You cannot prepare yourself for the pain of watching your child's heart break.

Music is one of my greatest loves in life. Give me a Spotify playlist over a TV series any day. It's rare for me to not be listening to music, and I'm far from fussy when it comes to genres or artists.
I can probably attach a memory to every song in my music library. Whether it's "this song was played at that mental house party when we were all 17 and paraletic" or "this song reminds me of my first boyfriend in secondary school" there's always something to remember when I'm listening to a few throwbacks. Whether I like it or not.
I listened to an old playlist on shuffle the other day and there was a song on that playlist which got me feeling all sorts of emotional .It was a song which I had forgotten even existed. I knew it reminded me of something but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. It was at about 30 seconds in when I suddenly realized that the last time I'd listened to that song was in my car, when I could barely see through the tears in my eyes because the news that my child's father was rebuilding his life without us had finally sunk in.
I was driving across my hometown, which at the time felt like the loneliest place on earth,with my innocent newborn tucked up in the back, cosy in his car seat, totally oblivious to the situation he'd been born into and totally unaware that his mummy was sobbing in the drivers seat.
This song held no romantic value or meaning between my child's father and I, in fact it held no relevance to our past but one line pretty much summed up everything going on in my head and heart back then:
"If I could change your mind, I would hit the ground running."
Hands down, in that moment, I would've hit the ground running. I would've driven a million miles just to be able to see the man who had run away the moment he realized he was going to be a father. I contemplated driving my baby son to his door to show him what he was leaving behind, to be able to change his mind and to try to find some sort of answer for the mess around me. Instead, I drove home and crawled into bed with my baby and cried myself to sleep.
As much as I thought I was crying on behalf of my baby son back then, in hindsight I know I was crying those tears because I was hurting. I couldn't comprehend how someone who had been a good friend of mine could've done that to me. I was crying for me. I was crying because I was disappointed and because I felt betrayed.
I suppose, those were the days when it was OK for me to be selfish, it was OK to feel the weight of it all and to feel sorry for myself, because my son was just a baby and he knew nothing about the situation. He was too young to understand, or even know what I was so sad about.
Having said that, I can remember thinking that one day, the pain I was feeling would reach my son.
I knew I'd get over it to some extent, I knew that this man was replaceable in my life, but the same couldn't be said for my child. I knew that, at some point,my son would go through every emotion that I'd been going through. I knew that the time would come eventually and that when it did, I'd be reliving the pain over and over again. I knew that as much as I could try to move on, it'd always play a part in my future. Only, I didn't expect it to come back around so quickly.
I thought I could protect my son from this situation for at least the first five years of his life. I thought to myself 'maybe when he starts school he will begin to wonder where his dad is. I've got a few years yet before I have to face the reality of this situation.'
But he hasn't even turned three yet and I'm absolutely certain that he is very much aware of the situation already. He knows.
I've had approximately 42 months to prepare myself for this and yet I'm so unprepared. I knew it was coming and yet I am still so shocked. I thought I had more time. I thought I could keep him inside our little bubble a while longer and I thought I could carry on pretending like everything's fine.
But honestly, the 'daddy' chats are now a daily thing. This isn't just toddler babble. He wants answers.
At first, he would role play and make up stories about 'daddy', other times he would obsess over other people's fathers. What was once a case of him pretending 'daddy' was on the other end of his play phone, has now become "I want to see my daddy."
He can't be fooled. He's a clever kid, way beyond his years and he knows that 'daddy' is missing.
What started off as the odd comment here and there, has now become a daily conversation. Normally followed by tears (from both of us) and it's not just a case of make-believe play anymore. He is trying desperately to make sense of the situation, he wants to know who daddy is, where he is and why he can't see him.
He gets cross with me and says "listen to me mummy" because he thinks I am fobbing him off. I'm not, I just don't know what to say.
Yesterday, I mustered up the strength to tell him:
"You don't have a daddy here, you just have mummy at home and you have lots of family who love you." 
and despite me listing the million and one people who do love him, he wasn't satisfied. 
He gets frustrated when I tell him that daddy isn't here and he challenges me. He tells me I'm wrong and that his daddy is waiting outside in his yellow car and that he wants to see him. 
And I wish he was right.
It's heartbreaking because I know that he is not asking for much. He only wants what everyone else around him has got. And yet he can't have it.
He wants a daddy to play cars with. He wants a daddy to pick him up and throw him over his shoulder when his little legs are tired of walking. He wants someone else to love and spend time with when he's fed up with mummy. He doesn't want to feel left out around his friends who all have dads at home. He hopes that, even just once, it'll be his daddy at the door collecting him from nursery. He wonders 'Why is it always someone else's daddy at the door and not mine?'
And I'm quickly realizing that I can't protect him from this.
I am here, at the point I always knew I'd be at eventually, only I always imagined I'd somehow come up with the right words along the way, that everything would fall into place naturally and that he wouldn't miss what he never had but, sadly he is longing for someone else to love him, and he deserves that just as much as any other child does.
I thought I'd deal with this side of things a lot better than I am dealing with it right now. I can sense his confusion and I can see his little mind ticking over, and I know that this is only the beginning of a long road ahead.
It was easier when my son was tiny because I was the only one hurting. Now, I'm having to watch him go through the same disappointment and heartache that I am all too familiar with. The kind of heartache that I wouldn't wish on anyone, least of all my precious baby.
I never could've imagined the way it would feel to hear a child, my child, asking for someone who doesn't want to know him, with such a sadness in his voice and tears in his eyes. I can't describe the frustration I feel, not only at the man who caused this but at myself for not being able to make my child's sadness go away. Not being able to bring that man into his life. Literally feeling powerless as a mother.
As a mum, I'm supposed to be able to wipe away his tears and make everything better. When he grazes his knee, I'll kiss it better and cuddle him until it stops hurting. When he's left out by other kids at the park I'll go and play with him to make him feel less alone, when he's unwell I am there to care for his every need but this... this I can't make better.
I can't ease the pain and I can't bring him what he wants. I can't tell him it'll be OK because truthfully, it probably won't be. I literally cannot fix this.
You know that feeling you get when another child is horrible to your child, or when your child's balloon flies away and their little lip quivers before they let out real tears? It hurts, right? 
You know how much you want to step in and stick up for your child; how you want to replace that lost balloon in an instant; how you would do anything to take away their sadness.
When they fall over and hurt themselves you wish it was you hurting instead of them.
Well, I suppose this is a little bit like that except the big difference is that I know this pain is not temporary. I know it's here to stay and I know that I will never be able to soften the cruel reality that his father didn't want to know him.
I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could go back to that evening when I was sobbing in my car, and I would relive that evening every single day for the rest of my life if it meant that I didn't have to watch my son's heart breaking as he gradually uncovers the truth about his father.
I would pretty much do anything to take his pain away and to put a stop to the confusion. But the truth is, there is nothing that I can do besides being here to pick up the pieces.

