Its the most difficult time of the year.

Last day before the Christmas festivities begin and I am lounging around with Nick thinking about the shopping that needs doing and the  presents that need wrapping and the almost military like schedule that I will be following from 10am tomorrow morning so that all of my fractured and flung to the  far winds family will be part of the landscape of my life again, even if just for a few short hours.  I am thinking of the Christmases past and the christmases present and hoping that the christmases future, for the next generation will be more cohesive and bound together.  And then I start to think of all of the people that we have worked with this year and the way in which our life mirrors theirs and the reality that family separation is, quite simply, a fact of life for so many people up and down this land.  I’m just going to write a quick piece for my blog I say.  Nick nods and goes back to emailing people he hasn’t managed to see this year.   And here I am, sitting at the computer writing again, about something that he and I know intimately, as so many of  you do.  We all bear the scars and we know that this can be quite simply the most difficult time of the year.

We all want Christmas to be magical, in that way we never quite grow up.  The pain of Christmas without loved ones close and especially our children, is the loneliness, the loss and the reminder that the family that we built, that we hoped would provide the safety and security for our children, didn’t survive.  For some of us, the family that we were brought up in turned out to be a place of tragedy and terror, leaving us to wonder whether family could ever provide the safety that children need.  For others, family was that place of security and warmth and the dream of building our own family crumbled as our relationships with other people foundered and failed to provide what we had hoped for when our children arrived in the world.  However we arrived at this place we call separation, the core of it all is the family and the loss of it, family and the lack of it and family and the downright pantomime that it can be sometimes.

Take the family where alienation is present.  In recent months I have begun to write about the drama of the alienated family.  This drama, based upon my experience of working with families where children are estranged from one side of their family after separation is akin to a pantomime only there is no happy ending here, only generational trauma and scarring.  Whilst this drama is nothing to laugh about, sometimes it helps to take a light hearted look at the darkness that is family separation.  What I have learned most, in working with families where alienation is present, is that when the pain is shared and the experiences are compared, there can be more laughter than tears and more love than fear.  For what is alienation if it is not the triumph of fear over freedom (to love everyone) and the ongoing tears for the children who remain captive within the minds of one of their parents.  To dwell in that place of tears and fear can drain the soul and kill the spirit and too many separated families end up there.  And so just before the celebrations begin, just for those of you who bear the burden of being subjected to the power of the ruling personalities that control your children, here is a little (almost) lighthearted look at the pantomime called family separation, let’s call it Cinderella.

Cinders was a happy little child, she had a mother and father who loved her and she skipped dreamily through life without a care in the world.  Suddenly however, a dark light descended upon the world of this happy little girl as she heard the news that her mother and father were about to separate.

‘Oh no’ thought ‘Cinders, what will happen to me now that my mother and my father are going to live in separate homes?’

‘Don’t worry’ said her father kindly ‘you will get to see us both, you will live with your mother and your father in a shared parenting arrangement, its ok, the government have made it possible now that they have changed the Children Act.’

Neither of them noticed that Cinders mother was scowling as he said that.

Two months later and Cinders was preparing to go to her fathers home when her mother sidled into the room with a strange look upon her face.

‘Dear Cinders’ she said, ‘I know that you want to go to your father’s house this afternoon and spend the rest of Christmas there with him, but I forgot to tell you that your cousins from Never Land are arriving today, they will only be staying for three nights before they go home again, I am sure they are going to be very sad not to see you.’

Cinders was taken aback.  This was the first she had heard of her cousins, whom she loved so dearly, arriving at her mother’s home today.  She felt torn inside, she so badly wanted to see her cousins, she would miss playing with them and what would they think of her if she did not return until after they had gone?  She sat and she thought and she thought, what would her father say if she did not go to his house today?  What would he feel like?  Her mother, noticing her deep in thought said kindly..’I know you are thinking about your father and worrying that he will miss you, but remember dear Cinders, he is a grown up and he should want you to be happy, I am sure that if you tell him that you would like to stay and play with your cousins he will be fine….and if he is not…’ her mother’s voice trailed off, full of meaning…Cinders felt confused and under pressure, she couldn’t think straight anymore.  She looked up at her mother, standing there so tall and so powerful…’I will ring my father’ she said in a small voice,  ‘I am sure he will not mind if I stay here.’

