Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Count Your Blessings

This post is 'late' because I was unsure whether to upload it. I wrote it when we were all upset, and I am still in two minds as to whether it is right to detail someone else's personal life in a blog.
Look at your life today and count your blessings. We are.

Last night we were speaking to our very best (French) friend whose whole world, and that of his three young children, has been smashed to smithereens.

It is impossible and indeed very wrong for someone on the outside to make fair judgements on a relationship - what truly goes on behind closed doors is only known fully by the couple concerned.

However, the way a couple break up and deal with the aftermath does indeed reflect on them as individuals.

A few weeks ago our friend's partner of thirteen years, and mother of his three young children, left. He found out that she had moved in with someone she had known for some time.

Dealing not only with his own shock but also the children's incomprehension, he had the added problem of how on earth he was going to juggle work and getting his three young children to/from three different schools. His eldest daughter (at eleven) was too young to be expected to look after the youngest (at 4years old).

Originally the family lived in our village. Our friend's work was always such that his hours were flexible and enabled him to spend time with his partner and the children as a family. Each day he got the children ready for school, walked them to the bus, met them at the bus stop at the end of their day and cooked the dinner for the family.

In the relevant seasons, he took the children digging for wild leeks amongst the vines, searching for mushrooms in the chestnut woods, finding asparagus amongst the verges and picking blackberries.

He and the children cleared the land around their villa and planted vegetables, built a chicken enclosure and collected the eggs once the birds were settled in to their new home.

Then his partner mentioned that she wanted to live somewhere less isolated and near a beach, and that it would be better if he had a regular job.

Therefore eighteen months ago the family left our village and moved further away from their families and friends. He started an annual-contract job at a college and the family moved to a villa by the beach. An expensive rental in a tourist hotspot, but just possible because of his new job.

His partner was a good mother, if a bit moody, but difficult to be friends with. At first we thought it was just us (!) but soon discovered that everyone found her difficult - her family, his family, friends, and indeed the children.

Recently our friend realised that he was not going to be able to cope all by himself, so contacted his partner. He was in an impossible position - he needed to work to be able to provide a home for the children, but this meant he could not be at home to look after them.

The partner agreed that, if he moved out of the villa, she would move in with her new partner and look after the children. It was the children's home, with their pets and their bedrooms, so he agreed - it seemed best for the children. He did not want to disrupt their lives any more than was necessary.

He pays for the rental, etc and provides for the children. The children adore their father and want to live with him - but he is only able to afford a one-room studio for himself, too small for the children to stay with him for any length of time.

He has done what he feels was best for the children - but he has lost everything he held dear. The children cannot understand why their father is not there every day as before, nor why they have to live with their mother.

An impossible situation with no winners, only losers.

No comments: