About being a parent for me personally isn’t the constant arguing with my 4 year old, the tantrums from my 2 year old or the overall stress and worry that comes from having children.
It’s two Saturdays in every month, having to hand my eldest two over to their Dad.
I know it’s only two weekends a month and yes it’s only for one, maybe two, nights but I really struggle having to do it. It’s not that I don’t trust him with them, if I didn’t they wouldn’t be going at all. And it’s not that they don’t enjoy themselves, they love being at Daddy’s house and sometimes I fear they’d rather be there than with me. It’s the pain I feel at having to give them to someone else. I find it hard enough leaving them with a babysitter for a few hours whilst Luke and I escape to be a couple again. I just hate the fact that they’re not with me.
What if something happens to them and I wasn’t there to prevent it? Or they fall ill and I’m not there to hold them close and tell them it’s ok. I realise it’s very selfish of me to feel this way but if you can’t be selfish when you’re a parent, when can you be?
So every other Saturday I kiss them goodbye, hand them to their father and resist the urge to run after them screaming ‘They’re mine, give them back!’ whilst I cling to them and sob uncontrollably into their hair.
Instead I stand on the platform watching them leave, their faces bright with happiness as they’re reunited with their beloved Dad. I wave, smile and will myself to walk away without crying then wish away the hours until they’re back with me. Back where they belong.