What Maisie Knew

Earlier this week, my colleague, Austin, suggested I watch a film. And I’m always dubious when people suggest films to me, but he really felt I should watch it.

He gave me a brief outline, and so, last night, Mark and I sat down, without Bill sleeping above us, and we watched this film.
And it was one of those moment where I felt like I had a little revelation. 
It was like staring into an alternate future in parts. And for the first time, since my journey as a solo parent began, I realised I definitely had made the right decision, as a mother.
When you split from your other half, ultimately, as much as you consider your children, you do it for yourself. You have to take a selfish chance. Because life is too short to spend it any other way but striving for happiness. 
But with that selfish choice, and that great big sigh of relief, comes guilt.
You feel as though you have robbed your child of a family. 
You feel as though you tripped them up and beat them to the Happy Life finish line. 
And you realise, for the first time ever, that you chose yourself. You chose yourself over your child. 
And yet a simple film, managed to make me see the alternative.
And I remember looking up at Mark, with teary-eyed that held fat tears, and saying: “I did the right thing didn’t I?” And he just smiled and kissed my head. 
Hours before that. I found myself sat, knees pulled up to my chest, crying in Bill’s cot bed. I was overcome with sadness as I walked past his bedroom. I wanted to hold him and smell his toddler neck and hear his little voice. And I felt so desperate. 
I went downstairs and just cried, while Mark tried his best to comfort me. 
And I remember saying: “I just don’t understand why I can’t keep my baby.”
It was painful.
And I wasn’t expecting it. Not like that.
I still don’t understand why I can’t see my son every day. It doesn’t seem right to me, in a child-like way. I just can’t make sense of it. It feels empty and unnatural. And my usually quick-witted mind just comes up with a question mark, time, after time. 
But I learnt several things watching this film.
Firstly, we did it at the best time. Our son won’t remember the endless rows. The ones that make my cheeks flame with shame.
Secondly, I’m not alone in what has happened to my family. And I think I’m ready to stop apologising for it.
Thirdly, we’re doing a good job. Yes, I don’t love my son’s father, and he doesn’t love me. Much as people may enjoy a good feud, we are not two extras to the Corrie cast. We both love our son. Indisputable. And we may have failed at our relationship but we haven’t failed our little boy. 
We could do much, much worse.
My heart, and my natural instinct will always cry out to keep my baby near. 
And this won’t be the first or last time you will see me write about how it feels. 
But I finally realised that I did the right thing, for us. And not just for me,
And Austin probably didn’t realise how much that suggestion would come to mean. But, embarrassingly so, I owe him, for his love of films, Netflix, and friendly soul. 
And the film?
She knew all the things I’m glad my son never will. 

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  • Reply
    Lucy Heath
    17th July 2014 at 8:56 am

    Oh it's the hardest thing constantly worrying if you did the right thing and thinking it all over and worrying about the future. My parents split up when I left for Uni and in all honesty it should have happened years before. I am glad I was away for the worst bit but feel so guilty for what my brother and sister lived through. It will get easier and he is the most loved boy in the world. Youa re doing a great job! xxx

  • Reply
    Katie @mummydaddyme
    17th July 2014 at 12:20 pm

    You are doing a great job Charlotte and as I said to you when we sat together at dinner, I remember my parent's breaking up and it was ok. They always did things civilly and while not exactly being friends, they are the closest you can be to that I think. They laughed and chatted on my wedding day and have never ever said a bad word about the other to me, always having a chat when they picked my sister up and being there together on important days in our lives. It just felt natural, they didn't work as my parents together, but they were the best I could have asked for separately. That's what you need to remember. I would rather have seen them happy apart than together miserable. William will be the same. xx

  • Reply
    17th July 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Yes. As a child of a very fractious relationship I can say from personal experience it is much better that warring parents are apart. The most important thing is that the child is shown that they are loved, and not to be caught in the middle of fighting. You sound like you're doing the right thing for your little one. xxx

  • Reply
    Susanne Remic
    19th July 2014 at 7:37 am

    What a beautiful post. I am so so sorry that you don't get to see your baby every day but know this. It is better this way than for him to grow up knowing and witnessing a bad relationship between parents. So what you did was take the difficult road, not the selfish road. You took the hard path and chose a long term plan that would make your son happy, not you. Staying in an unhappy relationship is a sacrifice many women take believing that its best for the kids but it isn't. If you don't compromise on your happiness you are teaching your baby to do the same for himself and showing him that life can be what we make it. You should be proud of yourself and on the hard days, when he's not there, one day you will see that he is lucky to have two parents that love him and want him. When my dad left my mum we never saw him again and although I have very few memories of him as a father I have always felt something missing. To have two dedicated parents is a wonderful thing, no matter where they live. I hope that makes sense! It must be excruciating being away from your baby and I hope you don't think I am making light f that x x x x

  • Reply
    Honest Mum
    21st July 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Such a moving, honest post-you have done the right thing, all that matters is you are both in a happy environment full of love which you are, better to be apart happy, than together miserable. Yo are a brilliant mum. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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