Day 2. The reality of it being just the 3 of us (4 if you could the dog) is settling in a bit more. I’m still enjoying the novelty of things…. when the kids and I go out and return home, there hasn’t been anyone in the house while we were gone. Everything is how we left it and there’s a peace and stillness that was never here when Stu lived here.

This morning I emptied the dishwasher with no-one there to criticise how I had loaded it. Every single thing in there was clean – something Stu claimed never happened when I used to do it. I don’t think this particular trait is unique to Stu, a few conversations at work (yes we really are that boring at times) reveal that almost everyone I worked with said their husband takes command of the dishwasher, saying that the wives don’t load it properly.

Last night I had a friend over with no-one commenting on our conversation or having the tv on in the background. Such is Stu’s obsessive need to watch sports all the time, that if the kids were staying overnight at their Grandma’s and Laura came over, we would be forced to sit upstairs on the bed so he could watch his beloved tv. Or we would be downstairs, and Stu would not only be involved in our conversation, but would criticise me for what I had said, later once Laura had gone home.

Jago has asked if Daddy is still at Grandma’s, a couple of times and has made reference to when Daddy gets a new house but other than that, doesn’t mention our change in living circumstances. Dylan, understandably, has found the situation a little more tricky. His behaviour has been fairly challenging, with him taking a long time and a lot of resistance to doing what I have asked him to do or not to do. He’s still wonderfully loving and thoughtful, just testing the water as to what he can get away with. I know that being consistent and holding firm boundaries is the key here.

Last night Dylan said when Daddy gets a new house he wants to live with him. I said we can discuss it when Stu gets a house. Dylan said he wanted Jago to live there too, I said that would not be an option, as Jago is only 3, he will stay with me. Dylan then apologised and said he didn’t really want to live with Stu, he was just finding my repeated requests to behave himself, mean. I said it was normal for him to feel like this and find the situation challenging and that, when the time comes and Stu gets a new house, if Dylan did want to live with him, we could discuss it then. I hope I’ve said the right thing, but then you never know with parenting and that’s universal, doesn’t matter if you’re doing it together or alone, we always wonder if we’re doing the right thing.

The strangest part of day 1 was, after having daily contact for 9 years, I didn’t contact Stu at all. It was weird but very liberating. On day 2 I had to contact him about work and seeing the boys today. It’s Stu’s birthday today so I’m going to pick Dylan up from school and drop him and Jago round to him for the night. I took the boys to the shops and we bought Stu a card, present and birthday cake. Something my parents never would have done for each other or for our well being. I hope it turns out ok and that Stu recognises it for the gesture it is – he may feel like life as he knows it is over but really, at 36 today, this is the first year of the rest of his life and what a wonderful life I hope he’ll make it.

*image – Dylan and Stitch walking to the shop to get Stu’s card. What a beautiful January day.