This weekend I logged on to social media and found a photograph of you with another child.
When you left I knew that she had a daughter. I knew that she threw her daughter’s father out for you. I knew that this was going on but in my head, I ignored it and denied it.
I sent you a text with every milestone or amusing thing that our son had done. When something was wrong I would message you.
I tried to make sure that our custody was fair and on your terms. I wanted to ensure that you got some of your weekend, too.
I told you everything.
I logged in and saw that photo and realised that, actually, you have an entire other life outwith us, the people who used to be yours. They are yours now. She and her child. I am not, and neither is he.
I will never tell you how many times I cried over you leaving. You saw it twice in 17 months but it was so much more.
I will never tell you that every time he is sick or hurts himself he cries for me and wants me to make it better.
I will never tell you that he calls me beautiful and pretty and wants to give me extra kisses when I wear lipstick.
I won’t ever let you know that when you leave our home after “doing bedtime” and telling me that his eyes are closed, that his bedroom door opens immediately and he asks me to “do bedtime” all over again. I won’t tell you that he says “Goodbye” to you but “See you soon” to me.
I won’t make it difficult for you by saying that he asks me questions about why you and I are not together; why I won’t come in the car to see your parents when you leave at the weekend, or why you don’t stay here.
I won’t make you feel bad about the crazy routines I need to keep because my parents won’t speak to your parents and don’t want to see your face again because of what you did. I’ll just cancel my plans because it’s easier.
I’ll never, ever tell you that recently I’ve realised that my child knows fine well who is there for him more often than not.
I’ll never break it to you that what you do is not parenting. You take him away to exciting places and buy him things and pick up a Happy Meal on the way home, and then he tells me about his toys and his adventures with you. I clean his pee-stained clothes and prepare him meals using Tesco Value ingredients, and let him “imagine” a shot on the rocking boats outside before we walk home. Then we sit at home on the beautiful wooden child’s chair passed on to me from a friend, eating our spaghetti bolognese with my big and his small cutlery, trying to teach him manners.
I will never tell you that one day, he will know exactly who his main parent is, even though to everyone else it’s perfectly clear.
I wouldn’t dream of letting you know that even though everyone has commented on how calm I’ve been, I’ve been falling apart. I also won’t tell you that sometimes, my girlfriends and I all call you a bastard and feel weirdly better.
I hope that your strange mix of parenting your child sometimes and parenting hers sometimes makes you feel like you are parenting. I will probably never tell you that because it is only me, I feel like I’m constantly failing.
I will never tell you any of these things because it might make you feel like less of a parent, and I am not that person.