Yesterday, I saw something that had never happened before, something incredibly moving, and it melted my heart. In the blue dusk, my partner stood ankle-deep in the ocean with one of my children on either side, holding their hands. Why is this so unusual? Because my partner isn’t my kids’ dad. No, they have a perfectly good dad who lives a few streets away and has them one week in every two.
My marriage broke down just over a year ago, and I am only now climbing to my feet. It is just in the last few months that I have been able to use words like “ex-husband”, “divorce”, and “step-parent”. They seemed words invented for other people, not for me. As a child of a broken home myself, I was determined to keep my family together. The ideal proved too much for me to maintain, however. The separation was amicable, but crushingly sad.