There are so many things they don’t tell you about parenthood. No one warns you that it feels like a succession of tiny heartbreaks. When you so painfully mentally hope that soon, oh God please soon, learn to crawl or walk or speak more words, that when they’ve crossed over to this new thing they can do, they’ve forever left behind another part of babyhood. Then no longer that, but now a toddler. Then no longer that but that stage between toddler and small child. She’s currently hanging out at that undefinable stage.
So this weekend we went our separate ways as we both needed a break. She was whisked away to the grandparents and I aimed for the Almost Highlands. Of every block of ten minutes, I’m sure I spent most of them thinking about her. My fellow traveller and I walked up, around, then down hills. We found snow and clapped with delight. We took in the amazing landscape and I thought ‘I hope L is safe. I hope my daughter is having fun.’
It aches. The absence is present, you can feel it. How do people survive the permanent disappearances. I can barely handle the short term.
We’ve been reunited now and have spent many happy minutes playing with her new used toy – a charity shop find, but I don’t think she minds. Now she’s in bed and I’m planning my upcoming week, fitting in all the things I must do to keep us going, filling in the gaps between the hours of seeing and not seeing her.
What they don’t tell you is that parenthood destroys you. But it also builds up something from the ashes of your former self. And together you create something new and interesting and somehow you become more you than you thought was possible. And you get to share that with the most interesting person you will ever meet.