Dear Penelope Leach
You don’t know me, but I am sure you know lots of kids like me. I am four years old and my mummy and daddy have split up. I live with my mummy most of the time and every two weeks I visit my daddy and stay with him for two nights.
I heard someone talking about you on the telly this morning about how you think this is bad for me, and other children, because spending the night away from my mummy could hurt my brain. But, actually, you are wrong, sorry. I thought this letter might be helpful for you to understand what it feels like to be a child with parents who don’t live together, then you will see that seeing my daddy lots is just as important as living with my mum is most of the time.
Last Friday my daddy picked me up from my house. I was waiting outside with my brothers, we were really excited to see him. It happens every Friday. My Dad lets us have fish and chips for tea and on Saturdays we always go swimming and to the cinema. He makes us cheese on toast, takes us to the playground and lets us watch our favourite cartoons. When my daddy still lived at home, this is what our weekends would be like. He works a lot during the week, so we would always have special time together on Saturdays and Sundays to make up for it. My weekends with my daddy are still very special, I get to spend two whole days with him.
My mummy is great at lots of things but she doesn’t like football or Button Moon or running really fast. If I didnt have special time with my Daddy, I wouldn’t have anyone to do these things with and I would miss him very much. Sometimes my brothers are mean to me and my Dad is there to stick up for me. He also teaches me about animals and birds because this is his favourite thing. This weekend we bought a book about fish. It’s really nice.
When I got home to my mum yesterday she told me all about the rest she had at the weekend. She had put some pictures on the walls of my birthday party, there were some yellow flowers on the table and she was wearing a new pink dress. I told my mummy how pretty she looked. She seemed happy. I like it when my mummy is happy.
Today at school I felt very shy again. I haven’t been there very long. My daddy is never shy. I want to be like that when I grow up. Dad helps me to not be shy when I am with him. I feel like a big girl, he tells me to be brave and proud. And when my mum gets worried about things too, Dad can help. They weren’t very good friends at first, but now they see each other every week so they always need to talk. My dad can still make my mum smile.
Next week my friends are coming round to play at my Dad’s house. When daddy first went to live in another house, some of my friends teased me that I didn’t have a daddy anymore. But now, they see him lots and they think he is great and really funny because he can make faces like Elmo! I am glad my friends don’t think I am different to them anymore.
When my daddy went away, I was very sad but now I see him every week so we can still do lots of the things we used to do together. I love him very much so If I couldn’t stay with him anymore, I would wonder if it was because he didn’t want to be my daddy anymore. This would make me really sad again.
I think that if I couldn’t stay with my daddy anymore, it would hurt my heart instead of my brain which is much worse, I think.
So please may you stop worrying my mummy about this, I want everything to stay the same.
Love from a four year old