Prince Charming is real
A mother pushes her own fears aside and learns to let her child love and trust.

Being a parent is hard. Being a single parent, is even harder. I feel a bit like the South African version of Bridget Jones, if Helen Fielding had gone on to write a third volume, entitled ‘Bridget and the Baby’. It’s not exactly the stuff you find in fairytales.

During my three and a half years of being a single parent, I’ve been lucky enough to be loved, to love and, unfortunately, to be left.

I’ve always been cynical. I have fiercely guarded Cameron from getting too close to anyone in our lives because I’ve wanted to save her from the heartache of if and when they leave.

Learning to trust

Over time, though, that wall of self-protection eroded, and I began to let her get close to people. It took me ages to learn to trust anyone, and I simultaneously blame and thank my then-housemate, Sheena, for being the person who helped me learn how to trust.

I still feared for my love life. I kept my guard up - until he walked in. He who’d been my friend for so long, and who kept me laughing on days when I didn’t know how to laugh.

The fairytale

Slowly, he explained to me that he wasn’t just interested in being with me. He wanted to be with both of us, cuddled up and watching a movie or chasing fairies around the garden. After years of being told how my child “got in the way”, here was this man, who thinks time spent reading bedtime stories is precious, not laborious.

When he got down on one knee and asked me to be his girlfriend, I realised that despite my experiences in love thus far, courage actually does exist in the world of love.

It’s with that courage in mind that I set about adjusting Cameron to the notion that, yes, finally, somebody is going to be sticking around, and I started getting used to the idea myself.

When change is good

Any change in a child’s life, whether good or bad, creates a change in routine which can cause some upheaval, and possibly even regression. A strange thing happened though, when it came to my attention that I wasn’t doing that adjustment on my own anymore. My boyfriend was right beside me, all the way. What a change from the long nights of being on my own, worried about Cameron’s sniffy nose or whether or not I was doing a good enough job.

Cameron didn’t take long to adjust to him being around. She’s come to expect it. That very fear of expectation I had for so long kept at bay, I no longer feel. Six months in, and he’s a bona fide part of our life. He calls to find out how my day is, and hers too. He understands when I have to cancel plans because my Mommy time is more important than any social engagement.  He kisses her sore finger better and, sometimes, I sleep in whilst he gets up to play with Cameron. I’ve never had to ask him to do any of this. He’s just loved, accepted and proudly told the world that he has two special girls in his life now.

When I hear her saying her night-time prayers, when Cameron gives thanks for her family, friends, school and home, and now she gives thanks for him too, I’m not scared. I celebrate.

Is Cath living in a dream world? Or is it okay to teach your children to love?
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