About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Absent Without Leave By Holly Searle



I was quite moved yesterday by all of the posts on social media to mark Father's Day. All of them positive mentions of dads that are very much present, and sadden by those relating to many that have long since passed.

Oddly enough, for me, as it was my mother's birthday, that wasn't my main focus. And rightly so, for she raised four children, regardless of why, pretty much on her own.

I later went on to do the same raising two alone. And let me tell you this, it is not an easy thing to do.

It's a crying shame to be placed in a position like that, as it can affect so many aspects of your children's lives when they have one parent as opposed to two.

Having one parent can create an incredible strain and vulnerability on the parent that remains as you have to provide all of their emotional, social and economical support, without any for yourself. Plus being a lone parent can often mean that your needs are over looked for the sake of your children's, resulting in a whole host of frustrations that inevitably become the norm.

Lone parenting is a hard graft. It is not for the meek, as you have to cover all of the bases where another person should clearly be positioned in the traditional sense of the expected family ideal.

I was never privy to the constant presence of two parents from the age of 12 and the legacy of this produced many insecurities in me as I grew into adulthood. It's hard to explain to people who have been raised by two parents what it is actually like to be so reliant on one parent, rather than two.

Your expectations are less as is your social affordability. It's all of those silly take for granted things that children from a two parent family just have access to, but you do not, that affect you most of all.

I can remember watching The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid. They were two of my favourite shows. When I think about them now, I realise that they both dealt with two families that featured a mother and a father and their on going lives, and those of their children. Two complete romanticised versions of what family life was like and how they functioned. It's odd when I think about that now. But that was probably why I lapped up the day to day lives of the Ingalls and Walton clans so vicariously like reading a Haynes manual for family life.

I was one of a few kids in my class at school who became the child of a single parent. In the late 70's that was rare. When I became one in the late 80's, there was a dreadful social sigma attached to this moniker. So much so that at times I felt like I should have been wearing a scarlet letter and holding my head in shame at every opportunity. But I didn't.

I did the best I could in the given circumstance, and Child One was always warm, fed, and most importantly loved beyond measure. Yes I struggled with it all. Being homeless with a small child is no mean feat, but it strengthens the reserves that you never thought you had access too, and that can't be a bad thing.

Then I did it all again with Child Two.

For whatever reason they had/have to remain absent without leave, both of the fathers of both of my children have missed out on all their offspring's daily lives. They have not been there to bare witness to the evolution of two of the most remarkable human beings I know. Their day to day progression as they have grown, and become the solid steadfast incredible individuals that they are.

So when I consider all of the angst and worries I have endured to keep us three afloat throughout my years of being their parent, I realise that even though it has at times been difficult and unsupported, I am the parent that has gained the most exceptionally fulfilling experience by being the parent that remained and did it all.

Sometimes, for what ever reason, there is only one choice when it comes to what is best for a child even if it does mean that they may miss out somewhere along the line.

But I have to say that both Child One and Child Two appear to have turned into two incredible human beings regardless. And for that, I am immensely proud of them both.

I know many wonderful fathers, too many to name here. They are engaged and present and that is what a parent should be regardless of whether they are the mother or the father.

So to my mum and all of the fathers, lone parents and parents out there, you're all brilliant. And remember, as long as your presence is felt and your children are loved, they will thrive, and so will you.






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