The Teenager found out that his dad has spent the New Year in America.
Today. Two days later.
I only heard this from The Teenager through texts. His dad has yet to call me to explain his change in circumstances – which, if social media is to believed, goes back months and may involve a permanent move.
It takes two parents to raise a child, no matter what the circumstances. Right?
Our house is furnished entirely from Gumtree bargains and cast-offs. The goodwill of friends have enabled me to paint my kitchen and given me my bed. And The Teenager’s.
For the last 17 years, planning my working day has taken on Herculean proportions; lists, more lists and bagfuls of stuff. Even working in a low-paid, dead-end job meant endless mornings of rousing The Teenager at 5.30 am and taking him to my mum’s house, handing over his school uniform and a sleepy child.
Working with a child meant low paid jobs and always being available for the latest crisis – nits, bullying, Parents Evening as the perennial lone parent. This is precisely why I took on low paid work. There was no alternative.
Meanwhile, The Teenager’s father, unencumbered with childcare, or indeed raising a child, rose swiftly through his chosen profession. The Teenager’s room at his house in London wasn’t his room, it was a spare room, his toys pushed away under the bed in plastic boxes between visits.
And now, while I have been renting a cottage for 12 years (after spending the first four years of The Teenager’s life in penury at my mother’s house) and hoping for continuity for The Teenager, I learn that not only does his father own a flat in London, and has built a house in the Carribean, he has also made plans to move to America.
I used to ignore the blinding obvious. We both stood up in court – me having fled with our son, aged 10 months. I left the house. Big mistake. He had a brilliant barrister. But it was only later I found out just how big a mistake this was.
What can I say to The Teenager? Simply, the truth, no matter how much money, no matter which exotic locations, the absolute joy of bringing him up will always usurp that. I am blessed. Me and The Teenager have been through turbulent times, but we have always got through them with love and support.
For me, that is priceless and beyond compare. I remember telling The Teenager’s father I had been diagnosed with MS, four years ago. He swore he would help out more, be there through the hard Campath times.
You guessed it, it didn’t happen, if anything, contact has became even more sporadic, until it’s petered out to nothing.
Despite it all. The upset. The rage. My focus is upon The Teenager.
It has always been and always will be.