Saturday, 19 April 2008

My niece Ellandi

Ellandi is spending the weekend with her dad after having had about six weeks with her mum, and I wonder how she is doing.

Ellandi, born an incredible 12 weeks premature, has not lived with both her mother and father since just a few weeks before she was due to turn one. Her start in life was a traumatic, dramatic and a turbulant one. I can hardly look at the pictures of this tiny creature, struggling to cling to life with every ounce of determination. Yet here she stands over nine years later, a strong, proud and gutsy girl on the edge of her teens, in the twilight of her CHILDhood, a real little toughy. A marvel and a miracle.

I was just a few years older than Ellandi when my parents separated and I remember the nine months of going back and forth between them like it was yesterday.
One of the many, many emotions around the death of my father was relief, relief that I would not have to spend the rest of my life yo-yo-ing back and forth.

A child that goes between two parents is a child who lives in two worlds, has two families, two homes, two sets of rules, two beds, two sets of toys, two lots of pets, two types of mealtimes, two, two, two of everything. How do they cope??

I suffered from guilt, the eternal guilt of being with one parent and not the other, and that guilt made me angry, angry at my parents, angry at the world.

Do younger child suffer from guilt? Or do they suffer from confusion, and from always having to change and make the adjustment between their two worlds, their two lives. Or do they take it in their stride in a way that I can't understand, because it is all they have ever known, all they can remember....

And will they live with this duality the rest of their lives, and if the events of life change like they did in mine will they find some way to recreate that duality in their lives? The duality of wanting to be in two places at the same time, the duality of always saying goodbye to someone and the duality of always missing those you are not with. The constant, ever-lasting pull in two directions...

From one parent to the other, from one life to the other. I hope you are doing ok precious Ellandi. We love you and we miss you.

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