Bubbles of hindsight
Words by Emily Cotton
I realise that the hardest part of this journey is being in a relationship where your partner has already established a life.
The film hasn’t started yet, so we gawp at the adverts and push handful after handful of popcorn in our mouths, aware that it’s spilling down our fronts, but not caring enough to rescue it. You’d think that we’d try and be more graceful as we’re surrounded by plenty of other people, but guess what? They’re doing it too! It seems we’re all immersed in our own bubbles of comfort. My bubble consists of the hand to mouth popcorn feeding ritual but also observing the three year old next to me, who is of course, repetitively gawping and stuffing his face. I’m watching his contentment as the cycle continues, each time my heart is being filled with joy. Gawping, stuffing, joy, repeat. Then suddenly, all at once, my heart is completely full. It’s never felt full like this before. Sure, I’ve felt love in many ways for many people, but this is different. It’s the kind of love that defines the past year of trying to be a step-mum. A love that stems from loving my partner. As the film gets going and the popcorn runs out, the room softens. I reflect that the easiest part of this journey was liking him. Being able to a part of his life, maybe not all of it, but a part. Being able to create memories like the first time he grabbed my hand for me to come and play, when he called me, his Emily and when out of the blue he said, “Me and Daddy and Emily”, as he ate his dinner. As I look across at my partner, I realise that the hardest part of this journey is being in a relationship where your partner has already established a life, one that is his sole anchor. Realising that when you’re with your step child, the relationship you have with your partner is completely different. You are suddenly a friend, someone in the background, observing their life and trying to find where you fit in. I think back to when I started dating my partner, knowing he had a son. I was blindly sedated by love, I didn’t and couldn’t have anticipated the changes that were to come. I didn’t think of how my everyday perspective, my priorities and my maturity would change, all from the flick of a finger swiping right on bumble. I think back further to how I imagined life would be with the love of my life, I never would have considered there to be two. That one of them would be a ready made son who would teach me more about myself and life itself than I could ever teach him. This journey is a wondrous one full of emotions that most of the time I can’t comprehend, but I know that it is our journey. It has been paved out for us and it is ours to embrace. I guess, in hindsight, the cinema was the most suitable place for me to unveil and reflect on such raw and honest feelings. I’ve seen so many others stories unravel there, and today it was time for mine.
Emily lives the UK and works as a Digital Project Manager. She loves a list, a calendar and is inspired and motivated by others. Beyond that she enjoys exploring and understanding wellbeing and works as a masseuse and wellness enthusiast. You can get in touch with her @emilycottonpht or @em_cotton14
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