Separation and sanity

Small things, separation and a revelation

It was the week I thought would never happen.

After two years of being separated somehow the ex was taking my small things away on holiday for a week. 

To France. 

A completely different country. 

A whole plane ride away.

Now those that know me, know that I have never been THAT parent that is glued to one’s small things. Only 8 weeks ago I happily abandoned them whilst I jetted off for four fun-filled days in Marbella with the girls. (Obviously I didn’t leave them in the cellar with a tin of beans; they had juice aswell).

Every year I jet off on a girls ski weekend and I don’t think twice about sleepovers.  (Well sleepovers that aren’t at my house.)

In the past two years I have got used to them going off to their dad’s for two nights a week and sometimes I have even enjoyed – no relished – that time to myself.

But this was different. It was a whole week. Seven whole days without my babies. Seven days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes without them. And they were on a plane in  a different country. I counselled myself. It was ridiculous I have got on planes, trains and automobiles that have taken me away from them….but they have never been taken away from me – and never on a stupid giant metal thing that flies in the sky. 

It was such a small subtle difference but it grew arms, legs, a beard and several heads as the day approached. 

I smiled with the small things and joined in their holiday excitement, I became a gibbering wreck with my friends as I spent nights awake on ‘what ifs’. That moment when you are dropping off to sleep or you think you are dropping off to sleep and you allow your mind to wander. Only for a second it wanders into very dangerous territory when your mind takes you on the journey of the worst nightmares you can imagine. Then you stare at the ceiling counting sheep, or in my case counting hot men doing the long jump.

The day arrived and it’s fair to say I was a wreck. The girls had set up a tag team of lunatic watch with regular text counselling which to be fair to all my friends not one was entitled: *Man up you blithering idiot.*

The 10 yo was wobbly – a week was a long time. The 6yo was nervous and I could have got a gold medal (see what I did there) for my credible excitement at what fun they would have. Their dad picked them up and I waved happily from the window.

Inside I crumbled, I felt like someone had tore me limb from limb. I knew it was ridiculous. I knew it was frankly mental and I knew (possibly) that they would be fine. I cried more than Gwyneth Paltrow getting an Oscar and then I cried some more.

Then I manned up. Mainly because the electricity meter man knocked on the door and I’m not sure he could have coped with my hysterics. In fact if he hadn’t arrived the flash floods of the past few days could have been started from my kitchen.

Fast forward one week and my babies are back. In my arms. I met them at the airport. If T-mobile had been there, the scenes would have had more views on YouTube than Justin Bieber’s inaugural performance. 

They are now in bed. We snuggled on the couch. We had a pillow fight. The 6yo made a den and the 10 yo told me all the things she had been saving up for the past 7 days which culminated in a discussion as to whether sex and section were the same thing. Normality had resumed. I sighed a giant sigh of relief.

The fact remains I love my independence. 

I love it when I choose to spend a few days abroad without my small things. 

But when they go away without me, when they are abroad without me, when I can’t easily get to them and swoop in wearing my Supermum cloak I hurt.

It’s subtle. It’s really rather small.

It’s what makes me their mum.

Sarah Knight

Trainer and coach in communications. Plate spinner.

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