Daddy mend?

At my son’s 3rd birthday party he had been playing with a balloon when it suddenly burst – as balloons do. He gathered up the pieces, or at least those of them that were big enough to pick up, and tearfully handed them to me. “Daddy mend?”. Fortunately I had more balloons so I simply inflated another one and gave him.

Over the years, the incident stuck in my mind. It became a metaphor for a parent’s job. Pick up the pieces as best you can and try to put them back together. And I think I have done a pretty good job. Sometimes a chequebook solves the problem, sometimes it’s more complicated. But whatever is broken, Dad will do his best to mend it.

My son is 44 now – divorced, and in the middle of an extremely acrimonious battle for custody of his son. And I have never felt so helpless. He may be an adult but he is still my son. I see uncomfortable parallels between the 3-year-old tearful over a broken balloon and the 44-year-old barely holding it together because he hasn’t seen his son for nearly three months. 

He is heartbroken.

And so am I.

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  1. Very good , lefthanded…….. its very very sad state of affairs custody battles. All thoughts of the children go out the window, and its a battle between the parents. At least one thing has improved over the years and thats fathers do get custody now. Back in the day it was never heard of. I dont think its fair that one minute the father is with his kids everyday, then he has restrictions to every second weekend etc. How is that fair on him and the children.

  2. Thats a very sad position to be in….regardless of the in and outs of the divorce parental and grandparents rights should never be denied unless the child’s safety is in question….i am not suggesting for one minute it is but many lies will be told before the divorce is done and dusted……and maybe custody battles after……if only we could take our children’s burdens on we surely would, nothing more painful than seeing your child’s sorrow….no matter what their age they are still our children….hope sincerely all will turn out well for you and your son, hope your grandchild doesent become a tug of war between his parents……a grandparents love and attention is just as valuable as their parents…….if only this was as easy to solve as blowing up a balloon for your son…..

  3. my mother walked out on my father when i was a toddler. and she never let me or my sister(who was 10 at the time) even acknowledge him. it tore him to pieces and i never knew of my real father until it  was too late and i was in my forties. my stepfather was a marvelous man, my mother was a harriden who physically abused us when dad wasnt around. i and my sister never forgave my mother and. your grandchildren will one day know the truth. i hope it is resolved for you soon. it is a dispicable evil thing to use children to hurt the other partner.

  4. A sad and traumatic experience for you all, grandparents included. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren transcends these situations irrespective of the outcome, and it is to be hoped that your love for your grandchild will feature as part of the solution.


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