"Don't Touch My Chips!" Confessions of a Non-Sharer....
September 22, 2017
When I was a kid, my dad taught me, that if I wanted to partake in a treat with him, there was a simple rule that must be adhered to….
Let’s say I wanted him to share his chocolate bar with me, there were a few steps before we got to the eating…. Somebody would snap the bar in half and the other person would choose which side they would eat. The chocolate could never be distributed by the divider – that was the rule!
Now, this rule was multi-layered in its deceptiveness. I did not realise at first, the ramifications involved in being the distributor, which of course, as a child, I always chose to be.
In choosing the smaller piece, you announce to the world that you are a wonderfully selfless person, putting the needs of others ahead of your own. In selecting the bigger portion, you declare, “I AM A GREEDY WHORE!”
For my sister, this decision was simple – her selflessness is famous. I also, had no difficulty making my choice – give me the big bit please! I would have taken both, if it could be wrangled. Who wants to be selfless, when they can have chocolate?!
It’s not that I am a selfish person…. I’m a generous gift-giver. I’m generous with my time. If I host a meal, or party, I go well above and beyond.
But if you want to take some of my piping hot, crispy, salty chips, you better have something to trade, or I will cut you!
I don’t like to share - it’s who I am, and I’m OK with it.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Almost 6 years ago, my husband and I separated.
It was one of the most difficult things I have ever been through, but ultimately, it was for the best and I knew it. These decisions are difficult enough, but we had a child together and we needed to work out what was best for her….
We had to SHARE her!
I will never forget the first time I walked away from her and left her in the care of her father. I actually hyperventilated. A full panic attack took hold of me and I thought I might never recover.
It took a long time for the process to get easier.
It also took a lot of tears.
Grieving the loss of any relationship is tough, but add to that, trying to navigate co-parenting a 2-year-old and the whole thing feels impossible.
If you think I struggle to share chips, imagine how I feel about sharing my daughter!
My ex is not a bad guy – he is really a very lovely man – he just isn’t right for me. Despite our fairly amicable separation, we are incredibly different people and I‘ve had to come to terms with that. When Willow is with her dad, she is living a completely different lifestyle and I have absolutely zero control over it. I don’t mind admitting that a lack of control, makes me very uncomfortable.
Over the years, I’ve fallen victim to paranoia, anger, sorrow, curiosity and the worst of my co-parenting characteristics – jealousy! I wish I could say that I’ve been the picture of magnanimous behaviour, but the truth is, I am human and humans are very flawed creatures.
I have not been above competing with my ex, for my daughter’s affections. There may have been a random cat-purchase…
I don’t even like cats!
The truth is, despite my rather confident exterior, inside, there is a woman, who has a failed marriage hanging over her head and a constant fear, that one day, her parenting skills will fail too.
Most days, I know, beyond all doubt, that my girl and I are rock-solid. She is my sunshine and we are bound together eternally.
But this week, my insecurities crept out of their deep, dark places and tried to drag me down. The trigger was nothing particularly massive – a secret conversation, between daddy and daughter – no mamas allowed. My reaction was massive and I didn't see it coming.
I thought I was past it all, but scars only ever fade – they never disappear completely.
I gave my girl a lot more cuddles this week. She enjoyed the extra affection.
She has gone off to her dad’s place for the weekend and I will miss her a little more than usual, but my insecurities are back in their dungeon, and for now at least, I hold the key.
I will never be entirely excellent with sharing my sunshine, but she will be back in a couple of days and in the meantime, I have one less set of little hands trying to help themselves to my food!