Little Magnets

Go on give me a hug

“When they’re little, it’s like having a limb removed.” Ouch…

A sympathetic comment from a fellow single mum in response to me telling her earlier this evening that I didn’t have to rush home to my kids because they’re not at home tonight, they’re with their dad and his girlfriend, and although that’s not new in itself, it’s new because it’s a school night and so far they’ve been sleeping at home all through the week. I don’t like it (I hate it), but there is no escaping the fact that I’m just going to have to get used to it. Suckage.

I remember when the girls were little, maybe 2 and 4, maybe younger. We’d left them at their grandma’s for a few days and were on the way to pick them up. I’d had a brilliant time away from them but missed them of course, and the closer we got, the more I felt I was being pulled to them, like they were two tiny but super strong magnets and I was a big old horseshoe magnet that had been magnetised when they were born.

Just like a magnetic attraction, whilst far away there was a pull but it wasn’t that strong: I could turn from it, wrap myself up in sun and music and mediterranean seafood (not literally wrap myself in seafood, that would be weird); but now in the car, getting closer to them, it was powerful and I knew that when we got there I would be helpless, the kids and I would ping towards each other like magnets and hold on very tightly in big bear hugs (with little bears). I tried to put this feeling into words but he didn’t quite get it…

Not to be discriminatory against men or anything (would I?!) but it’s not the same for them. Without having grown the tiny bones and organs and toe nails and everything else for 9 months inside themselves, or made the milk that turned the tiny bodies into chubby babes, Dads just can’t have the same physical attachment. Yes Dads hold them and love them but it’s not the same. Doesn’t mean the love is any less strong or valuable, but it’s not the same. Maybe that’s the reason that so many men can walk away.

So is the limb removal analogy is a LITTLE dramatic?! Yeah, ok maybe… But for me it’s along the right lines. Maybe more like a digit removal? Or a fingernail? Urgh sorry… But my little ones are part of me, it doesn’t feel right that they’re not here with me at those times when they would usually be. Yes, the whole of parenthood is one long exercise of letting go, realising that magnetic force is getting weaker, allowing the beings that were literally once part of you become completely independent of you. Kahlil Gibran wisely said you are like the bow and the children are the arrows; you can point them in a certain direction but who knows where they will land? But that doesn’t really make it any easier. For me this serious letting go is coming so much sooner than I expected, and it’s really bloody hard.

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