D.I.V.O.R.C.E

Yesterday as I waved Lewis off for the half-term week at his Dads, I felt that familiar lump rise in my throat. As he turned to me and smiled through the car window and I watched them drive away, I blinked back my tears and told myself that it was just a week, just seven short days.

When I rang him this morning, as I do every day that he is not with me, he didn’t answer his phone, instead sending a text message that just said, “I’m at my friends, speak some point this week!”. And I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me a little, the realisation that while I am sat here missing him, he isn’t sat there missing me.

And you’d think that after all this time that it would have gotten easier and yet I still struggle to hand over my child each week, to watch him disappear through the front door to his dad’s house and into a world that I know very little about.  Seven years later, it’s still a life that I never imagined for my child.

Because once upon a time, in a life before Gaz, Eva, Megan and Harry, I was a completely different person living a completely different life. And it would be wrong of me to say that it was a mistake or something that I have lived to regret, because the truth is, at one point in my life, it was everything that I wanted.

I married at just 24, to my boyfriend of six years, infront of all of our family and friends and with Lewis, just twelve weeks old in my arms. And as I stood there, promising to love my husband for all eternity, I absolutely meant it.

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Being married was hard work. We both had very different ideas about family life, about what was and was not acceptable in a marriage and I think that we both spent a great deal of time unhappy. We were both so young and merely stumbling our way along and so when we lost Joseph, it was inevitable that the cracks began to appear. After experiencing something so devastating it just seemed impossible to find our way back from it and while I grieved in one way, he grieved in another and as the weeks and months passed, we grew in two very different directions.

When Lewis was just four years old, my ex husband left our home and told me that our marriage was over. I won’t go into the details, this isn’t an episode of Jeremy Kyle, but there was no going back from it. And I was completely and utterly devastated.

Divorce is such a strange experience, it is so much more than just the initial heartache and that overwhelming sense of failure . It is very much like grief, perhaps even harder in some ways, as knowing that the person you want to be with is still right there infront of you, still sat within touching distance but you can’t be together anymore, that is perhaps the saddest thing of all.

And divorce was more than just losing my husband, my marriage, my home and a future that we had planned together, it quite literally change everything. For me, losing my husband meant that in turn I lost my family as I knew it. A family that after the divorce became strictly his family. My ex in-laws had been a very close-knit family and I had loved them like my own flesh and blood. My sister-in-law and I used to joke that given the choice between she and my husband, I would choose her every time. She had been my best friend and the little sister I never had, for eleven long years. She knew me better than any other person on this planet and we shared every secret, every experience, every high and low. There has never been another person who I have laughed with the way that we did, even now just thinking about the memories I can barely breathe for laughing. She was my shining light through every dark time, the person I turned to at every hurdle and she was always there, championing me on in the sidelines, holding my hand and telling me, “I love you mister”. And it broke my heart to lose her in that way.

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But perhaps the hardest part, and something that never got easier, was the feeling that I had lost a part of Joseph all over again. My ex husband was the only other person who had shared that experience with me. He was the only person who had felt that pain as deeply as I, who remembered every moment of it as I did and who was helping me to keep his memory alive over the years. There would never be a time when I would be able to turn to him and say, “Do you remember the way that Josephs little toe curled inwards the same way as mine?” or ask, “Tell me again about the day he was born.”. When I was scared that I was forgetting even a second of that precious time together, there would be no-one to remind me of that, to reassure me that my memories would not slip away. On his birthdays there would be nobody there to hold my hand and look at me and just know. No-one to hold me, to cry with me, to understand that pain in my heart and tell me that it would all be okay. And that killed me.

On top of all of that devastation there was Lewis, aged just four, who was suddenly thrust into this whole new world of two separate parents, two new houses and two very different lives. And it was so hard, particularly in the beginning when emotions were so raw and I was so full of anger and resentment. I found myself becoming very selfish, thinking this is MY son, he belongs with me and why should I have to share him because of a mistake that I didn’t make? And I found that difficult for such a long time, to swallow my pride, my own longing to be with my son 24-7 and accept that actually, this is the way that it will be from now on.

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I used to pack Lewis off to his Dad house and it would break my heart waiting for him to come home. I would worry what would happen if he didn’t come back? What if something happened to him whilst he was there? What if he realised that actually, he would rather live with his dad after all? And yet he would come home and snuggle up in bed beside me and tell me that he had missed me every second of the day and I slowly came to realise that whilst this may be hard for us as adults, as a child Lewis had taken it very much in his stride.

