She pulled the duvet over her head, hiding from the shadows and the monsters. She couldn’t sleep in this strange house. She could hardly remember what it was like when they all lived together. So long ago. was it a happy time? She thought not. She remembered lots of shouting. She remembered hiding under her duvet then, too. Covering her ears with her pillow to try not to hear the words.
More recently she remembered weekend trips with her dad. He would take her to the zoo or the cinema or a theme park. They’d eat in McDonald’s, which her mum never let her do. He bought her a DS and a new bike and those trainers her mum said were too expensive. They always had fun.
But now she wasn’t having fun. They never went anywhere together anymore. She spent more time with her than her dad. He was always out at work and he’d be grumpy when he got home. He’d kiss her goodnight, but he didn’t tell her stories anymore. He told the other children stories. Her children.
She thought it would be fun to live with him. He seemed to have lots of money and they always had fun at weekends. Her mum was always worrying about paying the rent and insisted on eating healthily. Her mum made her do her homework and brush her teeth. No-one seemed to care if she did her homework these days and no-one reminded her to brush her teeth. She brushed the other children’s teeth and cuddled them. She just told her to go to bed. Never asked if she needed anything.
She didn’t realise how much she’d miss her mum. Her mum might have worried and nagged, but she cuddled her and told her she loved her. She helped her with her homework. She talked about school and hugged her when she fell out with her friends. She made yummy meals, never things out of tins. She played board games with her. She was always there. They were a team.
But now she wasn’t there. She was in a whole other country. With Grandma and Grandpa. They had asked her if she wanted to go with her mum or stay with her dad. How did you decide that? She didn’t want to do either. She wanted things to stay as they were. First she thought she would go with her mum, because she’d see lots of her Grandma and Grandpa and she always enjoyed her visits there. But then she thought about all the fun she had with her dad. It would be fun living with her dad. Like the weekends, but all the time. And she’d still see her friends and go to the same school. And he’d said she wouldn’t get to see him, if she went with her mum.
But she hadn’t really realised that her mum would be so far away. She couldn’t just call her up and she’d be there. She couldn’t just walk out the door and jump on her bike and cycle home to her mum. She would only see her in the school holidays now. The next school holiday was too far away. Why did they ask her to decide? Why couldn’t she just be with her mum? Her mum would help her forget about the shadows and the monsters. The shadows and monsters wouldn’t be there if her mum was there.
She sobbed into her pillow and then screamed, ‘I want my mummy!’
The above is a work fiction. But for Yummy Mammy and her daughter, the difficulties of a two-country divorce are only to real. This post is part of the Save One Mammy campaign. Please visit the campaign blog and Yummy Mammy’s blog to give your support. Oh and if you happen to be a specialist in Irish Family Law, perhaps you’d like to offer your services for free?