Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Ava left me recently to spend two weeks at Disney World Florida with her Dad. The kind of trip of a lifetime that I would never begrudge her. But a long time for me to be without my girl. Having only in the past year or so become fully accustomed to being without her Sunday to Wednesday, ten days was the longest we had previously ever been apart. I wasn't looking forward to it if I'm honest. 

It started exactly as I predicted. The first few days were like any other without her and I got on with life as per usual. I planned lots of things to fill my time including catching up with friends, a couple of dates and some beauty appointments. The plan was to make myself so busy that I wouldn't have time to properly miss her. The two weeks flew by in a blurry of meals out, work, a night or two away and I even managed to squeeze in a massage. But I missed her. I missed the morning cuddles as she cheekily slid into bed next to me at 7am, I missed having someone to help me in the kitchen during our weekly roast and I'm not gonna lie, I missed having someone to refill my crisp bowl when I was taking a bubble bath. It was bloody difficult. 

Over the past three years I have conditioned myself to the weekly absence of Ava. I have taught my heart and manipulated my mind to understand that this is how it is and that I may as well take advantage of it. So much so that (don't judge me for saying it) I actually enjoy having my own space and tend to make full and utter use of my freedom. Three nights off a week as a single mother isn't bad going and allows me a personal life that not all single parents are lucky to have. Don't get me wrong, I would gladly give it all up in a heartbeat if I had to. But I don't and you gotta make hay while the sun shines. And by that I mean drink after work beers in a beer garden while the sun shines while most other single mothers are cooking the fish fingers.

But two weeks is a lot. And I struggled a lot. Which was probably exacerbated by how much closer the two of us have become over the past 12 months. Two girls with very similar personalities don't always see eye to eye and during the toddler years I often felt we massively misunderstood each other and her dedicated and enduring love and affiliation towards her father often left me feeling insecure. This seems to have changed over the past year and the the bond between us continues to grow closer by the day. I'm not quite sure of the reasons why. I hope it's age. I hope we are just slowly learning and understanding more about each other. I pray it's that we are discovering we have more and more in common. I secretly suspect it's because I was in a very dark place last year and she saw that. But I hope not and would rather not dwell on those things.

While she was gone I did try and focus on the positives. On all the things that I could do with more ease and less argument. Like take a bottle of wine into the bath with me and not come out for three whole hours. Or get my nails done without it costing me an extra fiver for a junior file and polish. I didn't have to bake Shopkins cookies for two full weeks straight and I was able to watch a film at the cinema that wasn't a PG. I managed a weekend night away without having to organise childcare and I was able to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon in the west end enjoying a leisurely lunch in the sun with only my book for company. Not that I don't adore our once a week 'Mummy's tired so let's go the pub for dinner' ritual. But it was nice not to have to explain the difference between vegetarianism and Christianity over dinner for the millionth time on a frazzled Friday night. Hell I was even able to lift money and put on a load of washing and press all the buttons by myself. If that's not living then I don't know what is.

What else did I get up to? I was able to go to yoga or for a run whenever I pleased, I managed to throw away the 15 months of 'art' that I had been trying to smuggle out with the bin men for six weeks (don't call me callous I keep the good stuff) and I was able to sleep. Those long lies were immeasurable and probably my favourite part of her entire absence.

But I missed her. She called me every few days. She missed me too and brought me back some excellent presents. And now she's home and all's well that ends well. I watched the recent documentary on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, I've been listening to the news unfold on recent events in Manchester with horror. I, along with the rest of the nation, am currently hugging my loved ones that little bit tighter. Even now as I sit writing I'm watching her snuggled up on the sofa out of the corner of my eye. Tiny hands gripped around the iPad that was originally meant to be mine, giggling out loud at the latest Cookie Swirl video, chomping her way through a bag Quavers, completely oblivious to the fact that her mother is staring at her like a complete loon & nervously catastrophising on what she would ever do if she lost her.

A fellow mother recently commented to me that these years are precious, special and not to be taken for granted, but that 'the bit where they can drink wine with you is pretty fun too'. And I got that. I understand it and look forward to it lots. 

Ava called me lots when she was in Florida. 

I hope she calls me lots when she is 21 too.


Rosie said...

Beautiful writing, Dawn.

Dawn Young said...

Thank you so much! x

last year's girl said...

I love you both. This was gorgeous. x

Dawn Young said...


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