I became a single mother by choice, not by accident. I’ve been recording our lives for seven years to tell this story, about making choices and taking action to live the life you want. If you’re a parent, want to be a parent, or just love good storytelling, this podcast is for you.
It’s Spring, 2015. Half your life ago. My six years teaching at the European Film College begin the limp to an anti-climactic end. I try to stay focused. But my main focus is you. The upheaval I’m causing. The reasons for doing it. You’re two and a half. I’m taking you home to our family, our culture, but I’m taking you away from the life, the home, the language, the community that make up your world.
Once work wraps up we have some quiet weeks left to pack up our lives. I take you to Trine’s each day, to childcare, and I pack boxes, I write job applications, and I sort out the car with Steen’s help, servicing, detailing and re-registering it, ready for sale.
The removalists come while you’re at Trine’s and take all our things away. I tell you they’ve gone to MorMor’s house, that’s what you call Granny, and that we’re going there too. You seem to cope with that. The shipping will take three months if all goes well. You’ll have outgrown half your clothes by then! You’ll miss your bike, your toys, the stereo. We’re left with the school’s basic furniture, two suitcases filled with summer clothes for here and winter clothes for home, a trainset Jim dropped over to ease your toy separation, and a big echoey apartment.
You’ve been with Trine five days a week for most of your life. She might be the person you’re closest to after me. This is your last day. I leave my recorder with her. I want to hear you speaking Danish. At this point your Danish is probably better than mine and I know you’ll lose it when we leave. She opens a window into the life you have without me.
I’ve made the decision to leave based on what you’ll gain, but I’m painfully aware of everything you’re losing.
Farvel Danmark. Tusind tak for alt.
This production is made by me, Sophie Harper, in partnership with Wondery. I’m supported by generous listeners. Story editing by Michelle Webster.
Thanks to my family, my friends and my daughter for being part of the story.
Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:
Memory by Creo, Last Night in London by Daniel Birch and Completely Lost by Lee Rosevere.
Incidental music by Justine Clarke and Bjork (invoking Fair Use).
Ad music from freemusicarchive.org - CC Commercial License:
Drop of Water in the Ocean by Broke For Free.
I have some news. I’ve been awarded a grant to write a book! A literary memoir of our story. My plan, for now, is to release one new episode a month as I divide my time between the book and the podcast. Thanks for sticking with me.
Thanks especially to the kind people supporting me on Patreon: Margaret P. Jones, Ellie McHale, Russell Kerrison, Julie Greenhalgh, Rebecca Reid, Kasey Tomkins, Dianne Firth, Anne Staude, Adam Coulson, Melanie Ann, Lea Durie, Laura Getson, Bill, Sue Giugni, Maia Bittner, Elizabeth Adcock, Laura Cherry, Bethany White, Paul S Mitchell and Mariele Thadani and more.
If you’d like to chip in a couple of dollars towards each new episode, go to patreon.com/notbyaccident.
Go to www.notbyaccident.net to find out more about the series, join the e-newsletter or to get in touch.
We’ll be back with the next installment in about 4 weeks.
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