These pictures have something in common. I mean, besides the fact that they show my two children at different ages. What they depict are my daughter, Kathryn, and son, Jeremy, out on the town without me. To be more precise, they are with their father.
Yes, the kids and I lived as a single-parent family from the time they were eight and four years old. The 1980 photo looks like it was taken in Old Montreal, when their father lived in the area. The later pic was taken in Toronto, visiting their dad. I wasn’t there.
My children grew up, in part, with a sort of ghost life, a life in another dimension, to which I had no access whatsoever. These photos (and others in my collection) are mute testament to the fact that they spent thousands of hours – hundreds of weekends and holidays away from me over the years – developing a whole side of themselves which I was not privy to.
But you know what? It all seems to have worked out for the best. They learned to take things in stride; became flexible and adaptable. They had mom days and dad days; received mom gifts and dad gifts; put up with mom moods and dad moods; tolerated mom’s friends and dad’s friends; navigated mom’s digs and dad’s digs, with the result that their experiences and personalities were doubly enriched. They also wore the heck out of their suitcases, travelling around the continent, mostly with their dad. (The latter may help explain why they both have quite a fondness for travel today!)
If you were to ask them now if they would have wanted to grow up any other way, I’m not sure but my guess would be they’d say No.
I’m so proud of you, Kathryn and Jeremy. You guys are all right!