Yesterday was Moo’s 6th birthday. We had a crazy, fun, busy day. For most of the day she got to hang out with her friends and her sisters and me and her Dad. We (me and her Dad) have been spending more time together lately than in the last 4 years since we separated, because of the change in circumstances. At this point in time, for this moment, it seems to be working for our kids, and I am super happy about that.
Funny how it changes and one day you just don’t love someone ‘like that’ anymore. I really, really loved my ex-husband and now, although I care about him and about his relationship with our daughters, I just do not have any of ‘that’ for him anymore. I don’t know when it went away, once it was really intense, and then things got in the way of it, and then it ended but it didn’t all entirely go away straight away. But one day it wasn’t there anymore.
Miss Moo was the only one we planned of our three daughters together, the only time we ever made a choice about the direction of our family. Yet she too is a gift because of what happened before she was even a choice.
My biggest girl was 4 when we met him. He was kind and caring and gentle and seemed to think I was the most amazing thing ever, which I liked. When she was 6 we found out she was getting a sister and when she was 7 I had this baby that blew up every myth I had about my ability to be a great Mum. Her story (my second daughter) is another story, but suffice to say it was HARD. We floundered, I floundered, and he floundered. And then I found out I was pregnant again when she was 18 months old and I was really, really scared about my ability to have another baby.
He didn’t handle the news well. I didn’t either. Things blew up with our family business. He left us when I was about 12 week pregnant. I floundered some more. I kept working because I knew how to do that well. At 16 weeks my friend came to visit us at the farm one weekend, with her toddler the same age as mine. I felt tired and off, but my heart was broken and my dream was all messed up again, so I didn’t think I was anymore off than usual. I was standing at the sink late afternoon, doing the dishes while my friend entertained the kids outside and I remember tears dripping into the sink and thinking “I just cannot do this on my own again, I just cannot do it”. And as though my womb heard me (and how could it not?) my waters broke in one warm gush. I called out to my friend to come and she wrapped me in towels and drove me to the hospital (1.5 hours away). That drive must’ve been excruciating for her, I haven’t ever asked how she did it, but she did. And the whole way I held my belly and promised my baby I could do it and I would do it and it would be OK. I called him on the way and he met us at the hospital. It took hours for the ultrasound, but I think the radiographer’s job was the most excruciating. Three sets of eyes on the screen while he tried to find a heartbeat that wasn’t there. I could see by the way her little head curved down that she wasn’t alive anymore.
Going home from the hospital the next day made me anxious. But going home to the farm 3 days later without a baby made me panic. He drove me home in the evening and I recall he took my biggest girls’ rooster with him when he left because the rooster had been crowing night and day and was driving everyone nuts. My biggest girl cried about the rooster leaving. I think I did too, even though I hated him. I didn’t know if I would be OK or we would be OK or even just how to be. I ran a workshop for women the next day, and one of the ladies asked when my baby was due. My tummy still stuck out a bit. She was mortified when I told her, but how could she have known? The thing that people said that made me feel the best was when they would hug me and say “I’m so sorry about your baby”. Because then she was real. Because there was this whole life with her in it, and then that life didn’t get to happen.
A couple of months after that, we worked our way through where we were. I still felt ‘like that’ about him, and I didn’t imagine my life with anyone else. After that he proposed again and then we got married. We had a horrible fight the night before the wedding, about the music. Our wedding was the greatest and most fun party we have ever had. Our 2 girls were part of the ceremony and I meant every word of my vows. I honestly don’t believe I had the skills to have a great marriage, and neither did he. We just kind of started doing it, the married thing, like the blind leading the blind. Would it have been different if I knew what I know now? I don’t think so. I think what we were was what we we’re meant to be. And now we’re meant to be this. Always appreciate the other parent of your children, for everything they were and they weren’t. They still are and always will be the other parent, and your children need to know that that is OK.
About a year after we got married, I remember he rolled over in bed one morning and looked me right the eyes and said “if you want to have another baby, we can” and I cried. Because to me our family felt unfinished, and the gift the girl who didn’t come gave us was a place and space to work out where we were at and get married and make 2 more daughters. And so Miss Moo came to be. Exactly when she was meant to.
And yesterday she turned 6. And it went like this. Awake 5.55am. Present in bed. Carpenter arrived to fix house. Power went out for street electrical maintenance. Macca’s for breakfast with cousins. Shops with Dad while I got to go to the shops and buy a cake and lollies. 11am movie including popcorn and chocolates. Fish and Chips at the beach/park with friends. Mud Cake with sparklers and strawberries. Play at park for 4 hours. Go to sister’s dance concert. Sausage sizzle. Home at 5.45pm. Bath. Dinner (one piece of naan bread, am beginning to realize she didn’t eat any vegetables yesterday!) in front of the fire. Early bed with new toys in bed. Asleep 7.15pm. Not a bad day really. She got to be with her sisters and her Mum and her Dad most of the day.
And it is OK that I don’t feel like ‘that’ about him because there is no confusion anymore about the fact that it’s like this. And I am kinder and more appreciative of what he does do and I have less expectations, which is heaps more peaceful and our girls know we both love them. I can’t really recall what it was like to feel like ‘that’ about him anymore, and that makes me hopeful. Because grief really just takes time. Just like with that baby girl who didn’t get to be and the life that didn’t happen, I am thankful to her every day for the life I do have, the chance I got to find my way home.
And Moo of course. She got to come next.