In the old days, pre-parenthood, when Steve went away for a few weeks…well I missed him of course…but at the same time it meant more nights out with friends, remote control to myself, no need to shave my legs and huge lazy lay-ins at the weekend.
The six monther I would have traded everything for him to be at home, but still there was only me and him to worry about (well and his grandma. We actually got closer when he was away because I used to phone her with updates on him and she always knew what to say from her embroidered chair with the big floral teacup and saucer by her side. I still miss her you know).
Anyway, now as a mum. Looking after his little boy who misses him so much I can see it hurt. Now it’s totally different.
To him it isn’t a few weeks. It’s an unimaginable time. He can’t put his finger on the end and that’s scary.
He seems to potter along pretty good natured. His only cares in the world being when he will see his new best friend Alex (Charlie dared to go off to school, so Josh seems to have replaced him), when he can watch Octonauts next, and whether I’ve got the supermarket own version of goodies bars this week again.
Then once a week he will hit meltdown. Last week it was over not wanting to go to the bathroom on his own….even though he doesn’t need me there anymore. Suddenly it was the hugest deal to have complete control over where mummy was. It was one of those crisis’ where I could do absolutely nothing right. I just had to be there until he’d tired himself out. Quietly offer hugs…
Until he finally took one.
He melted into me, his face sticky, eyes puffy, exhausted and admitted “I just want my daddy back”.
We sat in almost complete silence for at least ten minutes.
Me with quiet tears he couldn’t see behind him, because us mums always just want to be able to make everything better don’t we. And sometimes we just can’t. Him no cry left in his little body. Confused, finally saying he was cross with daddy.
It was a bit of a turning point to be honest. It meant I could shift the anger onto daddy’s boss (hope he never meets him. He’s just the right height to punch him in the…).
“Daddy would love to come home but his boss said he has to stay until everything is fixed”. Seemed to work. He needed to know daddy wanted to be with him too.
He gave in to talking to his daddy doll that night too. We pretend it’s a radio. Daddy’s is broken but he can hear us so we can tell him about his day. Steve knows just enough by text, so that when he can call, he can do a good impression of having heard it all before.
And things went by quietly for another week.
Me bored because my best friend isn’t here in the evenings (yes I know that’s cheese but got to be honest), working a bit too much just to be busy, getting frustrated that my camera is broken and for me that’s my way of keeping going.
I picked up a bouncy boy at nursery. The first sign things weren’t right was his refusal to do his shoes. Not in the “I can’t be bothered” way. A chance to feel looked after by me after a day with others. You can see the subtle difference in them sometimes can’t you.
As we got to the front door of the building all hell breaks loose. “I waaaaaanted tooo press the buttoooooooon!!!!!!”. I was down on his level, like those good ole manuals tell you, explaining how he could go back in and push it….and another mum with her older son came by making a point to thank him for holding the door (he was actually hanging on it, dangerously close snot face to anyone that walked out) and giving me that knowing look of “we’ve all been there” bless her heart.
We got to the car and “Noooo, I wanted to be the winner!!!” Oh Mummy mistake number two, never let ape-sh*t child get to anything second. Always first you rookie.
After back and forths he’s in the car. “Mummy I just missted daddy”. I know dude. I know.
By the time we were home, and thanks to the day 4 “your daily mix” on Spotify (Steve has ruined all the others by listening to rock on MY Spotify), things were poignantly quiet. I pulled up in the drive, turned to ask if he was okay.
“Yes mummy, just need hugs”.
Crouching down on the cold driveway we hugged and he muttered “I just wanted to go to work with daddy, just one time please” and his face crumpled along with my heart, and he tears came. Not angry ones this time though. Just sad ones. Defeated ones.
We ended the night in my bed. After a fair bit of messing about to check I was staying, he fell asleep. All hot from the duvet 59 times his size. One foot hanging out like me and his dad do. On daddy’s pillow. Making funny expressions in his sleep.
And I get a text from Steve.
How are you?
Well kiddo was a bit tricky at bedtime and I’m a bit bored but we’re cool.
What about you?
PS to all those sweet people who worry. We are fine. Muddling along. Happy most of the time. It’s the emotional times that stick in your though isn’t it? And then your write them down and it helps somehow. Thats what this is. Getting it out. And now we are cool again x