Freshly divorced and with a new man in my life (not the reason for my failed marriage), I moved from the parental county to pastures new.
Single parents aren’t just women whose partners have left them. It happens to guys too, though it’s unusual for them to get custody in a separation/divorce case.
Taking on a ready-made family, I felt I had it all and could take everything within my stride. I had plans to be a good ‘Mum’, without stepping on the toes of the original, hopefully bring the boys up in a way similar to my childhood, and to be there for them as and when the need arose, ie: nursing grazed knees, mopping fevered brows, and the like.
Partner was over the moon when I agreed to move in, and we set a date which was the Thursday the boys broke up for the holidays and I would surprise them by meeting them from school.
They were really pleased to see me as they knew I was going to live with them now, and that Nanny wouldn’t have to babysit.
Ooooh. Out of the mouths of babes, but so very true.
Partner had arranged to go out with his mates that first night, and I did indeed babysit.
My first couple of months were spent getting the house up together, buying new white goods for the kitchen, arranging for new carpets to be laid, some badly needed furniture, and a whole set of new clothes for the three ‘men’ in my life.
Within six months, my meagre savings pot from my divorce (bar some I’d had the foresight to squirrel away under a five year bond without Partner knowing) was gone and his attitude changed.
I got fed up having to spend my days with Nanny when the kids were at school (though she was thrilled to see her precious boy so happy) so I got a job. Nanny promised to look after them when they got home from school should I be running late.
The question of marriage raised its head after eighteen months, but first he had to get his final divorce papers. I footed the bill, though he was entitled to Legal Aid as it existed at the time, but once free of wife number one, he said he didn’t feel ready to take on wife number two just yet.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad, and I could’ve left at any time, but as well as not being a quitter and stubborn as hell, I felt a sense of duty and responsibility to those kids, so I stuck it out for almost 8 years.
I learned an awful lot about life, single parenting, ex and in-law interference, money matters, house budgets, and being taken for a ride.
I also learned a lot about Me, the worst being allowing myself to be taken for a ride!
Although things didn’t work out in the end, I have happy memories of fostering, I became good with people and solving people’s problems, I was (and still am) a good money manager, and by the time I left, I knew I would never be saying to myself ‘If Only……….’
as I had tried everything possible to make the relationship work and it wasn’t worth it.
The biggest favour he did for me was not making me Number Two Wife.
The Indians in the movies say White Man speak with forked tongue.
Yep, the bastards lie (and I was a fool to let him get away with it).
People say the grass is greener, but that’s not always the case as it could be a trick of the light or a different strain of seed.
Be careful what you wish for has hidden strings and conditions, those that pull at the heart and push your own needs into the background.
Inner strength is what everyone finds when they are left to cope and make the best of a bad situation because there are other, younger, people to consider.
Getting to know yourself is another way of dealing with mistaken identity or having a shattered personality with little remnants of the original.
We all tend to do foolish things as we’re growing up, but it’s not the end of the world to make a mistake, as long as we learn from them, however hard the lesson.