Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Family Holiday San(d)s Mum

This morning I packed some clothes for the boys, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, toys to make sand castles with, a frisbee, the beach hut, their scooters and helmets.

Tomorrow they're going to the beach for a couple of days with their dad and they can't wait to get there. Now that we live in the country and the beach is more than 3 hours away, we rarely go. So the boys are excited, but the news stories they hear about shark attacks are leading them both to ask lots of questions about sharks.

Tomorrow will be the first time we will be apart for more than one night, and I've only had about 2 of those before. I won't be there with them, encouraging our oldest into the water, cursing the sand getting all through the car, seeing my boys squeal with delight as they play on the beach, rubbing sunscreen on their bodies while they squirm away. And that hurts.

If you asked my ex and I the kind of holiday we like, apart from offering New York or Paris (if money were no object!) it would be something relaxing involving the beach.

Our honeymoon was a leisurely drive up the coast to Queensland. We liked going to the beach in Newcastle when visiting the in-laws. We went to Port Stephens shortly before moving from Sydney. Two years ago we took the boys to Fiji.

"Why can't you come" my oldest pleaded with me this morning as I packed their bags.
"You and your brother will have such a good time having dad to yourself. You'll have so much fun on the beach" I responded cheerily.
"But why can't you come?", not letting it go.
I stopped to look at him."Well, things are different now, and we don't holiday together. Maybe later that will change, but not right now."
"But I'll miss my baby sis" he persisted.
"I'm sorry. But it won't be for long. I'll miss you both, but you'll have such a good time."

Then the tone changed.
"It's your fault you're separated", the familiar furrow appearing on his brow. I don't mind when he throws me this barb. It's his way of making sense of things. It's not often, but familiar at the same time.
I bite my tongue.
"It's not my fault, it's not your father's fault. We both love you and Alex very much." But he was already moving away from me, focusing back on the television. My heart wasn't in it this morning. I had had a dark night last night, being the first New Years Eve I hadn't spent with P for 13 years. We hadn't kissed at midnight, hadn't watched fireworks together, hadn't toasted each other, or even packed it in and gone to bed before the stroke of midnight, together.

Instead he spent it with friends, including her.

Instead, despite promising me that he would call, he didn't. Instead I received a text after midnight.

"I thought you were asleep" he tried to reason.
"You could have called well before midnight" I retorted. The the silence, while he thinks of what he can say.
"I didn't know how you would respond, after you were so upset this afternoon.."he trailed off.
"But after I was upset, you said you would call me. And then you didn't. I know you were busy with your friends, so I wasn't expecting you too, but it would have been nice. You promised."
"I wasn't busy.."
"So you weren't busy, but you couldn't call me". I sound like a co-dependent teenager, wading her way through a first love, when I'm really a 38 woman navigating what this new relationship is. Listening to his words, seeing his actions, seeing that sometimes they don't fit and trying not to overanalyse.
But its another conversation going nowhere. And then we're interrupted with the boys fighting and I can sense his relief.

At least over the next couple of days I'll spend some uninterrupted time with the baby and tend to the ever growing list of life administration to do.

But for once I'll miss hearing the boys argue, miss them waking me up in the morning, miss comparing mosquito bites and being asked to play ball.

But I'm not going with them, and that feels weird.

And I wonder if for him, it will feel weird too. I know he won't miss me, but if only because he won't be able to leave the kids with me while has some quiet daddy time, having a drink by himself or getting a massage.
But now that he doesn't live with us, he can get his quiet daddy time whenever he damn well pleases. And with ever he damn well pleases.

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