We talked tonight, for a long time. Actually, it was only about 30 minutes but it felt like forever with the amount of stuff we covered.
It started because we were thinking about how different we are, how different things are, and how much we have changed. Things are good - in fact right now they are better than good, and because of that we were talking. Talking is what keeps us going (I think it keeps any relationship going, but that's probably just me) and we talked about how much I've changed in my relationship with AC, and it was painful in a way to talk about, but it also made me think.
I have never left the AC with anyone overnight. He was 2 before I left him with a babysitter. I felt that he was my son, mine to raise, mine to love and protect and cherish and care for. I was all he had when his father decided fulltime fatherhood was too much work, and I made sure that I was everything he needed.
It started before he was born. The He-Ex walked out of the antenatal class after the first 30 minutes and being asked to move a table. He was bored during the labour and went for burger and chips. He walked out, the first time, when the AC was 4 days old, and he went to the pub, to "get away from that noisy little git." We had been home from hospital just overnight.
Over the next few months we moved house, I made a new life with the two of them, leaving my working independent past behind, and focusing on the boy. And the He-Ex got worse, drinking, having internet sex, and leaving the boy and I alone. We moved to the Camp of Doom, and he got worse again, going off into town all day on a Saturday, coming home drunk, being beligerent and nasty, accusing me of what I now think he was doing.
When I found out I was pregnant again, he turned over and allegedly slept (but I think just ignored me) on the sofa for 3 hours, before getting drunk and trying to have text sex with a friend of mine that he had always been after, but never got anywhere with - and never would have got anywhere with. When I lost the baby the following day, and for the following 4 weeks of hospital visits for blood tests because things weren't going the way they should, he complained about the time it took from work, about how miserable I was being, about how much time I spent with the AC.
When it was all finally over, and the AC and I were heading out of the Camp, I knew that it was the AC and I, come what may, just like it had been since before he was born. We closed ranks, the boy and I, even closer than we had ever been.
R was around then, as he had been ever since I'd met him, he was one of my best friends, and the most faithful and trustworthy one I had. AC and he got on ok, like people do with their mums friends, and that was fine. When R and I talked about growing closer, talked about getting together, talked about him staying over, AC was top in our minds, because he was going to have to share me, I was going to have to share him.
That was a hard thing. Sometimes, R was fine with it being AC and I and then R and I, because sometimes the loss of the BG hurt him so much he couldn't stand to be around the AC. That got better when AC passed the age that the BG was when she was moved. AC went through a stage where he didn't like R, where he didn't want to share me, where he would come and sit inbetween R and I on the sofa. I kept telling him "You don't have to love R, you don't even have to like R, you just have to be polite."
And AC got through that stage, about 6 months ago. Now he wants to be R, thinks R is the best bloke In The World, and that R being in his life is marvellous.
Before that, R had begun to accept us as a family unit, to feel that he wasn't betraying the BG by loving the AC, to love the AC in the way his father should, and the way that R should be allowed to love the BG.
So it's just me now. Slowly, I'm learning to trust other people with our gorgeous son, to think about him spending time other places, to think about going and doing the things that I would like to do, but up until now have been happy to put off so that I could spend time and energy with the AC. And I was happy to do it. I didn't mind not going out so that I was looking after him, or not going away for the weekend so that I didn't leave him. I love motherhood and embraced these limitations as part of it.
Other people don't feel those limitations, and are willing to leave their babies when they are small so they can go out, and that's fine for them, but it isn't for *me*. These days, apparently, it wouldn't be for *us* either. R likes the way we parent now, he loves the product of the way we parent, and there's much that he wishes he's have known to do with the BG. He saw a difference in her when she spent time with me, and now he sees why.
And now I'm coming to a time where I can see that the AC is able to spend time away from me now, so hopefully, next year, we'll see if we can get a weekend away and the AC will be happy to spend time at Grandma's. It has taken me time to come to this, and the AC time to come to this, because we relied on each other so much, but I know (and I think he realises!) that there is a world outside he and I, or even outside he and R and I.
This was brought home to me today. I asked him to get his reading book out, and he went and read to R. I stopped and looked at the two of them, reading together, R so patient, AC so eager and both of them looking at each other with love and affection and humour in their eyes. I could have cried with just how glad I was that they had each other, and how terribly things could have turned out with his father or how differently they would have been with just us.
But we have each other, as a three, as a family, as a unit. There is always a space for the BG, there will always be plenty of love for her, plenty of need for her, plenty of wanting her with us, wanting to see her, just as there is for the other people in this little family of ours. But she is not here in this house, in a physical sense, and so we are just us.
It's all good. I know the way I feel, I know the reasons behind it, and I'm happy to be working through it and getting on the way we are.
Most of all, I'm happy with our family.