That's it. I have broken. There has been one too many snarky swipes at people who dare to blog about - or talk about - their children. After all, it's no great achievement popping out a sprog, is it? (Or "spawn" as the snarks almost inevitably refer to them.) No, it's not. But bringing one up to be a balanced human being certainly is a great achievement, and one that I fear every day that I may not achieve.
My son has had a turbulent early life, For a start he is actually my stepson, but not seeing his birth mother regularly he has grown up to regard me as his mum. As I have no legal rights to him, this means I see him two weekends a month; the rest of the time he resides with his father. He is now four, and enjoys having a bedroom in each house and regular trips on the train between the two houses. He has adjusted without complaint to the arrangement, but it's me who really suffers from it.
Today, watching me peel carrots for tonight's tea, he said, "I worry about you, sometimes, when I'm at my daddy's house." After some digging, it transpired that he meant that he missed me; declarations like that from him are rare, but they tug on my heart like nothing else. He is a cheerful, physical child, infrequently emotional, which makes his occasional affectionate moments even more heartwrenching.
But every day, I miss him. Working in an office, I work with a great many women, many of whom work part-time or only within school term time. I hear them complaining and I think how lucky they are to have extra time to be able to spend with their child, and how little so many of them realise it. Every day, I feel it, and say nothing at all.