The weird reality of raising tiny humans.

It's a certainty that parenthood is quite different from how I'd always pictured it to be; in a few ways, it's easier, and in lots of other way's, it's a damn sight harder. But, above all else- it's just plain bloody weird at times.


Because kids are strange, strange creatures. Sure, they're lovely little things (sometimes) but they're also pretty odd. They say and do strange things. They push us to our limits and then they fill us with love and pride. They're funny, they're infectious and they're complex.

To put it bluntly: they're a bit of a head fuck sometimes.

You can think you're doing the right thing, teaching them all the right morals and all the best manners- and then they'll go and do something like shout "mummy's got a big fat bum bum" in a busy public place, and you'll wonder if they're even yours or if they got muddled up with someone else's embarrassingly outspoken kid on the postnatal ward.

You see, life just takes on this whole other dimension when you throw kids into the mix. They'll amaze you, they'll leave you speechless and they'll definitely embarrass you. Regularly.

Kids just have this totally unconventional way of viewing the world.

Tipping a bowl of lunch over your head when you're a kid is standard dinner table etiquette, and what else are you meant to do with it anyway?

And when they're not tipping soup over their heads, they're stuffing cheese sandwiches into their toy cars. As you do....

When times are stressful, like when you're stuck on public transport in a traffic jam, yelling "COME ON MR POTATO HEAD!!" to the bus driver seems like the reasonable thing to do, right?