The family drama that unfolds in this tale is that which is played out across our land over and over again.  It is played out in front of me and I watch it unfolding on high days and holidays as the adults in the family system exert their power over children in ways too subtle for them to notice and too powerful for them to resist.  The drama consists of several key players, some of you will recognise them in your own family, whether your family is together or not.  The players are in hierarchical order and the hierarchy matters hugely because keeping it in place is what most of the players in the drama are about. Its what Cinders is doing as she contemplates her mother’s suggestions and calibrates the power her mother exerts over her against the power her father has in her life.  In many family systems it is the mother who wins but in others it is the father. But  whoever wins the role of the head of the hierarchy, you can be sure that it is their drama that is going to be played out by the family cast.  The head of the hierarchy has recently been termed the ‘Drama Queen’ in one of our workshops and I like that phrase.  For the Drama Queen is the person in the system who dominates the emotional conduits that run through the family and it is their drama, their story that will ultimately rule the day.

The Drama Queen is served by a cast of many but the primary servant is the Rescuer aka husband or wife.  This person, in relationship to the Drama Queen, holds power only if the Drama Queen continues to bestow it. Whilst the Rescuer has power, all is well in the family system but the Rescuer only holds that power whilst pleasing the Drama Queen, should the Rescuer eschew his/her role of smoothing the ruffled feathers of the Drama Queen and move into the role of Mischief Maker (the one who refuses to play the Drama Queen’s game), then all hell will break loose and not only the Rescuer but the rest of the family system will be plunged into chaos and terror.  When Cinders father decided that his relationship with Cinders mother was at an end, little did he know that he had voluntarily moved into the role of Mischief Maker and that from that moment on he had lost his place, his home and even his daughter.  Hell hath no fury like a Drama Queen scorned and Cinders, poor child, was earmarked for alienation or alternatively for scapegoat or the demon in the family.  Whichever role Cinders chooses however, she will be the one in the family who carries the symptoms of the dynamic between the Drama Queen and Rescuer/Mischief Maker.   Under the intense gaze of the Drama Queen, most children would choose to be the alienated child rather than the scapegoat or the demon,for  at least the alienated child is pleasing to the Drama Queen, whilst the other two roles involve the full wrath of DQ descending upon them and what child would want that, especially at Christmas.

Two years later and Christmas again.  Cinders father has made several applications to the courts, asking that Cinders come to spend time with him at Christmas.  Numerous Elves from CAFCASS have written reports about their visits to Cinders, all are at a loss to know what to do.  Cinders mother is plaintive on the witness stand, she so wants her little Cinders to see her father but she cannot make her if she does not want to.  Surely there must be something that Cinders father has done to cause this inexplicable rejection by Cinders of her father, for she is doing soooo well in every other aspect of her life, it is only that she does not want to see her father.  Nothing happens, Cinders stays with her mother this Christmas and many more afterwards and thus, the family drama remains intact.  No-one notices that Cinders has moved into the role of Rescuer and if they do, well that’s only to be expected isn’t it.  Only Cinders father can see that his daughter and her mother share the same shadow.  He worries for his daughter and wonders whether she will ever break free.

So many parents will, this Christmas, be sharing the same thoughts about their children.  Even those in separated families who do see their children may feel the push and pull of family alliances and the shifting fracture lines of loyalty conflicts.  Navigating separated family life is a minefield of action, reaction and emotional intensity and the children within the system carry the signals that cause these tides to ebb and flow.  There are no courses that teach us how to be, within separated family systems and relatively few places where we can hold conversations that convey understanding and skill about coping as a player in them.  For all of the years since divorce began to be common place, society has focused upon family separation as being only about the archetypal act of betrayal, of male abandonment of women and children and the notion that men are feckless and reckless and always on the lookout for a younger model.  And our narratives and legends and our family dramas have been governed by this stereotype.

Perhaps it is time for a new story at Christmas, one which conveys the reality and not the verisimilitudinous tale, spun by the women who bake gingerbread.

And so, as Christmas Eve approaches and I prepare to put into action ‘Operation Woodall’, I send out thoughts to all of those who are without their children this festive season and all of those children who are without one side of their family.  To all who are negotiating the minefield of transitions of children between families and all of those children who knowingly and unknowingly carry the weight of the emotional expectations between homes.  To each and every separated family in the land, my support, my care and my respect for the work that you do.  You are not alone, your story will be told and may 2013 bring a happier ending.

