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Monday, 17 November 2008

Autumn Leaf

Goodness, I have been stirring the pity pot recently. For a good few days after Els returned into the loving arms of her mother (that’s me btw), I’ve been cussing my fate.

I do occasionally have a good old wallow in the fact that poor lil ole me has to give up my only daughter for half the week (sometimes more) like a modern day
Demeter.

Els isn’t at all like Persephone of course. She’s hardly been abducted to the underworld. When she’s not with me, she’s in the loving arms of her father. So there’s no real reason to grieve is there?

I know this. I really, really do. But lately I couldn’t help but bemoan my situation. Poor old Part-time Mummy. Denied the joys of full-time motherhood.

Never did I think that the collapse of my relationship with El’s dad would jeopardise my time with my daughter. I assumed that I’d relinquish every, or every other, weekend. I also assumed I’d get financial help for my unstinting work as a mother. Neither assumption turned out to be correct. Sometimes that rankles.

I went for a walk when Els was at school and watched a leaf fall slowly from a tree. As I traced its hypnotic path I couldn’t help by identify with it somehow. I too felt buffeted by some unseen force, large and random, because how could it be possible that I myself had chosen the direction I have moved in?

How could someone so passionately in love with her child volunteer to give that child up? Surely I have been pushed into this place by Fate. Poor, poor me.

And then I had a Defining Moment. I realised my unseen force is Love, not Fate.

It was my love for Ella that moved me to choose sharing her care with her dad. He’s a good dad. She loves him and he loves her. How could I deprive my gorgeous girl of an equal parent and relegate him to a weekend dad role? How would she truly benefit from that, when she could have so much more?

Empowered by my past decision once again, all because of a falling leaf, I look at my happy, confident, well-loved daughter and feel proud that I let myself be moved by love all those years ago…and that I love her enough to keep letting her go.

4 comments:

Louise, Carmine Superiore said...

I can truly empathise with you. Although my kids are full-time with me, it only takes a morning without them to make me feel bereft, lonely, sad, useless by turns. You sound like a very strong person to me!

Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

Thanks for being so honest about the other side of shared parenting...

Iota said...

Wow. You write about that so movingly. Motherhood is all about giving your child the best - for you, that has a very sacrificial element.

Single Parent Dad said...

Top post, and I agree totally. I was preparing the answer - in my head - as I read yours.

The ability to recognise what is best for your child, rather than what is best for you is a wonderful one.

Not everyone possess that skill, some barely recognise it.