It has taken me a couple of days to be able to write this post. Wednesday morning the girls mum and partner came to collect them from James’ parents house whilst we were down in Worthing. This is not too unusual although it is usually myself doing all the drop offs to them and usually when we’re all at home (up North).
Pick ups and drop offs have become a normal part of our blended family life, but normally we haven’t had the girls for nearly 20 whole days. The girls were very excited to see their Mum after so long of course, but also sad for our time to end. Emma was down for her sisters wedding so we exchanged in the part of the world where she and James had been a couple. We were so excited the girls were going to be bridesmaids. They haven’t seen this side of their family much as they’ve been living up in Preston since before Shayla was born. It was all very exciting.
When they left, Judah was confused, we had all been conversing in the front garden and then they left. He just stood there not understanding where they had gone and why he wasn’t going. He has seen Emma’s face many times before but this time he was confused. I don’t know how it works in the mind of a 2 year old, but it was almost like he’d forgotten a time where they weren’t around all the time.
I brought him to the house, cuddled him on the sofa and just sobbed. I had always said to James loving the girls as my own and marrying someone who already had children from a previous relationship wasn’t as massive an issue to me until we had a child of our own. The fact that the girls live split lives is not ideal, but it is unavoidable. They need to see their Dad and they need to see their Mum. Judah’s pain at also having a split life by default seems so much more unfair. That’s why (although we had stopped trying when Eden was conceived after I had miscarried again) we had wanted to have two close together. The girls are each other’s constants as they go between both homes and I wanted Judah to have someone who didn’t leave. It was like he understood this too. He left my side to sit beside Eden and gave her a kiss on the head. My heart wrenched. They had each other but I could see he was sad.
The silence was deafening. I never realised how constant noise for 20 days could become normal and once the incessant chatter of the girls was no longer there, it just seemed so still, almost eerily. Very unnatural all of a sudden as we returned back to four from six. The six we had been for our 18 Days of Summer (and a cheeky bit extra). I was reminded how blessed the girls are as I sat there sobbing, to have so many people in their lives that love them so much. I guess it’s a good problem to have.
Our ‘normal’ is constantly evolving but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We do the best we can with what we have at each given time. We strive to keep the children and their needs above our own, it helps when potential rows can arise between ‘us and them’ and prevents us from even becoming ‘us and them’ as we all work together to do what’s right for the girls, and James and I remember to focus on how it can least negatively affect Judah and Eden too.
Judah hasn’t quite been himself since they left, but he will adjust as we return to our routine. The girls will have been bridesmaids today and I’m very excited to hear about it. I know they will have lots to tell us when we see them next week.