And seven years down the line, he barely remembers a time when his Dad and I were ever together. Obviously he has us, Gaz and his siblings, but he also has a life that I am no part of whatsoever. A life that involves his Dad, a Step-Mum and a baby brother just five days older than our Harry. And although I have exchanged pleasantries with his Step-Mum and I have cooed briefly over his very adorable little brother, they are still, lets face it, complete strangers to me. And due to the fact that getting anything out of Lewis is like drawing blood from a stone, I hear very little about his time with them from him either. Its strange, infact it’s heartbreaking at times, that I know so very little about my own sons life, a child that I thought I knew inside out.

Last month I discovered that Lewis has a new cousin who I literally knew nothing about. A baby boy, over six months old, my own sons flesh and blood and yet he hadn’t even thought to tell me about it. I went storming up to his bedroom, flung open his door, waggling my phone in his face, “Why didn’t you tell me that you had a new cousin?” I asked. And as he dragged his eyes away from Instagram, or Facetime, or whatever it is that requires his constant attention night after night, he simply shrugged, “I forgot to tell you”. And at times like that, I look at him and wonder who is this imposter living in my house? What else is he not telling me? And will we live our entire lives sharing only half of it?

Because it’s not just his step mum, his brother, his new family and friends who I know nothing about. It’s all of the little things too. Like the fact that he lives in a house that I have never set foot in or that he picks out clothes every morning that I didn’t buy for him and hang in his wardrobe. He sits at a dining table, eating his tea, surrounded by his family and makes conversation about things that I know nothing at all about. For five nights out of every fortnight he sleeps in a bed that I didn’t tuck him up in and kiss him goodnight. And that’s hard.

But whilst it was easy, especially in the beginning, to focus on the negatives, these days I can see so many of the positives. Lewis is probably a much more rounded character because of the many influences in his life. He is wise beyond his years, sociable, independent and confident. For him, it has been the making of him whilst for me, I struggled so much with the thought that I was missing out on so much of his precious childhood.

And it is still hard to know that I am only sharing half of his time, half of his life. It is hard for me and yet the way I have to look at it is this; for us it may only be half, but for Lewis it is double. Two loving homes, four parents who adore him, four brothers and sisters who are delighted to see him, four extended families just waiting to spoil him. And looking at it that way, I couldn’t have wished for more for him. And when Christmas comes around and he is opening two sets of presents, then neither could he!

It is impossible for me now to look back on my failed marriage with anything other than gratitude. I thank God every single day that our marriage ended and that it led me to Gaz, to my three beautiful babies and to a life that I had no idea was out there waiting for me. My failed marriage taught me everything that I wanted from a new relationship, taught me not to make the same mistakes that I did the first time round and what I would expect from my partner in return. It taught me about compromise, trust, honesty and laying solid foundations on which to build. And although the breakdown of my first marriage left me in pieces, I was able to build myself back up into someone who is much stronger, much wiser and I walked into my marriage to Gaz with my eyes wide open. And I’m so thankful for that, for the mistakes that we made and even the pain that I felt. To feel loved, truly loved by Gaz, mended my heart in more ways than one and as the saying goes, you can never appreciate such happiness have you never known such sorrows.

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And so next week, when Lewis comes home, tired and grumpy and wanting to lie on the couch and catch up on a weeks worth of Hollyoaks, I will have to swallow my hurt that he did not have time for me this week. I will hide my frustration when I question him about his week and he is too busy catching up with his friends onFaceTime to talk to me or he simply tells me, “It was alright…”.  Because the fact of the matter is, all we ever want is for our children to be happy, and if Lewis is happy when he isn’t with me then I couldn’t hope for anything more. I’m grateful that his new family loves him every bit as much as I do, that he is experiencing new things and enjoying a diverse and fulfilling childhood.

And I’m confident that next Friday, when he is home and I tuck him up into his bed, he will tell me, “I missed you” as I kiss him goodnight, and cuddle me that extra bit tighter for all of the cuddles we missed out on this week.

