"Today is the birthday of my firstborn James, who lives in France with his wife and two children. James is the second from the left in the photo of my four boys. We all remember our own children in different ways for a vast variety of reasons.
When James was starting Primary school, I and his mother separated and he was brought up by his mother. At the time of separation, I charged him, being the first born, to look out for his younger brother Adam. Having been brought up the eldest of seven children, while such a request seemed perfectly natural to me, I realised in later years that it was far too onerous a responsibility for a father to place on one so young. To his credit, until Adam came to live with me some eight years later in his early teens, James did look out for his brother. Looking back son, this was too much to ask of a young child, but in doing it, you demonstrated the calibre of the adult you grew up to be.
Today, you are a success in your job, you are happily married and have parented two beautiful children, Sam and Jessica. I wish you a happy birthday son on this your special day and if you have a good look at all my sons, (James is the second from the left), you'll be able to clearly see where all your good looks come from, given that I'm the only 'constant' in the equation as there was more than one mother involved.
When James and his younger brother Adam were very young and I used to tell hem bedtime stories before they went to sleep, James would always guess the ending. That was when I decided to abandon their book and I started to tell them stories about a fictitious fox called 'Sleezy'. Now, when smarty-pants James guessed the ending, I simply snookered him by changing it.
In later years when I became a children's writer of some acclaim, one of my first story successes that the late Princess Diana used to read to her children at bedtime was the 'Sleezy the Fox' stories. She had heard about the theme of the book which is 'second chances' and wanted to acquaint the young Princes, William and Harry with this theme and stories. I often think amusingly that James was probably responsible for my becoming a children's author initially and that he and his brother were acquainted with the 'Sleezy Fox' stories before a future King of England had them read to him by his mother.
Anyone can freely hear these four stories about 'Sleezy the Fox' by simply accessing my website through the link below:
Enjoy your 44th birthday, James, and never forget that your old dad loves you deeply, always has and always will. Love Dad xxx : William Forde: April 20th, 2018.