There followed a rather dark time between Michael and I culminating in a mutual decision to apply for a divorce. But into that darkness came an unexpected ray of brightness.
Although Nikki had not planned to become a mother at the tender age of nineteen, she found herself blessed by pregnancy, and as the baby grew inside her, so her sparkle and joe de vivre returned. When baby Megan arrived, perfect and beautiful, it was the answer to another prayer.
Telling the children about the divorce was painful, as we felt we had let them down, but both Michael and I believed we would be better parents individually.
I selfishly assumed that both Edward and Nikki plus baby Megan would come and live with me, and was quite taken aback when they decided between themselves that Edward should come with me, as I would need a man about the house, and Nikki would stay with her father, to keep him company. It was logical, as we could only afford a two-bedroomed flat for me. Michael would retain the large family home we had lived in for the past five years.
The day the truck arrived to load up the things Eddie and I were taking, Nikki and I stood in the driveway hugging and crying. It was the end of an era. I felt an immediate change in status. I had swapped the comfortable position of ‘married with children’ to ‘divorcee’. I hated it. I felt a failure. I felt ashamed. I felt too embarrassed to go to church. I was even embarrassed to go to the shops in case I met friends from my previous life, people I thought would judge me and then have to decide between Michael and me. As many of our friends had been made through either Michael’s work or his cricket, I didn’t expect many of them would be rushing round to visit me in my little flat.
There was also the feeling that I might pose a threat. Women are reluctant to invite a recently divorced female to their parties. You might cry and be an embarrassment. Or you might try to flirt with their husbands. Or their husbands might assume you would be sexually frustrated and they could help out….Anyway, it makes the number uneven around the table.
Having Eddie with me was the best thing for both of us. It forced me to cook a decent meal every night. He did all the male things like putting up curtain rails and hanging pictures and I proudly watched his self-confidence grow. We painted walls together, and watched videos, and I realised that I hadn’t lost the thing I treasured most of all. I was still a mother.
The first Christmas was painful. We had agreed that the whole family including Michael would spend Christmas Day at my place. On Christmas Eve, Eddie and I sat down together and tucked into our roast turkey dinner, after which we flopped, exhausted from overindulgence, and watched a movie. The next day Michael and the girls arrived for cold meats and salads. Then they all went off to various friends’ places, leaving baby Megan with me. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening holding her and crying into her little blanket. But she seemed to understand, and gave me great comfort.