My daughter Olivia was due to start school and I attended the parents information session to find out how best to prepare my baby girl for big school.
I walked into a full room of mother's looking me up and down and I immediately knew what they were thinking. I had my daughter when I was 16 and was now only 21 so I did stick out like a sore thumb in a sea of middle-aged faces.
It was quite a formidable school with an excellent academic reputation and I knew that in an area like this having a baby in your teens was not the norm. I prided myself on having got my life together since having my baby I'd met a wonderful older man, Steve who took on Olivia as his own, and provided me with life's luxuries including a beautiful house and a nice car.
I'd gone back to college and enjoyed working part-time as a dental nurse, in fact the only thing I didn't have was my own family and friends as they had turned their backs on me when I fell pregnant. Steve's parents had passed and he had no siblings so it was pretty much just the three of us which was lonely and isolated at times.
When Olivia started school I volunteered in the canteen and joined the P&C and found parents beginning to slowly open up to me, it was then I met Joanne. Joanne was in her early thirties and was just so bubbly and easy going, she seemed to understand what I had been through and included me in working bees and encouraged me to help on class trips.
We became firm friends and conveniently lived close-by so saw each other a lot, she was my only friend and I was determined to keep her in my life. I suggested we should walk to get fit and walk the girls home from school together every afternoon which she too thought was a great idea. I also started cooking extra at dinner and dropping it around to her house on my way past.
I planned shopping trips and family outings together and was thrilled to have found a soul mate. I often rang Joanne in the evening to have a chat before I went to sleep and it was during one of our regular chats that Joanne dropped a bomb. Joanne said I was smothering her and she needed more family time but that she would still see me at school, I said I understood but I was deeply hurt and had no idea where this was coming from. I had thought everything was great.
I started to feel isolated again as Joanne withdrew further, so I began to follow her from school so we could run into each other shopping and changed my volunteer day in the canteen to the same as hers. I even took my daughter and enrolled her at the same dance school as Joanne's child so that we could hang out during lessons, but Joanne wasn't the same around me the comfortable closeness we had shared had gone.
My hurt turned to irrational thinking and I felt sure some other mother had been jealous and tried to break up our friendship. It rapidly got to the stage where Joanne would see me and walk the other way. I drove to her house to find out why she turned her back on me and saw Sarah who was another mother from our school at her house. I was furious being convinced Sarah had been filling Joanne's head with lies about me as she had always turned up her nose at me. I got out of the car and seeing red slapped Sarah across the face. Sarah had a complete look of shock on her face.
I wanted the driveway to swallow me up when I heard Sarah had gone to Joanne's house to bring her daughter's school bag back after Sarah's daughter had picked it up by mistake. I left in a hurry embarrassed at what I had become, I was using Joanne to fill a void in my life. I arranged to see a therapist and would apologise to Joanne and Sarah on Monday.
Monday came and there was no sign of Joanne. I found out she had taken her daughter out of the school. I was completely distraught at what I had done. Everyone soon found out due to Sarah's big mouth.
I needed a fresh start so have moved Olivia to a new school two suburbs away and have started to make new friends but have learnt a lot of important lessons, not the least about boundaries.
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