I don’t know if you will ever read this. I hope your mummy keeps it safe and shows it to you some day. What I really hope is that I will have the chance to tell you myself, over and over, throughout your life.
I have never felt anything like this before and I am trying to put my thoughts into words. What I feel is confusing but strong. It’s like everything is both very right and very wrong at the same time.
So, what’s right? Well, you. You are perfect and I cannot believe you are real or that it was possible for me to feel so much deep love and pride in an instant. You made me a grown up overnight. The second you were born life seemed so much more real and full of purpose. I saw how quickly I had grown from a boy to a man and how quickly you would too. It made me want to be something, do something with my life to make you proud. I want to set you a good example – show you how to be a decent, strong human being. And that is why I am going.
You see, everything until now has been kind of casual. For three years I’ve worked at a boring job for not much money and spent most of that money on going out at weekends. It was all okay-ish – getting by, being young, having a laugh. This is the stuff that’s wrong.
Your mummy and I came on holiday to see if we could get on. We never lived together – we still lived with our own mums and dads. Maybe she’ll tell you all this. But I’m scared of losing you and I want to get my thoughts down so you can hear my version of things.
I don’t know what they’ll teach you in school but sometimes you don’t have to be in love to make a baby and you don’ t have to be together to be a family. I’m so glad I met your mummy and over the moon that you came along but it is very clear to me – I feel it very strongly – that we can’t live together, Mummy and me. I want to be with you more than I can ever possibly tell you. To look into your big eyes each morning when you smile hello, to snuggle your clean little body into me after a bath, to hold your hands when you take your first steps, to hear your first words and to be there when you are poorly. But you need your mummy more than I need you right now. She is a good mummy, she gives you everything you want, and loves you with all her heart. And that is why it is me that must go. But how I wish I could bring you to Somerset with me.
Right now, you are sleeping in your buggy outside in the sunshine, and I am sat next to you, looking down at you. I feel so totally helpless and sad. The sun is soft, warm and golden, and your little cheeks are glowing like the golden russet apples on the trees all around us. Did you know they mix different varieties of apples to make the best cider? The next orchard grows a really sharp variety that you would not want to pick from the tree and eat! I’ll tell you all about it one day. Inside the cottage that we rented, your mummy is packing her bag and your bag. Soon she’ll take you back to Bedford and I’ll have to say goodbye and you will have no idea. We didn’t even last a week. The minute we arrived she said she hated it and I said I loved it. I picked up an apple from the ground and took a bite, and I saw a look in her eyes that told me we were in trouble.
Although it’s all gone wrong, it was the right thing to do. How ridiculous does that sound?
What sort of parents would we be to stay together and live a lie?
I’m not going to be a dad that is stuck in a dead end job that he hates, and just sending money once a month and bumping into you in town, either. That would be too easy. Too lazy. No, I’m going to show you how much I love you by growing up for you, and that includes showing you how to chase your dreams, and find happiness. One day mummy and I will find love and you will see that we are better parents when we are not together. You will learn how adults must sometimes take the difficult route to make things right. Even when it feels like your heart is being ripped out.
I want to whisper in your ear every night how much I love you, but instead I will whisper it to the stars and look forward to the times we will spend together in the future.
All my love, always,
PS Be good for Mummy and Grandma and Grandad,
(Please, Mummy, when you find this note, keep it safe for him.)