This is something I never thought I’d be writing or talking about or even acknowledging but I decided I would because somewhere between the thoughts and tears there was a message that perhaps others needed to hear, however hard that may be.
Alyssa is my daughter. That seems like an obvious statement but right here and now it’s an important one. She’s my daughter and sometimes feels like the oxygen that helps me to get through the day. In my stupid, Disney addled brain, we’re a sort of Gilmore Girls real life replica except I don’t have ridiculously wealthy parents and I can’t handle as much coffee as they drink! She has her daddy who she sees each week and they love each other a lot. There are grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and close friends. We all love her. We didn’t need anyone else. However, someone else was coming and I could deny it all I wanted but it wouldn’t go away. She wouldn’t go away. The other woman.
I had had my suspicions for a while that her dad was seeing someone. We’re not on each others social media. It’s better that way. However, I knew the signs as I obviously know him quite well and after a few weeks just dropped it into conversation and had it confirmed. I suppose technically it’s none of my business, our personal lives are our own, but when it has the potential to be something that will effect our daughter then that’s when it becomes a shared business.
As with the other relationship he’d had since us, instantly my stomach started knotting. Not because of him but because of her. In all honesty the thought running through my head on repeat was please don’t let this be the one that works out. I know that’s selfish. You might be thinking it’s because I still have feelings for him. I didn’t. I don’t. It wasn’t about that. It was about her. It wouldn’t have mattered who she was or what she did, I didn’t want this to be the one that worked out.
Within a few weeks though, I was pretty sure that my worst fears were coming true in front of me. They had booked a holiday together, he was basically living with her and by all accounts they were looking to the future. Why was any of this my business? Well, we had made an agreement right at the beginning of Alyssa’s life that he wouldn’t introduce a partner to her unless he’d been dating them at least 6 months and he was sure it was going to work out. It wouldn’t be fair to Alyssa, having people come and go and obviously seeing Alyssa was about her and him and no one else.
It was pretty evident that this woman was someone who was going to last and I was pretty sure the 6 month mark had already passed. I also thought he was probably worrying about asking or mentioning them meeting. With every ounce of courage I had, I messaged him and suggested that rather than Alyssa and I attending her cousin’s birthday party the following weekend, perhaps he’d like to use the opportunity to introduce Alyssa to his partner. He made sure that I was okay with it, that it was my decision and said thank you. At this point, the sob escaped my mouth and I sat there and cried.
I truly sobbed for a good ten minutes or so and then managed to pull myself together. Why was I crying? Because, I didn’t have my daughter, the thing I had craved most in life for years and years, for someone else to come along and get to play a sort of “mum” role. People said to me but you will always be her mum…yes but FYI, this doesn’t help me. She will still go out with them for days out and people will look and think she is Alyssa’s mother and that really really hurts. When I had met her dad 4 years ago, I never thought this is where we would end up.
Of course they met and everything went well. Very considerately he kept her away from the house and me but it became quite apparent that she would be around and an important part of Alyssa’s life for the foreseeable future, so I asked him to bring her to the house so I could say hello, which we did. I wanted to hate her. I wanted to find some reason to not like her, just for my own sanity. I couldn’t. Rather annoyingly from our brief interactions she seems quite nice.
What is both good and bad is that Alyssa adores her. She looks forward to seeing her and wants to do everything with her. That does mean that at home if I say no or not now then I get told she is off to see this other woman to do it with her. I know it shouldn’t and that I should take it with a pinch of salt but this cuts like a knife right to the heart. I should be pleased that she gets on so well with her and I do know I can never be replaced but that doesn’t stop the flash of pain that passes through me when her name is mentioned or excitement comes from a visit.
Why am I writing this? Because I want any other parent feeling the absolute heartbreak of bringing another adult into a parenting role for their child to know they are not alone. It does hurt. In fact it’s one of the worst hurts I know. It doesn’t go away. You just learn to live with it and have to remember that at some point you may be doing the same or you may even be the new person joining the clan. If you are that new person, know that any sadness, hostility or any other negative feelings directed toward you are borne from the love of our children and not because of who you are.
To the other woman in my daughter’s life, thank you for being nice. We won’t ever be friends but I am glad that you and my daughter are.