My Children

               08.30 a.m. - I have two wonderful children. My Daughter is fourteen and my son is eleven. They both live with their mother on the South Coast and I live a three and half hours rail journey away and I really, really miss them.

                When I first separated from my wife I lived in a hotel for a while. I guess it was denial and I was hoping that I would be going home soon. I didn’t really miss my wife much which says something about the marriage but I missed the children desperately.

                It’s strange that, in an age of equality of the sexes, the natural assumption is that in a marriage breakdown, the children stay with the mother.

                Even though my wife and I are still on good terms and I have easy access to my children it’s not the same and I am missing so much of their growing up. Catching up with them at the weekend is no substitute for the day to day contact that I should have.  It’s like catching only the news headlines but not being a part of the story yourself.

                Whilst I still care deeply for my wife I will never forgive her for taking away my sharing the experience of my children growing up from me. I accept that it was no picnic for her with my depression and my drinking but instead of helping me, she left me. If I’d had cancer would she have done this?

                I have been amazed though at how resilient my children have been. What with a marriage breakup and an alcoholic father they have seen things that I wish they had never seen but they seem to have taken it all in their stride. When I talk to my son he is open about things in a way that I wish adults could be. When I call him he will ask me if I’m depressed or if I’ve hurt myself again in the same tone he would ask if I have a cold.

                It seems that at least children understand that these things are illnesses even if most adults don’t.