Even in a poor summer you can get moments of beauty if you look hard enough. Let’s now find that pot of gold.
I would share the School drop off with my partner. It was something I never really thought much about, just a task you try to complete as quick as possible. Just try to make sure your son arrives on time, hasn’t forgotten anything and looks reasonably tidy. When it was my responsibility things tended not to be that well organised and my poor son was often last to arrive just seconds before the start of school.
The School pick up was always more sort after as you could then spend time with your kid.
I never gave any thought to social aspect of the school transport process.
That was before the world changed.
Now fast forward 10 months and I find myself in the long summer school break. Suddenly I now appreciate how important the School drop and pickup has become. Without the twice daily interactions with other parents the world has become a very isolating place. Don’t get me wrong, spending days talking Pokémon and wrestling is rewarding, it’s time spent with the most important person in the world to me.
But sometimes you yearn for contact with the outside world. Even if it’s just a five minute moan about the great British summer. That’s where the School run comes in. Since my partner died it has become my only consistent contact with the outside world. Something I truly appreciate and look forward to. Maybe that’s the reason my son is now often the first to arrive in the playground on a morning. It buys me a couple more minutes in the real world.
Every day, every hour I think of my lost love. It’s the same for my son, he’s always remembering his mum.
Some people keep a jar which they fill with memories. It helps them keep memories alive. We just go through the old photographs. My partner would moan at the number of photos I would snap over our 18 years together. It’s the one thing I’m pleased I ignored her on.
Today we remember again Switzerland and the happy times before the world changed. I hope these memories keep flooding back.
I have always been a very social type of person, enjoying company, enjoying conversations. That was before the world changed.
Now I spend significant amounts of time on my own. It’s been one of the biggest adjustments I have had to make as a single parent. The opportunities to go out into our mad old world just don’t seem to exist now. It’s coming up to 11 months since my partner died, and in that time I have had two nights out. One was for a meal with a family from school and the other was a trip with my son to watch the wrestling. Living in a small village you just don’t see anyone after you return from school.
During the day the splendid isolation continues. You do the school run in the morning then it’s a combination of housework, shopping and trying to do part time work from home. Then it’s back to school on the pick up run. The only regular interaction you get is with other parents at the school gates and the poor postman (I’m sure he could do without this every day). Today I timed things and I had a 1 minute chat with the poor postie and 7 minutes with other parents. That’s on top of the 2 minutes I spent on the phone trying to tell a random caller that I didn’t want a new kitchen or windows. That’s why I treasure the time I get to spend with my son (even when it’s spent talking all things Pokémon). I am genuinely thankful to have the chance to spend time with my son.
I always kind of recognised how tough it was for single parents, I just didn’t appreciate the isolation which could go with the role. If I had known about the isolation straight after my partners death I think that it might have sent me over the edge. Thankfully I’ve been able to adjust to it over the months. Now everything revolves around my son and nothing else really matters. Living your life through your children. I listened to someone on the radio who had also lost their partner and they also talked about living their life through the child. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only person surviving splendid isolation in this way.
One of the most perplexing aspects of the single parenting role I’ve found so far is the decision making process. Over the weekend I’ve agonised over the following vexed problems:
- Can my young son have a sleep over?
- Do I get the puppy neutered?
- Do I get the exploding tumble dryer fixed or replaced?
- Can my young son watch Suicide Squad as all his friends have?
- Is it time to buy new bedding?
- Can my young son have a finger spinner as all his friends have them?
- Has the oven gone past the point of common deciency and require cleaning?
- Is it too soon after the world changed to go on holiday? Can we afford to go on holiday? Where to go on holiday? Should we take the puppy with us?
- Can my son have the new IPad game as all his friends have it?
- Can we survive the three remaining school weeks with two pairs of now under sized and very worn trousers?
- Do I save my sons birthday cards or bin them?
- Which Secondary School does my son go to next year?
- Has my son got just got a cold or does he need to visit the doctor?
- Can my son have a new lego figure to replace the one his dad may have accidentally hovered up?
And so it went on…
Before the world changed we would talk these questions through as a couple. In most cases my partners insight and common sense would guide us to something like a decent answer. Looking back it seemed so straightforward and rational.
Now it’s just me, its not straightforward and it’s certainly not rational. I anguish over every decision, with often no guide to help me. The biggest problem is that I try to second guess what my partner would have said and done. I still try to come to a joint decision with my deceased partner. Unfortunately I often would see the world differently to my partner. I just can’t seem to second guess her great insights and wisdom. I just can’t replicate her thought process. As a result decision tend to get delayed, or constantly changed. When decision are made they are often a compromise between my viewpoint and with my best guess of what my partners viewpoint would have been, The decisions are often not very good in practice. Something has to change.
So from now on I’m going to try and trust my own judgement more. I’m going to try and learn from the mistakes I will make. My hope is that my young son has inherited his mums insight and he will become my guiding light. And yes my son did get a replacement lego figure.
My son has gone to bed and old photos are bringing back memories again.
We started from the Gomergrat viewing platform (3089m) on a perfect Swiss summer morning.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the last holiday I had with my lost love. I wish that I could relive every single minute of our time in The Alps. But memories sometimes fade and too often you don’t realise how precious life is. You need to seize these happy times and truly immerse yourself in them.
Old photos help fill in some of the gaps.
Historically I was a prolific photo snapper, often being shouted at for taking too many pictures. The pictures would then just sit in albums or memory cards, and just gather dust. I would never find the time to enjoy them.
Since the world changed, my camera now tends to gather dust and the old photos are frequent sources of smiles and tears. A pathway back to happier times.