I have had the week off, it is half term again.
The Summer is nearly upon us and while I am very excited about this, I love the warmer weather and longer days, I am also very conscious of the fact that time is moving very quickly.
On the whole we have done very little. Elsie and Tom have been busy socialising, which is more than can be said for me, although I did have a date on Tuesday…. but even that seems like a lifetime ago. Mostly, we have just enjoyed being at home and being out of the loop for a little while.
In less than 6 weeks it will be the Summer holidays and the end of another school year.
It seems like less than five minutes ago when I announced the self same thing last year.
Elsie is 16 at the end of Summer and already busy revising for her exams, while talking about what she will do in 6th form and where she will go to university and how far she will travel on her gap year and so on and so on and I am happily sitting in my chair in the garden, in complete denial of the fact that she is growing up. FAST!
However, it is becoming quite difficult to ignore the fact that they are both growing up before my eyes.
I have accepted the fact that I am now the smallest member of the household and I don’t mind, although it does annoy me when I can reach the showerhead in the mornings! Luckily it doesn’t happen too often as Tom still has a slight aversion to washing.
Yesterday Tom and I had one of those awkward conversations, which I fear will be the first of many.
The football coach had arranged a night at his house to watch the game, so we thought we would go along. We do not have any sports channels at home and Tom was very keen to watch the Champions League Final, he is a spurs supporter, so this seemed ideal opportunity. Just to be on the safe side though and because usually I am the only bloody female at these things, I did email the coach beforehand to ask if this was a lads night and was reassured that it wasn’t. Everyone, Mum’s and Dad’s, had been invited. Phew!
It was a beautiful day yesterday and I was in the garden catching some rays when Tom appeared, casting a huge shadow over me. He looked perplexed.
“What’s up?” I said. To which he replied. “Mum, what are you wearing later, you’re not going to dress up are you?”
My initial reaction was one of surprise, Tom rarely shows interest in anyone’s appearance, not even his own, so this sudden interest in my wardrobe was a little unnerving. Suddenly the realisation that he didn’t want me to go, hit me, hard. Beneath my thankfully very large sunglasses I tried not to cry. I’m not sure why I wanted to cry, but a whole load of fucked up feelings were rushing around in my head at the same time and inevitably that usually leads to tears. I must be hormonal.
Sometimes I just feel like I haven’t tried to do right by them. That as a Mother I should have provided them with a Father, after all that is kind of the deal, it’s what everyone expects the moment you start mentioning children, that you have, or at the very least have had a husband at some point.
I never married my children’s father, in all honesty it is pretty amazing that I managed to get two children at all, with the amount of actual time we spent together being very little. We officially separated when Tom was just 18months old, but our relationship was awful from start to finish. Fact.
My feeling at the time was that us being together was having a negative effect on both the children, in particular Elsie as she was slightly older and that we would be better apart, for all our sakes. On the whole I have been right about that. However, I had hoped and for the most part encouraged him to maintain his relationship with them, but sadly he chose not to and after fleeting moments of guilt that brought him in and out of their lives, he finally turned his back for the last time and went off to raise someone else’s children. Bitter? No! Fucking angry at the barefaced bastard? Yes!
But… this post is not really about him, it is about me and my feelings about what is right for my children.
Until yesterday the thought had never crossed my mind that my children might need a father. A man of the house so to speak. Well OK, maybe occasionally. There are those odd moments that happen, when the thought just pops in to your head. Like the other day when Elsie and I were watching TV, a young girl was getting married and her father was talking about what it meant to him to be able to walk her down the aisle, how proud he was of her.
Then I get a lump in my throat, because who will walk Elsie down the aisle?
It should be her useless streak of a father, but it will more than likely be her brother, who hopefully she will grow to like a bit more by the time any talk of weddings starts and he has made it out of his teenage years alive. The sight of my beautiful children walking together as adults, at what will be one of the happiest times of their lives, will fill me with absolute pride and delight and is something I very much hope to see, one day, but like with most things it will be bittersweet.
As a mum I can not hope to equally fill the shoes of both parents, I can over compensate and try to be there at the guy things and the girl things. I can try to be good cop and bad cop alternately, soft and firm, a cake baker and a fixer upper, but I can’t be a guy and therefore I can’t be one of the lads.
It was a little bit heart breaking yesterday to be made fully aware that my darling boy, who I would quite literally go to the ends of the earth for, wanted to have his own dad to go and watch the game with.
As we chatted about it all, it became increasingly obvious that he was just embarrassed about going to a game with his mum. He was worried, the other boys would make fun of him, that I would look “too nice” or that I might have a drink and talk to someone, heaven forbid, or that I would just generally be mum and not dad, who would obviously be much cooler at this sort of thing than me.
My own mum, who is often keen to point out (in the nicest possible way), that what we need is man about the place, reads a lot of Mills & Boon and thinks that every man owns an oil rig, or a cattle ranch and is desperate to settle down with a petite, not so helpless, blonde woman and look after a ready made family of teenagers. Form an orderly queue please… *rollseyes
She has the best of intentions, I know, but seriously!
I do sometimes worry that I have left it too late to find anyone who will love us as a family, but there is also a part of me that thinks it is just better that way. That we are better the three of us, despite our moments.
We will undoubtedly have many more moments to come, days when both Tom and Elsie are noticeably lacking in the dad department and when that happens I will be there, the same as all the days previous to this one and all the days that come after it…
Because I love them more anyone else can.