The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

A family reunited

Hoorah! With less than 12 hours to go, I feel I can safely congratulate myself on getting through nine months of solo parenting. On less than 12 bottles of wine throughout that time. Give or take a gin, whiskey or two. You know what, I think I may crack open a bottle of wine tomorrow in celebration.

It is not just the end to solo parenting that I’m looking forward to. Parenting in itself will throw up the same challenges whether there is one parent or multiples parents around. I don’t think in that respect, anything that I’ve had to deal with has been any harder just because I have been on my own. Though I think what has been hard is that there has been no respite from it. No one to give you that time to recharge yourself for the next round and no one to share the load of just how unreasonable small people can be. No one else for me to say, ‘Can you please just tell them…’ in a way that would suggest another person will make any difference to the bickering going on.

It has definitely been an intense nine months of solo parenting. And yet, I feel thankful for it too. Of course there have been plenty of times I have felt like quietly disappearing to my room to escape them but I would not exchange my role for Husband’s. I can imagine the last nine months has been harder on him being apart from us. Watching from afar as we have struggled through extremely tough and turbulent times and not being able to be the support that he wants to be.  Equally being unable to join in all the new experiences that we have had and all the new friends that we have made whilst trying to fill too much free time.

But we have made it through, as I knew we would. Although at the very beginning, before the very beginning when Husband first said that most likely I would have to come back alone with #1, 2 and 3, I did fleetingly wonder how that would work. How can you split a family apart and make it work? And for how long can you do that for? I had discussions with other friends in similar situations and we all decided that up to a year was doable. Anything longer is not sustainable. But thankfully we won’t have to think about that.

As I reflect upon the last nine months, I feel in a bit of a daze that so much time has gone by and in particular all that we have been through. It hasn’t been as simple as moving back and settling into a new town with new friends to find and a new routine to establish. All this and a bereavement too. Being on my own meant that I had to get up and get going every day. To do otherwise was out of the question. And there were many times that another parent would have helped the day run much better. I can think of the moments I would rather forget but I am also amazed and proud that we did get through them.

So finally, I feel it is time to exhale and relax a little. For when Husband arrives tomorrow, we will no longer be counting the days we have until our family is split across two continents and different time zones again. I feel that we can now start ‘living’ our new life. That’s not to say that #1, 2 and 3 and I have not been living our new life. We have and we are doing it really well. But it has also felt like we have been living ‘on hold’ too if you get what I mean.

Just last week, we were walking through town and noticing all the different places we have yet to try out and with Husband’s pending arrival, we can now include him in our plans and that feels so much better. We can start thinking about all the places we can explore and take him to visit the places that we’ve already been to. We can start thinking like a family.

This evening, #1, 2 and 3 were so excited it took them a long time to fall asleep. They cannot wait to see their Daddy. It’s been almost four months since they last saw him. I know people say children are much more resilient than we think and they have handled all the changes with acceptance and an open mind. But I have not enjoyed wiping away their tears over missing their Daddy and for him to miss out on Birthdays and school performances and the joy of their company (when all is good) on a regular day. We have asked a lot of the children and I would not want to put them through this again.

When you need to do something and you think at first you haven’t got it in you, it all falls into place eventually. Taking each day as it comes, you discover quite unexpectedly one day just how far you have come and surprise yourself with how good that feels. I have been strong and resilient and also fallen into a crumpled heap during this time. I have forced myself to be brave when I wasn’t feeling it. Being the only grown up in a household is quite scary. You have to lead the way all the time and be expected to know what to do! I will appreciate the company of another grown up so that I’m not the only one making all the decisions and that includes what we’re having for dinner every night.

Tomorrow starts the beginning of another new adventure and no doubt we will need some time to adjust again. But this time, we begin as a family reunited and it’s time we got to be one again.

Double hoorah!

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