Douglas and you were now married, I was delighted you had found the happiness you deserved.
There was of course, a tinge of regret; the closeness, honesty and familiarity you and I had enjoyed for the past ten years, was now irrevocably changed.
Douglas had fitted into this crazy, mixed up family with more dignity and warmth than anyone could have hoped for, but things were different, as they should be. I would not be human if there was not some sense of loss, amongst the happiness.
I have no idea what Douglas thought of this gay ex-husband who would not or could not go away, but his patience and tolerance was beyond reproach
His relationship and obvious warmth towards the kids was exemplary; I was delighted our family was in very good hands.
I was in Sydney for Jassy’s 21st birthday in July. It was a night where all the disparate aspects of our family came together. You and Douglas played the role of hosts to perfection, it was terrific to catch up with Ossie and Esme, and; Jassy looked radiantly happy.
After many false starts, looking for love in all the wrong places; James and I had been together for almost six months and he and I came to Sydney for Christmas, with all the family.
There is a photo taken after lunch on Christmas Day 1998, where our blended family is shown in all its glory. James and Douglas, Ashley, Jassy’s boyfriend at the time, the three girls and you of course. Everyone proudly wearing their Santa hats and best Christmas smiles
The only person missing from this photo is Bob, I presume he was the photographer in this “pre selfie” time.
This was to me, a dream come true, a melded family having fun together and the wonderful Bob reveling in his role as de facto grandfather. There were of course, some undercurrents and it would take a few more years before these could be eliminated but, I was slowly learning patience.
Kayla was still finding it difficult in dealing with my sexuality and it was tough for both her and James, but we muddled through as this family always does.
I was finding it more and more difficult being away from the kids, they were all getting older and their own lives were taking precedence over the need to spend time with me on my visits to Sydney.
I had been approached in November, by someone wanting to buy the business. I had dismissed this at the time, but leaving the kids after this Christmas was tough and I began to think about a permanent move back to Sydney, on the long drive home.
This was only a germ of a thought and there were many things, not the least; the relationship with James which had to be considered.
I was learning the wonderful and not so wonderful aspects of the life I had mapped out for myself, I was acutely aware the time was fast approaching when both you and I would have to take a back seat in our children’s lives.
Holidays in Melbourne and time with Dad when I was in Sydney, were taking second place to boyfriends, time with friends and their own interests. This was of course, how things should be, but it weighed heavily on me. I had missed so much in their lives and I did not want to miss this exciting time as our children became adults.
Food for thought