I knew when Ellie’s Dad and I divorced that I would have regular times when Ellie is away from me and I knew it would be hard. By and large we’ve always had a regular pattern of every other weekend and some holiday weeks going to Daddy’s and it’s worked pretty smoothly.
To begin with, as I dropped her off, I always had a tear in my eye as I walked away. (Usually walking away as quickly as I could so that Ellie didn’t see.) I always knew she was in good hands and I always knew she’d have fun – but it was still always sad. That said, once I was home and busy it was fine and I can hand on heart say that when she was little those breaks were my single chance to have a little ‘me time’ and rest. Don’t judge me – I missed her of course, but I also truly needed and enjoyed that time.
Fast forward several years and this half term Ellie was once again away with her Dad. This time though, as the week went on, I realised something quite surprising – I really wasn’t coping with her being gone very well at all. I found myself sitting in her room thinking about her, daydreaming about what she might be doing and counting down the days until she was home. I’ve always missed her of course, but as I thought it over I discovered something I really didn’t expect – Ellie being away isn’t getting easier – it’s getting harder. I truly didn’t see that coming.
When I think about it, there is actually some logic in it. For a start, I’m less in need of a ‘break’ these days – partly because she’s older and partly because we’re now part of a bigger, supportive family of four. More than that though, and whilst I’m not suggesting we don’t have our moments, I think the crux of the matter is that time in each other’s company nowadays is just simply brilliant time: we laugh, we cuddle, we play and mostly – we just enjoy it.
I’ve no idea if it getting harder is the ‘norm’, or how I’ll feel as Ellie get’s older and hits new interesting phases (eeek Teenager?!) but right now there’s no getting away from the fact that when my girl comes home I’m simply whole again.