Tonight, I held my daughter in my arms while she sobbed and through racked breaths asked me if I ever loved herdad. She told me how sad she was that we are not together as a family. I cradled her and wiped her tears away as she surrendered into me and told me how unfair it all was. I rocked her rattling body whilst she told me how unlucky she must be that all her friends
have mums and dads together and she doesn’t.
In that moment, desperate to take her pain away I felt broken. I felt overwhelmed with guilt and failure was runningthrough my veins. The reality is that; no matter what words I chose to soothe her with, how many explanations I gave her, how tight I held her, I could never make this better for her, never offer her the solution she so desperately wants.And so, at 11:00pm on Sunday evening I sit here with a heavy heart wondering how I could have got this so wrong.How can my 8-year-old baby girl perceive her life so deficient? And I’m scrambling around desperately for an answer that doesn’t amount to… this is all my fault.
“If only I had tried harder”, “if only I had stuck it out”, “if only I had put her happiness before my own” thenmaybe I wouldn’t have my 8-year-old, lying broken in my arms wondering if she is the reason that her family isn’t together. If Only….
I’ve always been really honest with my girl, it’s been me and her since she was one. I’ve always had my arms openwide ready and waiting to talk to her about anything. I never really realized how heavy this was weighing on her mind though. She’d ask me questions about me and her dad from time to time, and she’d ask if we would ever get back together. I’d always answer
her, but I can’t deny now that maybe I was flippant with my responses. She told me tonight that I would never understand because I’ve always had my mum and dad together and she was right. I could never fully understand that pain because I’ve never had to face
it myself. I guess I have been superficial with the truth because I find it hard to talk about, and there again I am thinking about me and not her needs. I’ve never wanted her to dwell on the fact that she comes from a broken home because I don’t want it to
define her. I don’t want her to be stereo typed into a box that’s labels her “troubled” because she grew up with parents apart. Tonight, has made me realise though that I can’t keep ignoring it and however difficult those conversations might be for me I have
to have them. For her.
Ruby was just over 1 when me and her dad broke up, so she can’t remember a time when we were even together. I’vealways thought that was easier for her because she can’t miss what she has never had. Tonight, I don’t know if that is true. Is it easier for me to think that and just ignore the fact that she has never experienced a family as a whole? It’s not something I’ve
ever asked her about in depth, but I will. I will.
So, what do I do now? I’ve always found being a mum hard but never more so than now. There’s always an answer,a solution to any problem she has, whether it takes me an hour or a week I always find it. I don’t have an answer to this though because I can’t give her what she wants, she told me so tonight when she lay in my arms. I asked what I could do to make things
better for her and she replied “Nothing, because I can never have what I want”. It’s hard to explain to a child that what they want is not always the best thing, in her world I didn’t try hard enough. That is a bitter pill to swallow when I know that I did
try so so hard.
I never wanted to be one of those parents that slates the other, and I’ve always tried really hard to make sureRuby’s relationship with her dad was maintained and her love for him is testament to that. She can see him as much as she wants but however much I sugarcoat things to her, unless he is living with us as a family it is not enough. However, many positives I
point out it does not outweigh the fact that her dad is not in the family home. How do you help a child to see that somethings are for the best; how do you explain adult problems because seen through a child’s eyes it is never enough of an explanation?I made Ruby a book last week when this started to come to the surface. It’s a book of her life filled with picturesof when she was born, milestones and pictures of me and her dad when we met and were happy. I can’t tell you how contented she was with this book. She took it to school the next day to show her friends pictures of me and her dad, something she had never had
before in her 8 years of life. It warmed my heart to know that she was comforted by this. Now I’m left wondering if this was the right move, or have I just exacerbated her pain? I’ve never really been at a loss before when it comes to motherhood because however
hard things get I’ve always pulled through. Tonight, though I am lost.
So, reader I’m putting it out there to you. Having never been in this situation myself I come from the perspective of the parent who left a toxic relationship thinking it was the best thing to do for her and me. As my daughter rightly says though I’m not equipped to contemplate how she is feeling. So, if you are reading this and you have come from a broken family pleaseleave me some advice on what I can do to repair the damage already caused. How might my 8-year-old be feeling and what can I do to ease that burden?Lots of love.A mum who is full of doubts….