My Random Musings

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34 Comments

  1. The Anxious Dragon
    October 24, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    Its so difficult having to share your childrens time, whatever your relationship is with their other parent. Add to that the natural process of rhem growing up and becoming more independant and yes, sometimes it feels very much like you have a stranger in your midst. #Justanotherlinky

    • October 24, 2015 / 5:14 pm

      Yes definitely. I’m so lucky that Lewis is very open with me about most aspects of his life, he will talk to me about girls and worries at school, etc. My mum often says that she felt I was a stranger to her during my teens, I was so secretive and really pushed her out during those years. It’s our job as parents to be there when we are needed I guess, even if we do feel a bit surplus to requirement at times!! Xx

      • The Anxious Dragon
        October 24, 2015 / 5:32 pm

        Sounds like you have a great relationship xx

  2. jermbarnes
    October 26, 2015 / 12:16 pm

    I’m on my third marriage and can’t imagine going through another divorce. We have a four year old and I don’t think I would do well with the thought of her having a whole other life that I wasn’t a part of. Great post. thank you for sharing and for your honesty

    • October 26, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      It’s hard isn’t it, especially when children are involved. It’s particularly hard to know that you and your ex are going to be in eachothers lives forever where as when children aren’t involved you can cut ties and move on. I think it gets easier when the anger and bitterness subsides and these days when people ask are my ex husband and I friends, I tell them that we aren’t enemies, and that is progress!!! Thanks for reading!! xx

  3. Kerry-Ann
    October 26, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    Such a candid and honest post! You have been through a lot and I’m glad you seem to have found peace and happiness. Your post has made me appreciate the little things we can take for granted with our children at times, like being able to tuck them in every night! Thank you for sharing! #AnythingGoes

    • October 26, 2015 / 5:33 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I think with my youngest three I really cherish those moments and the fact that they are mine to keep every single weekend! It’s hard sharing a child when you divorce, for all sorts of reasons, but I’m so glad that Lew has an amazing relationship with his dad and step mum, it’s so important that we support and encourage that and for them to do the same with us in return. Xx

  4. October 26, 2015 / 7:46 pm

    I have an early divorce behind me too and like you, found it a very odd experience in so many ways but I have nothing but gratitude for it, and the life and love it has given me now #anythinggoes

    • October 26, 2015 / 8:41 pm

      I think its a great thing to be able to take away a positive from a negative experience. I often think that had it not been for that first marriage, I would have made all of those same mistakes in my second marriage and for that reason, it really strengthened my future marriage and me as a person. And the crux of it is, my first marriage gave me two beautiful children, I can never look on that with regret or sadness, it was just the path that I had to take!! Thanks for reading!! xxx

  5. October 29, 2015 / 5:14 pm

    Oh bless you. I can never imagine a divorce because I have never had one and never been married but I feel for you. So glad you have found love again though.
    It is hard letting your child go to their fathers isn’t it. My eldest goes to her dads for one night ever yweekend – he wont have her for longer but maybe sometimes she will go for two nights but I have to go through his mother to arrange that because he will just ignore me. I don’t do because I want her to go I do it because my daughter keeps asking to sleep in her dads more than one night now.

    It’s so hard. She also has another sister (dads and his partners) who is a compelte stranger to me!

    Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

    • October 29, 2015 / 10:02 pm

      It’s so difficult when you split with a child’s parent. Luckily my relationship with my ex husband has improved over the years so we communicate regularly, attend parents evenings together, etc. I guess it’s easier that way, it must be hard for you when your ex ignores you. New siblings are a whole new issue aren’t they! It feels strange that Lewis has a brother who we know very little about, that my children share a sibling with his brother and yet are complete strangers to eachother. I guess we just continue doing what is best for our children, I’m sure it will get easier with time….right?!! Xxx

  6. October 29, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    Such a honest post. I can’t begin to understand how you feel. My heart broken with you reading. Thank you for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  7. helen gandy
    November 9, 2015 / 8:24 pm

    Gosh what an open post, sometimes it can be incredibly cathartic to write it down and feel refreshed. I hope you are much happier now. Popping over from #marvmondays and #justanotherlinky

    • November 9, 2015 / 8:27 pm

      Much happier thank you and something I look back on and forget just how much it hurt! Just wish I didn’t have to share my boy quite so much but I think every parent would feel that way. Thanks for visiting. xx

  8. November 9, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    What a moving read. It sounds as though your children are absolutely loved to pieces,and as a child of a ‘broken home’ I can assure you that that is the absolutely the most important thing x MMT #marvmondays PS That last photo looks like pure happinness

    • November 9, 2015 / 8:35 pm

      Ah thank you. Its hard as a parent as you never want your child to come from a ‘broken home’ and yet sometimes its just the way that life pans out. We are all very happy with our new families and Lewis is lucky to have five siblings and so many people who love and care for him. Thanks for visiting! xxx

      • November 9, 2015 / 8:37 pm

        I am literally drowning in loving family, half siblings, step parents, step grandparents as a result. Wouldn’t change a thing…oh, and also, two much happier parents xxx

