Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Ode to the Apartment

8 months pregnant at the University of Ulster art show.

Only 6 months. That's all this little place has given shelter to our sleepy heads. It was always meant to be temporary. I've hung pictures and done my best to make it homely and it has served us well. but it has felt transitory and i'm ready for something more permanent. A garden to play in so we won't feel cooped up. A table to eat at, instead of dinner time spent with me leaning over the ktichen counter whilst molly kicks about in her antilop.

Pre-apartment and post-Canada I'd spent a few months intermittently living at my Dad's abode. Intermittently, considering there was an interval of a few weeks I was sleeping on the floor at a friends apartment which served as my refuge when father/daughter relations became strained. Sharing the same roof seven years after I'd left for my university dorm came as a bit of an unwelcome shock for both of us.

I had almost written off the significance of this apartment until I started to remember those pre-apartment days. It's only in looking back to those days that I realise how far I've come. Days when I could barely look at molly without feeling awash with fear and dread of my future. Days, and even weeks, when I didn't looked at Molly at all. I shudder to think of the distance I put between us back then. And I feel like I was robbed of the joy of motherhood for that period.

I filled my afternoons with long car journeys through the back country roads, where I'd hold raging imaginary arguments, yelling at the window shield and thumping my fist off the steering wheel. And the evenings were so long, at first filled with frantic and desperate phone calls followed by tightly bound rocking fetal positions(which isn't easy to do when you have an actual 6 month old fetus inside!). Then It became just about filling time, somehow, distracting myself from the unraveling that was going on around me. I was looking through photos with my not-so-wicked-stepmum when I found this one of me sewing for a craft fair. She accurately commented that "they where long and difficult nights". They were.

But the emphasis is on the were. This is my epiphany. Already, I am able to look back and see I have come a great distance in a very short space of time.

Somewhere along the way a corner was turned. And having a place just for me and moll was a big part of that. A place where I could no longer shirk my parental responsibilities. Where we could begin the work of undoing the damage done in those previous months, the distance i'd put between us. I needed to learn how to relate to her again, under these new terms, the 'sole parent' terms. Slowly I have gained in confidence and now It is only occasionally that I mutter 'I can't do this' under my breath. Because I am gradually learning that I can, many days it's simply that I must. 'Needs must' and all that. sometimes however, there are moments when everything is just perfect and my sole parent status is...preferential.

Recently I was given the task of drawing myself a lifeline and marking significant events along the way. Naturally, most of the marks on the line occurred within the last five years. But it dawned on me that ten years down the line, this era in my life will most likely become summarised by just one little notch. Trauma fades, time heals and someday i'll get a better perspective on this time.

6 months is not very long but it has provided a bridge from one precipice to another. So thank you little apartment.

** Still waiting on getting keys to the new house, there's a bit of a technical difficulty on the sellers side but I should hopefully have keys v.v.soon**


Kirsty Deary said...

Everytime I read your blog I am so proud that I got to know you (I just wish I had taken the oppertunity o get to know you better). You are so beautiful inside and out.

Anonymous said...

this morning, what i've just read is like a breath of fresh air! i know i'm always banging on about what an inspiration you are, but...YOU ARE!! again, your strength, honesty, perspective etc etc etc is something that will not only allow you to get on with your life but will inspire many others who find themselves in similar circumstances to you to do the same. You have turned MANY corners in the last 6 months babe and here's to a bright bright future for the most special 3 peas in a pod i know! this situation would never have been the preference but being totally selfish i've LOVED getting to know you better be part of your lives. Can't wait to see the projects unfold in your 'proper' home! xx

CHB8110 said...

I've never commented but I've been following your story from very early on. I think i stumbled across it on Mssinglemama. Just about a year ago my husband left me after 3 years of marriage- I was 6 months pregnant with our first baby, a boy. I relate to your story so much. I was "blindsided" as they say, and my heart was shattered. Never in a million years did I ever think he would leave me, especially while pregnant, especially while pregnant with his son! I am still healing, probably will be for a long time but I look back at this past year and see how far I've come and I'm amazed. Life is so long and like you said, i hope to look back on this one day as a little blip (well maybe a big blip). Congrats on your new house and God Bless you and your beautiful babies.

Dana said...

Good for you! You are one strong woman.

Moo's Mamma said...

You're strength and courage are truly an inspiration to women across the globe : ) Can't wait for you to get your keys : )

E said...

Such strong & true words.
Speaking as a former single mother (son now grown) I can say it can be a long and lonely road. But there are also benefits - kids! friends! love! independence (of sorts)!