It’s been a difficult thing to come to terms with and part of the reason I haven’t blogged about it before now is that I couldn’t find the words to properly describe the feelings it’s evoked.
Of course, some of you already know that I’m talking about the Girl having left home. Gone. From here. After 12 years of having to put up with me, she’s gone to live with her Dad.
And as we’ve spent most of her life as just ‘us girls’ together, means that the splitting up of our double-act has been even harder for me . In fact I’d probably have handled giving up a limb or an organ far better.
So to say that there’s now a gap is a bit of an understatement.
But today I finally found the feeling that I thought some of you could maybe identify with. Apologies to any guys reading this – the feelings won’t be quite so evocative.
Remember how, for nine months you kept this little miracle safe and warm and fed (and lord only knows how – it’s a real, proper miracle if you actually stop and think about it… a living human being, breathing in fluid, kept alive by food that’s transported through a tube that your own body grew inside you - between you and the unborn child you’re … well… incubating; growing; giving life to)? Remember how you couldn’t stop stroking the expanding mass of skin before you and wondering how much more strain your belly button could take before it shot off and blinded the nearest person?
Remember how clever it made you feel that you were actually a part of this great big reproductive orb in the universe and that because of you, there’d be another body on the planet forging a path into the future and taking bits of you with them for another generation?
Remember how you couldn’t quite believe you could get away with ‘eating for two’ and it didn’t matter how much you did or didn’t eat, your belly just kept on growing in a totally expected (pun intended) way?
Remember how you never thought you’d get used to feeling the little kicks and the squirmy movements and the worry that you were housing an Extra Terrestrial entity inside your body because you’d seen too many re-runs of ‘Aliens’ and specifically the part where John Hurt’s belly flies wide with teeth and the nasty creature comes sliming onto the screen and devours everybody?
(Okay, that last bit might just have been me, but you get the idea).
And remember how you used to watch an elbow or a heel poke through your skin when you were in the bath; or your belly would pop with little hiccups and all you had to do was stroke it and it’d calm down and relax in the warmth with you? And how you’d sometimes sing to it and talk to it and tell it about everything it was going to see and do, and feel when it finally arrived on planet Here?
Remember how you thought you’d always be the size of a Hippo, in fact you were used to it and quite liked it, until the time your ‘due date’ had come and gone by 10 days, and then how desperately you just wanted it ‘Out, Out, Out! – NOW!’?
And remember how you knew you’d never, ever forget that pulsating little cord of purple and white which was still attached to you both when they put this writhing little body on your chest, which had kept your baby Girl alive all that time, before it was cut? The incredible feeling of being One?
And … O.M.G. It was a girl. Remember how you’d only got one name and that was Harry?
And then, remember those flabby, vacant, endless folds of skin that sat unhappily, deflated like a hot air balloon all around your middle, which for some reason made you want the little bundle of pink skin that was now lying in a Perspex cot beside you, back ‘In, In, Inside me – please?!’
Because I don’t know about you, but I felt lost. Empty. Slightly adrift, scared and cold. Like the best part of me I’d ever had was gone now. And even though I could see her and feel her and touch her, and I knew this was just the start - a new beginning, I already missed the always being together bit.
I missed... I miss... the Us.