A quick google search provided me with this definition of survival:-
This got me thinking. One person's idea of an ordeal or difficult circumstances may not be anothers. It's all relative. As one of The Friends puts it: "if the Princess in the castle breaks her nail for the first time then it's probably gonna feel like a catastrophe if that's the worst things that's ever happened to her". And so, this post doesn't make any claims to be a story of survival that compares to that of others, but it is a story of survival that is personal to me.
When you arrived my life changed. Just like that. It was no longer all about me. Now it was about you. I wanted to give you the world. For the first year of your life it felt as if everything had fallen into place. The future was full of excitement. And then things changed. Suddenly and without any real explanation, my relationship with your Dad unravelled. We tried to work out why, to make things work. For us to be a family. I wanted you to experience the ease of family life that I had grown up knowing. All of us living together in our family home, loving each other, sharing our lives. Sadly, it wasn't to be.
After a lot of heartache, we agreed that it was for the best for us all if me and your Dad were to separate. We both love you dearly and we longed to be with you as much as possible. We wanted you to retain your relationship with us both and to keep a real sense of who your family are. We reached the agreement that we would co-parent you. From that day to this you have split your time equally between the two of us.
I was the one to move out of the 'family home'. It had to me as your Dad's parents owned the damn thing so it was only right and proper that I didn't remain there really. The night I left that house knowing that you were still there inside scared the hell out of me. I was frightened that you would grow up thinking that I had left you. I hated the thought that you were there at 'home' and I wasn't. That your home, the only one you had known at that time, was no longer my home.
During my first night away from you, my heart ached. I wept. I now knew what loneliness really meant. I didn't know how I would ever cope with feeling that way again. But I knew that I had to cope for you and for me. There was no option. We were in this awful situation and now the only thing I could do was to dig deep and find the best possible way I could to make our new circumstances work best for you. You were only eighteen months old and so didn't know that anything was amiss. You had been used to me and your Dad splitting the childcare and taking it in turns to tuck you into bed so it wouldn't seem strange to you that there was just one or the other of us there. I rented us a house for a few months until I could scrape the money together to buy a flat for us to live in. There was a lot of change for us both but you coped so well. Knowing you were ok made my life so much easier at a time when very little felt easy.
Life since that first night we weren't together hasn't always been straightforward. There have been times when the sacrifice of co-parenting, from a selfish perspective, has felt too great. I lived in fear about many things for a long time. My main fear always being how you would cope with not having your family all together. How would this affect you? What might we have done to you by not being able to live together. Others can be judgemental in situations such as these. Everyone has an opinion. "A child should be with it's mother" came the words of wisdom in the early days from some who should have known better. It took a lot of strength for me to stand by our decision. To do what I have always believed to be the right thing for you. There wasn't, and isn't, a choice. Life has gone on. Just in a different way. As heartbreaking as it is at times, not having you with me as much as I would like, seeing you thrive makes it all worthwhile. You are an incredible boy who I am confident will grow into an incredible man.
We faced, what felt to me at the time to be, an impossible situation. We have survived that situation together. You have given me the strength I needed to get through. I feel privileged to have you as my son. I am as proud as any parent could be. You have shown me that 'home' is where the people you love are, it's not the bricks and mortar. And, it would seem that it's more than possible to have more than one home. I ask you about this sometimes. I say "how is it for you, living in two places?" and you make my heart swell when you tell me that you "actually quite like it. There's no time to get bored mummy and there are lots of people who love me. I have a really big family. " It's true. We are in a happy place and you are surrounded by people who love you more than you will ever realise. And you have a great relationship with both parents who adore you and who will always be there for you, loving and supporting you.
Nothing in this life is perfect. Too many of us get hung up on thinking there is a 'right way' to live. Doing things in a different way from the expected way isn't a negative thing if it works for you, always remember that. I hope when you are older and you think back to your childhood you will have happy family memories of our lives together being well lived.
I love you with all my heart. Always.