After many international and national moves, I now live in a leafy suburb of northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.
Back in the 1960s, I was born in New Zealand, where I have my first memories. My parents took a trip along snowy roads in the South Island with a baby brother wrapped in swaddling. There were warm summer days with no parental supervision. I vividly recall a friend and I trying unsuccessfuly to set light to a green and grassy soccer field with matches because older boys had *dared* to play *soccer* on *our* field. The bubbling and smelly mud of Rotorua still drifts across my eyes and nose sometimes.
When I was four years old, we moved to Australia and I grew up there in an ‘English house’. I don’t mean the house was English, I mean my parents continued with their English lifestyle. We watched the FA Cup, cricket, and boxing (Cassius Clay originally). We watched English mysteries and comedies on TV. English friends came for dinner and sipped sherry (from an expensive bottle…that my dad regularly refilled from a cheap flagon). Mainly for this reason, I never felt like I was an Australian and as I grew up I wanted to go ‘home’, even though I had never lived there; I had only visited for 6 weeks when I was 12 years old.
In my mid-twenties, I left Australia for England and a long-standing penpal, and we married six months later. We lived in England and Australia, and also spent some time based out of Texas (I consulted around the USA). After that, it was Switzerland for a few years before moving here.
The marriage had ups and downs like any other. Eventually, something ‘broke’ in my wife and she left the family in early 2011. I am now dad and sole guardian to our three girls. They’re all teenagers, all hormones, almost all of the time. You want them, just let me know; there are days I’d give it some serious thought!
It took me most of 2011 to adjust and cope. But I did it. As the fourth quarter of 2011 dawned, I put the past behind me. The death of my father and a flying visit back to Australia for the funeral was just one more nail in the coffin of 2011, if you’ll excuse my indelicate reference. I started anew. I haven’t looked back since. Life is too interesting and rich to wallow in the past. My mind sees too many new things to do and learn to stay still or idle.
So much has been written about dating in middle age (and I will mercilessly kill anyone who says I am already past “middle age”!). The horrors of online dating, the weird and sometimes wonderful people, the challenges of finding a match rather than a limpet mine or a flitting fancy. My story is different than most because I found it relatively straight-forward. Perhaps because I am too, perhaps I was just lucky. I firmly believe that relationships are about finding the accommodations and adjustments that allow for a peaceful and happy coexistence and not just about finding someone who fits like a glove from the first moment. We’re older now and have our preferences and it takes time to make relationships work well. Chance play its part — there’s no way to know how many introductions and how many dates are required before happening on The One that works so very well.
In mid-December 2011, after dating for some months, I met someone very interesting. For a number of reasons, I thought she wouldn’t be interested in me. We texted back and forth while she was back home in the West for Xmas and she grew on me. On New Year’s Eve, we had our first date. It’s November 2012 as I update this and we’re still working out very well. She has a daughter and I have three. Her daughter is a teenager too. *sigh* … And when I say “*sigh*”, you’re probably thinking about the usual teenage angst and tantrums. Oh no! My special friend and I have endured far more than that. Her continuing presence in my life demonstrates a commitment and support to me that is far beyond the norm. She is indeed very special to have never said, “Are you kidding me?? I didn’t sign up for this!”
This blog includes posts about my split from 2011, but is now primarily a tale of our expanding family and its ongoing dramas. May your own lives be far more peaceful than mine!
My writing style tends to the humorous, the dry, the warm. I see life in these shades and it’s reflected in my writing. Other than deliberately obfuscating facts or timelines to maintain some anonymity, I tell the truth. If I err, it is most likely unintentional, and please accept my apologies.