        • November 9, 2015 / 8:40 pm

          Yes! That’s exactly it isn’t it? So many couples stay together for the sake of their children and are surrounded in misery. I’m so happy with the way that our lives have turned out and because of that my children are happier which is all that I could ask for!! xx

  9. November 10, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    Oh my gosh, this broke my heart! I’m so sorry for what you have been through, my heart aches for you, but I’m so so happy for where you are now. My partner and I have recently almost broken up and I’m thankful we’ve been able to work through it as I know how hard it must be for your son to have half a life that isn’t yours, but you seemed to have handled the whole thing with total dignity. Thankyou for writing this, has really opened my eyes! Thanks for linking up to Marvellous Mondays. Kaye xo #MarvMondays

    • November 11, 2015 / 12:45 pm

      Ahh thank you! I’m so glad you and your partner have worked things out, relationships are hard work especially with children! My husband and I have been through highs and lows but ultimately I would do whatever I could to keep my family together. It’s just so sad when sometimes there is no going back. Everything worked out for the best in the end though and although I have to share my son, the time we do have is pretty special! ❤️xxx

  10. November 10, 2015 / 9:11 pm

    What an honest post. It’s obvious that you have so much love for your children and your family. Even if this isn’t how you would have imagined it when you were 24, you can tell that you’re happy with your life now.
    #MarvMondays

    • November 11, 2015 / 12:47 pm

      Thank you! Yes I don’t think anyone plans a life that results in a broken marriage and yet it was the best thing for all of us in the long term. Both of us have new partners and children and Lewis is very lucky to have so many people who care about him. Thank you for reading. Xxx

  11. November 11, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    What an honest and moving post! I can feel all the pain that you have had to go through. I can’t even imagine how hard must’ve been for you to loose a child! You are certainly a strong women as you have achieved so much after all this pain. Now you have a beautiful family again. It will be always hard to deal with a divorce and having to share your child some weekends or even more like that. I hope things get even better for you. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. 🙂 xx
    #MarvMondays

    • November 11, 2015 / 12:46 pm

      Thank you, we have had a long road to get to this point but here with four children and a loving husband, life is good! Thank you for reading. Xxx

  12. January 19, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    What an honest sharing – I cannot imagine how much life changes with a divorce – but I do know how some events in our lives completely change every little detail going forward.

    There is nothing like enjoying the good times after we know just hard dark the hard times can be.

    #TwinklyTuesday

    • January 19, 2016 / 4:19 pm

      Thank you. Yes I think that’s one of the biggest positives in moving on from a divorce, discovering just how wonderful life can be again. Thanks for reading. Xx

  13. January 19, 2016 / 7:28 pm

    Such an honest and emotional post, it really does sound like you’ve been through it over the years. Everyone says that children are incredibly adaptable and I guess they are, but it still doesn’t all stop us stressing out and obsessing about how they are. I’m so glad that you have a new partner and family, it sounds like things are on the up for you. #TwinklyTuesday.

    • January 19, 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Thank you. We have had a tough time to be honest but then hasn’t everyone? Lewis is so resilient to it all, he’s amazing, and I’m lucky that he has a great relationship with his dad and his extended family. Plus yes, everything worked out for the best in the end for me. Just took a bit of a detour getting here! Thanks for reading. Xx

  14. January 24, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    This is such a beautiful post, it was so interesting to read. I can’t imagine having to share my boy or have someone else mother him while I am not there (ok maybe apart from my mum who does do that while I am at work!). I am glad though that despite it all, you are happy and you found your wonderful new life. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • January 24, 2016 / 9:14 pm

      Thank you! It was immensely hard in the beginning, and seven years later there are still moments that are so hard (Christmas, birthdays, etc) but my son is so happy and that’s all I could ever hope for. Thank you for reading. Xx

  15. September 26, 2016 / 2:55 am

    I’m going through my list of posts that I’ve Stumbled over the past year as part of an effort to start actually doing something with my Pinterest account. This one still really makes me think.

    • Laura Dove
      September 26, 2016 / 3:11 pm

      Oh thanks Jeremy. I think divorce is so tough on everyone concerned but there are so many positives too. Lewis is genuinely a much more rounded character because of it all, the input he has from both families is only ever a positive, he counts himself lucky to have two parents who are happily married, two wonderful step parents and five siblings who adore him. xx

  16. November 1, 2016 / 9:09 am

    Just beautiful. I’m so glad it worked out for you all in the end xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 1, 2016 / 10:22 am

      Thank you, it was difficult to accept at first and yet here I am, married to a wonderful man and a Mummy of five. There is always a happy ending out there. xxx

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