July is a momentous month for me. In fact pretty much all of the major things that have happened to me (other than the birth of my kids) have happened in July. This July marks 5 years of me being a single parent, and one year of being re partnered.
We have a tradition in this house of story telling. I tell a story, or the children do, changing names ''to protect the innocent'' but based on real life events in our lives. Often they are bed time stories, detailing humour events in the kids lives. It's become a way of processing for the children -sometimes they will talk through family events like the changes in our family makeup and dynamics.
Tonight my son (7) wanted to tell the story - it was about a mum and a dad who were happy with one child but then they broke up and another one was born. It didn't happen like that at all in real life, by the way, but this was the way the story went. He told it quite matter of factly, and took delight in creating a story with names for the parents and children, and other changed details. And even though for him it is just a story - and simply a way to prolong bedtime, these stories still are, and maybe always will be, bittersweet for me.
As I have mentioned before I am fortunate to have a relatively good relationship with the father of my children. They see people who get along together. Not that this is always such a good thing - many days I have been challenged by them -''if you get on so well how come you aren't together?'' Or, more recently, by my 10 year old ''how come you get on so well - divorced people are meant to hate each other aren't they?".
No, I am not one of those people who say ''I wouldn't change a thing''. I am not one of those people who say ''I should never have married/had children with that person''. And I am not one of those people that says ''I'm glad how things turned out''.
But, I AM a person who can say, I am so lucky that the circumstances that have got me to this place in my life have made it turn out so well. I can say, with a lighter heart than the sadness of uncoupling initially allows, that five years on from that first nightmarish week of single parenting, I find myself in a happy, hopeful and promise filled place.