Today was surprisingly enjoyable. There was none of the palpable tension that usually hangs in the air when a certain person and I spend any length of time together. I feel good about today but also a little unsettled.
We all went swimming. Well, Papa and Jake took Louis into the water for the very first time while Ella, Theo and I squished our noses against the glass in the poolside cafe, one floor up. Taking the triplets swimming has been on my ‘must do’ list for as long as I can remember. It was always going to be a one at a time affair but even that prospect had overwhelmed me until now and so it was big relief to at least get one of them into a pair of trunks and into the pool for some long overdue chlorinated fun.
We ‘chose’ Louis based on the fact that Theo had enjoyed some one on one time with Papa a few days ago and also because he embraces bath time with so much gusto that during the Olympics I found myself wondering if we had a dimply thighed toddler version of Tom Daley on our hands.
As Ella and Theo waved excitedly down at their brother and I clapped wildly and stuck my thumbs in the air we must have looked like any other family on a day out – mum, dad and the kids. I found myself observing ‘us’ and how we were interacting, how it felt to all be together and how nice it was to be co-parenting, even just for a few hours. The six of us had lunch together afterwards, got wet in the rain, there was quite a lot of laughter and then he was gone.
And within minutes grumpy Mummy was back.
What a mess we made of things. What a shame we can’t fix what went so badly wrong. We could probably paper over the cracks for a short while but that’s not a good enough reason to try.
There’s a feeling of clarity now and that brings relief but huge sadness too. There really is no going back. But despite that, I want our amazing, beautiful four to experience the best of both of us, every day. To grow up knowing that Mummy and Papa are two happy people, doing their best and still managing to smile at each other from time to time. A genuine smile, that reaches the eyes. Because we did it. We made these four. And of that, I’m so, so proud. And for that, I still feel a kind of love. Sometimes. On days like today…
Oh, and it pains me to say it but he still looks bloody good in a pair of swimming trunks. Annoyingly…