My soon to be seventeen year old is fiercely independent. I am proud of her. I’m proud of her determination, her spirit. Her kindness. As a child, she was a timid, blonde haired, blue eyed fairy. As a young adult she is a fighter.
So to see tears well in her eyes tonight…was shocking. Tomorrow I travel. So tonight I asked her what she would like me to bring back. “Nothing,” she said, “just make sure you come back.”
She has been my support and my strength this last week. Nights of no sleep. Endless ruminating and calculating and searching. She told me to go, told me to put myself first. She was angry when my sister was unsupportive and actually phoned her to say her piece. Wisely, my sister didn’t answer.
But then, that shows love too, doesn’t it? My sister not wanting me to go. Actually being unhappy about it. Today, she messaged me early and we have spent most of the day together. There was no apology – her feelings are valid – but effort was made to build bridges.
Later, unexpectedly, she came again with my five year old niece who apparently was crying because she wanted to see me before I left.
My ex’s response was interesting but not unexpected. He flew off the handle, argued about the inconvenience. Later, calmer but not calm, he would tell me that he couldn’t understand how I could leave my children for two weeks or why I am not taking them on holiday instead. My daughter says he still loves me. I don’t know about that.
Money aside – one person’s tickets compared to four- I am going for myself.
My mum, in her own act of love, echoed by my best friend, told me to put myself first for once. Do what I wanted.
Whilst the pull of seeing Wildcard is the driving force, it isn’t the only one. I’m tired. Tired of worrying. Tired of anxiety. Tired of wondering how I will survive once my settlement money goes.
I say I, but it is we. Not just my children. I financially support both my sisters and my ex husband. I’ve paid both sisters’ rent this month. I’ve bought and cooked tea twice at my ex’s house this week as he has no money. Earlier in the week I paid for shopping. I paid for fuel in cars that I will never drive. Tonight, my youngest sister walked out my house with bags of food as she has none either. And it is more than that. I’ve listened and counselled and advised. And yes, to an extent, they have for me too. Whilst I will always help when I can, and worry that I may not be able to much longer, I am tired. Tired of worrying about everyone.
So, tomorrow, I have chosen myself when I go on the first part of my journey. I’m terrified but can’t wait for that feeling of pride in myself when it turns out ok. The freedom of travel alone.
And then, when I finally arrive in Wildcard’s country, I will have time with the man I love. I will have time with his family, who barely speak English and so can’t talk about things that may weihh me down. I will also have time to myself. No house to clean, no sisters to mother, no ex to support. I am going to rest and enjoy but I am also taking my laptop and plan to work too. I will help out round the house – if Wildcard’s mum will let me – and I am hoping we can do some cooking together. I will miss my children more than anything. That is my one regret. But, I hope to come back stronger and be the mother they love, not this shadow-self.
Wildcard is still very anxious about me coming. And that shows love too. His list of concerns, some valid and some just out there, must come from a place of love. I hate that he is worrying and I hope that it doesn’t marr our time together. But I need this trip for more reasons than him, although he remains the biggest one.
So now, I sleep. In 11 hours I will be at the airport. And my act of self love will begin.