, and it feels like everything is just a bit off-kilter.
It’s been a whole year since I wrote that post. So today I waved Flea off for two weeks that she’ll spend with her Dad, having a fantastic time, I’m sure.
Probably, I’ll spend two weeks working like a demon, so I can spend the rest of the summer with my partner in crime. I’ll have meetings and write reports, and make plans for all the things we’ll be doing at work during the Autumn.
I’ll make some time for me, too. I’ll swim and I’ll see friends, and I’ll do all the stuff I usually do. But it just won’t be half as much fun without Flea here to distract me, to drag me to the beach, or the park, or to read her latest story, or rub her back while she falls asleep.
I know that one day it’ll be like this because Flea will be older and be mortified by the very notion of my presence, but not now. For now, she’s eight, and I hate, hate, hate missing out on this time with her. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the suckiest part of divorced parenting. It’s this time of year I think wistfully of being married and never having to hand off my child knowing she’ll wake up for the next 14 days somewhere else. Somewhere not with me.
And maybe it’s just me, but I’ll torture myself daily with all the terrible things that could be happening while I am Not There For My Child. And not just during the day – I used to think waking up screaming from a nightmare was a myth until this time last year. I’m a bit neurotic at the best of times (apparently not everyone still chops grapes for 8 year olds and drills their child in Drop and Roll just in case of unexpected fireball incidents) but separate me from my offspring for any length of time and my conscious and subconscious both lose any sense of perspective and probability.
Clearly, I need a project to prevent myself from embracing Miss Havisham levels of tragic doom. So I have challenged myself to achieve not one, but THREE things, while my daughter is off risking life and limb at Center Parcs *cough*
First, Flea will come home just before her birthday and this year, I’m going to bake a cake. This could be a significant challenge, since every cake Flea has ever had has been pre-ordered from the nice people at M&S or Waitrose. I may need to rope my 12-year-old niece in to prevent culinary carnage.
Second, I’m going to set up the new TV and audio kit we got sent to review – which has been sitting behind the dining table in boxes for, ooh, about two months.
Third, I’m going to re-watch as many episodes of Gilmore Girls as is humanly possible without actually fusing with the furniture. What? Don’t look at me with those disapproving eyes. Gilmore Girls rocks.