"Today the house is much quieter. Over the last three weeks, my son William from Australia has been visiting along with my daughter Rebecca from Somerset. My son Adam from Hertfordshire also showed his face briefly a week ago for an overnight stay and to touch base with his siblings. William returned to Australia yesterday and Rebecca went back south today. I am not the kind of person to prolong departures as I don't do 'good byes' and seeing my son off at the airport yesterday involved dropping him off outside the departure entrance and tearfully heading home. This departure seemed much sadder than previous ones as there is no certainty that we will see each other again though God willing we hopefully shall.
William and Rebecca are the two youngest children to my second marriage and are also the most boisterous of my offspring. I recall their childhood years with fond memory. Following an accrimonious divorce from my first wife, I was left with restricted access of four hours only on a Sunday afternoon to my children, James and Adam, along with very little money to start up home afresh.
Being short of money for the first decade of William's and Rebecca's lives, all the rennovations on the run-down Victorian house I'd managed to mortgage without a roof was essentially performed by me, who generally learned as I went along with the children as little helpers. When the children and I weren't working on the house at weekend, we played games together at the family table and went on walks down the fields and along the canal bank. Despite having no money for treats, William and Rebecca grew up happy, loved and content and Adam and James enjoyed their access to dad.
I must admit that it took James and Adam a while in the beginning bonding to the two children to my second marriage, William and Rebecca, along with relating to Matthew, the son of my second wife's first marriage. However, with a bit of patience and increased contact familiarity, the mixed families eventually gelled. The only difficulty I could recall was in the early days of Sunday access to me when my sons James and Adam (who had been no doubt coached by my ex-wife), once referred to William and Rebecca as their 'half brother' and 'half sister' and Matthew as their 'step brother.' I remember telling James and Adam, 'William, Rebecca and Matthew are your brothers and sister. I will not have this family divided by the inappropriate use of fractions.'
It is always difficult when marriages break up and new unions are formed by the parents and new children born. Divorcees are foolish in the extreme if they believe that separation between man and wife can occur without it causing problems for all concerned, straining relationships, causing child hurt and often exacting long-term cost and consequences!
In the final analysis, we can but do our best in rearing our children with whatever talents and the means available at the time, but when we succeed, the ultimate rewards are great. Despite their adult years and the vast difference in miles we live apart, not one day passes between me and my children when we do not tell each other, 'I love you.' Upon meeting again, the very first thing we do is hug and kiss. I know that many sons would be extremely embarrassed kissing their father in public view, but not mine! They have been brought up to consider this custom loving and natural.
I love my children and I know without one shred of doubt that they love me in return. So sad though I be that my young have flown the nest again at the end of their recent stay to their own places of abode, they will all always have a place in my heart, thoughts and prayers." William Forde: June 18th, 2015.