This Mother’s Day I’ll be spending the day having lunch with my husband and my 20 month old son.
At some stage they’ll give me my present and we’ll soak up the lovely autumn day and we might even go for a walk afterwards.
And to any passerby we will seem like the epitome of a “normal” young family, except for the fact that we most definitely aren’t.
Because to look at us there are so many things that you wouldn’t know.
You wouldn’t know that my husband and I have been separated for nearly a year and a half, after I packed up the car and left the matrimonial home with my son when he was only three months old.
You wouldn’t know the turmoil we were in in the lead up to our separation and how hard we tried to make it work before I finally accepted what we both knew deep down, that we were fundamentally incompatible and always would be.
You wouldn’t know that I couldn’t leave that relationship for myself but I was strong enough to do it for my son because I wasn’t willing to put him through a lifetime of his parents arguing. You would never guess that I am actually a family lawyer and have advised people in my situation hundreds of times before, yet never thought I’d end up here myself.
You wouldn’t see the private moments of pain and turmoil that we both go through, and although I am not privy to my husband’s suffering, I can say that I personally have had many nights where in the privacy of my flat I have opened (and drunk) a bottle of wine, put my wedding rings on (and sometimes my wedding video, in my most self loathing moments) and cried my eyes out.
You would never know that despite the many issues that we have with one another my husband and I make a choice on a daily basis to put our son first and to treat each other as friends so that our son can have some sense of normalcy and experience what it is like to have two parents who care for one another.
You wouldn’t realize that my husband and I regularly have to press the “reset” button and put our issues with each other to the side, although we often want to tell each other to “fuck off”, and sometimes do, yet we’ll still spend every Christmas and Easter together with our son because our love for him is more important than our problems with each other.