I’ve just spent the weekend without the kids (their dad’s turn with them). I had a mixed weekend really. You’d think three and a half years in I’d be used to being without the kids but I often feel guilty spending time on myself, doing things for myself, making my own breakfast and nobody else’s…well apart from the dog’s I guess. On Saturday I went to get my hair done (the greys seem to be coming thick and fast as I hurtle towards 40). It’s an infrequent treat. Sitting in the hairdressers, book in hand, cup of tea by my side, the hustle and bustle of the salon. The pleasure in somebody washing your hair can never be underestimated; the scalp massage. Utter bliss, I was so relaxed almost to the point of snoozing. Anyway, came out of the salon and saw my kids in the car with my ex so I thought I’ll continue onto my friends cafe, have a flat white and give them a call. I knew that they were heading to a family do later and I never like to interrupt these occasions with a phone call from me.
And then my world came crashing down and it seems silly about how upset I was now; now I’ve had time to digest things and think rationally. I phoned my ex’s mobile and my son answered. Had he had a busy morning? They were out buying treats for C as she was having a baby shower today. A pamper voucher for now and a coffee machine for after the baby arrives. I felt winded. I was speechless and ended the conversation quickly with silent tears spilling onto my cheeks’ trying to cry discreetly in the busy cafe. Since when did he get so bloody generous? And where is this money coming from? Has he been saving up the £50 a month he doesn’t give me for the kids to purchase her gifts? Has she asked for them? Demanded them? Is he buying out of guilt, fear or remorse? I remember towards the end he used to buy me gifts. I hadn’t asked for them, they didn’t have much thought to them and I remember saying I’d rather have his time and affection rather than things. I’ve since sold most of these things (watches, shoes etc) on ebay; I’d rather not have things he has bought for me in my space, around the house. And then I felt bad because again it made me compare this relationship, this spirit of generosity (if that’s simply what it is) with my current relationship. I know my partner is under financial pressure with his kids and he supports me with so many other things that have a monetary value. Things around the house which I would have no clue about and would probably buy in (we are embarking on a painting project this summer!). I need to bare this in mind. A sign of a good relationship is not showering each other with gifts, with things – it’s about being supportive, mutual respect, open communication. And its all tied up with the baby too of course and how I feel about this.
I tried to speak to my partner about it. Tried to convey why I was so upset, jealous even but I think it was so connected to us, or that’s how I felt at the time, that I really struggled.
On Saturday evening I went out with the local girls for pizza. I ranted at them and got nothing but support – do you really want a seaweed bath, there’s living things in that seaweed that could crawl into your you-know-what! And those coffee machines are shit anyway and real life will soon kick in when the baby arrives etc etc and I did feel better. I also felt a bit foolish for being so materialistic. I’ve always said I would never rely on another person to buy me things and make me happy (I must have been in a total Beyonce frame of mind when I made this resolution) and now here I was crying with jealousy. I met one of his sisters and her husband in the pizza restaurant and again nothing but support (without me prompting it I have to add, I wasn’t ranting about my woes to everybody, honest). I did note that they had drunk a bottle of wine each right enough but they bolstered me, told me how well I was doing, keeping things as normal as possible for the kids. Not bringing them up with bitterness or hatred. I started to think about how his sister feels too about this impending baby. Especially comparing this baby to her little niece who has just arrived. You can’t play favourites with children but it would be very easy to do so in this situation. She reminded me of her father’s words to me at her mum’s funeral “we love you, we will always love you”.
Ultimately, it’s really none of my business what he buys for her. Their relationship is none of my business and if it weren’t for the open innocence of the kids I wouldn’t hear about half of this stuff. I would be oblivious and that’s perhaps a better place to be at the moment.