Staying Together for the Sake of the Children

Teenage boys – who’d have them by choice? I should know by now: arguing with an adolescent only ever leads to raised voices and do you ever win when he always has to have the last word?

Come to think of it, why, in this nanny state of ours, don’t babies come with a health warning stuck to their foreheads? “CAUTION this little bundle of joy will turn into a belligerent teenager!”

It always amazes me, and I suppose demonstrates the full extent of parental love, that I have so many clients who want to argue over their children. Indeed I can’t recall a case where both parties have sought to reject the kids. If Outdoor Man and I ever went down the road to separation however, I speculate that Apprentice Man might just find himself in that novel position.

“Staying together for the sake of the children,” is an oft quoted phrase. Properly interpreted, does it actually mean: staying together for the sake of the parents? Neither parent should be expected to take on the sole day to day care of their children; it’s unfair – they’re extremely hard work.

Moving in Together

The new motor moved in last night. Totally refined, grey, suave and sophisticated. That’s not quite how the sales literature described it but car manufacturers either lack imagination or else don’t write their brochures for middle-aged women.
It arrived complete with a bouquet of flowers on its front seat; this car certainly knows how to treat a girl. It also came with an array of gadgets which I’m sure I’ll be making use of before long.
I confess, and I giggle at the memory, to being locked in a lengthy embrace with its steering wheel immediately we got the opportunity to be alone together.
It has taken up residence in my garage as if it has always belonged there. A little different to what I’ve been used to over the past few years, but we’re working hard at getting our commitment just right. I was a bit peeved that I had to rearrange a few things to accommodate it in a way that suited us both, but we overcame that hurdle with acceptance on my part. After all I was too excited by its arrival to let a few plant pots and garden tools get in the way of the potential for a fulfilling relationship. I just know we’re going to have a long and happy time together.
Please wish us luck.

originally published on 12 July 2007

LETTING GO – Chattels and Other Items

Last week the family and I went for a studio session in a local photographers and today went back to choose the prints we are having made up into pieces for the wall. “Family heirlooms,” the sales pitch describes them as.
It set me thinking. A decade ago, most of my cases would involve an argument over a division of the family photographs; fortunately the age of digital photography has made such disputes passé.
That said, frequently the stumbling block to settlement terms can still be an heirloom of sentimental rather than monetary value. It’s all about letting go and yet locked into a dispute with what seems like nothing else to hold onto, it can be very hard to do.
Once upon a time I remember a client arguing about a teapot passed to her by an elderly aunt of her husband’s. Both claimed ownership but eventually the husband gave in and my client retained it. I met her a few months later in the street and couldn’t help asking after the item. It transpired that she no longer had it.
“I let go,” she explained.
I assumed she meant in the metaphysical sense but then she elaborated: “Slipped straight through my fingers when I was moving it from the dresser,” she said. “Mind, I never did like it. I only wanted it because he did. After all it was only a ‘thing’!”

originally posted on 23 June 2007