Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cry no more

On Sunday we celebrated Zoe's third birthday. The day started with me and her taking the plane back to Stockholm from Copenhagen where she had spent a couple of days while I finished the conference in Paris. Zoe was her usual good self flying, asking the security woman for a pat down (actually asking me to ask her) and playing with the big doll in the lounge's play room. On take-off she put her head on my lap and fell asleep, sleeping through me having a cup of coffee and our landing between the now greener pastures north of Stockholm. At the train station at home a friend came to pick us up and help us over to her dad where he had prepared her birthday party. Zoe's best friend Ella was there and a couple of other friends of ours. There were balloons and many presents, among them a bike, one of those without pedals that you push forward. She was ecstatic about it as well as the Brio train and the plastic cash register. We had cup cakes with candles and sang happy birthday and everything was nice and good.

Now, I'm not going to pretend it is easy having split up from ones' life-partner, especially when there are children involved. Zoe's dad and I still find it difficult to be together, to find the balance between amicability and distance. I am not sure we have similar views on that, I miss the friendship, but he needs distance. Yet, in situations like this, of course Zoe comes first and it is clear that she loves each minute of having us both in the same room. In fact I have realized through experience and through talking to her, that she likes and needs a longer overlaps
when we hand her over: she cries much less after having spent half an hour with both of us, than if one of us just drops her off. That said, she still cries each and every time I leave. That being daycare or at her daddy's. It was therefore a big surprise to me that when the party came to an end and when I had to leave, she said "Bye bye mom" and continued playing with her new train. I was almost saddened. At least I was struck by the ease of which new toys and her dad playing with her could make up for me leaving for the first time.

I walked from there with a bitter-sweet feeling. My little girl is three years old and getting bigger and stronger every day. If it was the toys or a playing daddy, or even my three hours there, I don't know, but it was good for all of us to not have the tears. Yet my heart was heavy because this is the beginning of the process of her independence from me. An independence that is both good and hard for both of us. But an inevitable process nevertheless. 

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