Settled in the new house and officially separated, the new boyfriend and I enjoy being free to spend time together, and go out and about, hand in hand. I am treated to dates at Country and Western music shows, meals out and movies, being wined and dined as the saying goes, was a pleasing new experience. Never arriving for visits empty handed, he shouts us bags of groceries and practical gifts for the house and children.
Family was very important to him, and he was very focused on supporting his six children, aged ten years and up, and meeting their needs. Four of the six were mostly grown up, but two were still at school. He felt really hurt for them all, because their mother had left them, but especially for the youngest boy, who at ten, stuck to him everywhere he went, like he was glued on.
We went on visits with the younger children, to the park to feed the ducks and push each other on the swings, to football matches supporting the local team or to watch his older boys playing. However our discussions of marriage and trying to work out a future together always got stuck.
The daunting logistics of how to go about uniting all our children under one roof. One of his daughters, recently married herself, asked him why he wanted to bother getting married again at his age, forty five, as if he was past it. Combined with his inability to get over the betrayal and hurt from his first go, that has left him feeling like he cannot commit to trying again, has us deciding to separate.
I am crazy in love, with a once in a lifetime love connection, and can only hope that, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’, will come to pass for me. Maybe time and distance will let him see what he is missing in his life.
I sell up my house to move on to a new area, and buy a large old fashioned house in Dannevirke. The children begin at new schools, the eldest boy now at College, finds himself a part time job sanding down cars for a spray painting business.
My sister, branching out on her own, to support herself and her daughter has bought the fish and chip shop, just down the street from my mum’s Otaki dairy. She lives on the back with her little daughter and the shop provides just enough income for them to get by on. Myself and the five kids liked cruising over to that coast in the ‘Rambler’ on weekends, to stay with them, visit the beach, and enjoy fish and chip teas.
My eldest girl made friends with some girls at her new school, that I thought seemed a bit scatty and might lead her into trouble. Sure enough, some of their parents turned up on the doorstep, under the cover of darkness, to inform me their girls and mine had been on a shoplifting spree up town.
Revealing armfuls of clothing, they dragged out of the car, they inform me they are about to take them all to the dump to hush it up. I feel shocked and like they have enmeshed me in their big plot without a choice.
After finding her bed stuffed with a pillow and no kid one morning, like some corny movie, the other kids reveal this is not the first time and that she has been climbing out the window and disappearing for the night, regularly. Her eldest brother went out scouring the town looking for her, and discovering her hiding in the toilets at the park, fetched her home.
When my sister in Otaki, heard about her going off the rails and getting into trouble, she offers for her to move in with her and attend a new school, to allow her to have time out and a fresh start. However, that only lasted a couple of months before she starts stealing and getting into trouble there.
Eventually, after her return home, more stealing and a court appearance she ends up in a home for wayward children in Palmerston North. Her father and her decide that she should go and live with him on her release.
When he brings her to us for weekend visits, he makes her open her bag in front of everyone for him to check every item in there, in and out. I feel embarrassed for her, like he is treating her as if she is some big time criminal, but then think, maybe its the oversight she needs.