Don't get me wrong, though they might be feisty little lunatics, they're far from stupid.
Somehow, at the age of 2, my son is well informed on the female anatomy. And when better to show off his knowledge than at the nursery's summer BBQ:

"Look mummy, it's a boobie!" (Whilst pointing at the nipple-like end of a balloon...)

However, they don't always use those incredible little brains to think before doing things. They're not at all afraid to climb head first into a tiny space before considering whether they'll be able to get back out of said space. (Like that time my son managed to wedge his head in the sink hole of his wooden play kitchen...Nice one.)

So, as you can imagine- Parenthood is pretty weird.

The other day, my two year old son wandered into the kitchen and, I kid you not, he said:

"Babe! I need a tea please!"

Erm..what? Tea? Babe? WTF?

But it doesn't stop there. In actual fact, this is pretty low down on my 1 to 10 scale of bizarre encounters I've had since becoming a mum.

Once, I was in a really lovely deep sleep and from my deep sleep I could hear the chanting of "I've got a bogie and it's stuck!" over and over and over again. I was sure I must have been dreaming (slightly weird thing to dream about, I know) but nope, there he was, stood at my bedside with a truly puzzled look upon his face due to his 5am nostril related crisis.

And do you know why I'm not even phased by this?

Because my life since motherhood has become all sorts of "abnormal."

Because twice a week, I join in with saying "good morning" to the snails on the walk to nursery.

Because the other day, I discovered a load of crumbs in my back pocket of my jeans and, instead of thinking "wtf" or "yuck", I was more interested in whether they were toast related crumbs or whether they were in fact grains of sand from the local play park. Because either option was totally possible.

Because I was once reduced to tears by a discarded rice cake. To be fair I had literally just hoovered.

Because every single night I find something unexpected in my bed. Sometimes, it's just a toddler who's escaped his cot-bed and ventured into mummy's big cosy bed without mummy knowing, other times its a whole lot weirder. You know- like a welly boot, or a plastic carrot, or half a custard cream. Once, I even found a nice concoction of things stuffed inside my pillowcase. Said pillowcase housed a 50 pence piece, a couple of pebbles from the beach, a dirty sock and the missing door from Postman Pat's van...

Because I often enter into disagreements with someone who wants toast but doesn't want it toasted, and I've actually believed for a moment that said person could be reasoned with. Wrong.

Because telling someone to "stop licking the mirror" is a serious request and there's little-to-nothing funny about it when I've already asked a hundred times, only to be ignored and subjected to more mirror drool.

Because I've worked myself into a panic upon discovering that our library books are late back, and I've felt like a naughty teenager ever since.  #ForeverARebel

Because I've found myself humming along to cartoon theme tunes, and even when I've realised that I'm humming a kids tv tune, I've probably continued to hum along to it anyway. And on that note, I've also developed some sort of love-hate relationship with the likes of "SpongeBOG scare pants" (Spongebob Squarepants incase you didn't get the memo!) Most of the time, I really hate the annoying yellow spongey fucker, other times I'm thanking god for his existence since he allows me an extra 20 minutes of snooze time in the morning every now and then.

Because finding half a regurgitated sausage down the side of the sofa cushions no longer shocks me. And because I'm thankful for the fact that it was just a sausage and nothing worse.

Because, on more than one occasion, I've found myself stepping over a human wrapped inside a rug pretending to be a hotdog, and instead of being weirded out, I was strangely proud of his developing imagination and creativity (and then it pissed me off because, you know, it's irritating after the first time, and I never envisaged spending my life re-positioning a rug numerous times a day and arguing about said rug with a child who truly believes that they are a hotdog.)

And the strangest part of it all?

Is that you'll find yourself moaning about the newborn stage and how hard it is, only to find yourself longing for that same newborn baby back 6 months later.

And you'll do the same when they reach toddlerhood- you'll tell everybody you can't stand the terrible twos and you'll think to yourself  "roll on school" only to find yourself welling up when it dawns upon you that actually school isn't so far off and you'll suddenly think  " Where's my baby gone?" 

OH wait, there he is- wrapped inside the rug, in full hot-dog attire......  *Sigh*