22 comments

  1. hamiltonclive · December 23, 2012

    Great blog; summaries the PAS being played out for too many including myself. I can hear the cries of “the PAS is there, look its there, it’s not behind you, it’s there…there look..” But the “well meaning” can’t see it…they don’t understand or choose deliberately to look everywhere else, supposedly listen but still don’t see…
    When will organisations like CAFCASS wake up and recognise it? Take action to stop the no contact situations they impose and so create the perfect environment in the first place to help PWC to achieve, entrench the alienation…

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    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      I think that the pantomime of CAFCASS, driven as it is by blinkered people, is something that we may only get to grips with in years hence, when the children who have been so badly affected are able to have a voice. In so many ways it will be the scandal akin to the forced sending of people to other countries. No comfort for those who face the ineptitude of CAFCASS in the present I know. For now I send you my support, my care and my respect for your fatherhood, it is more necessary than ever right now, stay well, stay healthy andknow you are not on your own, today and always. K

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  2. Jenny · December 23, 2012

    As always, you say it so well Karen.

    Ten years ago almost to the day, our story started. More important than that, our granddaughter’s story started: the gradual removal of her father and his family from her life. Oh yes, mother encouraged ‘contact’, that foul word, that is until the child really needed her father’s family more than ever. But by then, the PA was complete. Who knows what had been said to her? Who knows what she believes?

    So another Christmas when our son doesn’t see his daughter. Another Christmas when we – her grandparents – don’t see our granddaughter, and nor does she see her aunts and uncles and her cousins. But all the reminders are there. The Christmas tree decorations that she made, the reindeer headdress, her stocking. All waiting till one day when she’s with us once more.

    I wish everyone, separated from their children this Christmas, hope that better things will come.

    And thanks a million to Karen and Nick for the wonderful work they do and the support they give us all.

    Jenny

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    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      Sad to hear another Christmas goes by without your granddaughter Jenny, I hope 2013 brings some shifting dynamics as she grows towards adulthood. Sending my love and support to you and yours and all the people you help so selflessly. K

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  3. pauldmanning · December 23, 2012

    Continuing on the theme of Cinderella…

    1. The pumpkin that turned into a coach and carried Cinderella away = The secret family courts.

    2. The four white mice that turned into horses and pulled the coach = 2 Judges + 2 Cafcass reporters that pulled the coach along giving it momentum.

    3. The glass slipper = the fitting answers to all alienated kids problems, but pseudo MP’s see straight through them, (just like glass).

    4. Prince Charming = the sensible wise parent that makes Cinderella very happy indeed and they were happy ever after. (Dad got to see that his ex had a heart after all)

    5. The 3 ugly sisters = 50/50 shared parenting, The Norgrove report, and the Nuffield foundation, (all hard to look at for any length of time)

    6. The clock striking 12 midnight at the ball and Cinders leaves for good = The end of the game for fathers, leading to many suicides at Christmas time.

    Happy Christmas you dads, please try.

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    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      Too many good dads (and mums) who cannot bear the pain Paul, too many. I send you my deepest care and respect, you face so much and you keep on keeping on. Stay as well as you can for as long as you can, your boy needs you to do that for him. Will be in touch early 2013. Kx

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  4. Dad in Waiting · December 23, 2012

    Excellent as always Karen, I wish you and everyone out there the best Christmas you can possibly have. To those alienated from their children, stay strong and take support from those around you that love you as you deserve to be loved. Never give up hope, never give up trying, live in the knowledge that you will always be a parent to your kids, and that every day you are not with them is a day closer to when you will be with them again. One day, you shall go to the ball….!

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    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      You will always be your childrens parent….write it LARGE and carry it everywhere with you. You are part of children, one day they will look back at the parent who is alienating them with your face, they will walk with your gestures, smile with your smile, you cannot be eradicated and they will come and find you. Until then, keep well, keep healthy and find others with whom you can share the burden, its too heavy to carry alone. Until 2013 dad in waiting, when we will walk a little further on your journey together. K

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  5. Kat · December 23, 2012

    The drama queen – yes they do like a good drama and they are the script writers too. It is perfectly alright for you to try to add to the script, but they somehow always manages to change it so it is still exactly what they want with them at the centre.
    Hope you have a good Christmas and a merry Christmas to everyone else with or without children!

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    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      Sending my care to you Kat, I know you will be putting into action your own operation christmas with all that it entails, keep on keeping on and dont let the DQ get you down, yre thehope and the health of your family, the route to normality..I hope 2013 brings more peace than struggle and more love than fear. K

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  6. el dermo · December 23, 2012

    Well you have me blubbing here! I will see my lads on Christmas day morning from mums and return them after a late breakfast and present opening fest. Also St Stephens day overnight. My first Christmas day time with them since the separation thanks to a certain judge and brilliant McKenzie. My CAFCASS elf couldn’t wait to sharpen her “wishes and feelings” pencil but thankfully she was ignored like all naughty elves should be.

    You made me laugh as well as cry. I wrote a panto for work…Santa has a dream after sipping some Cuban rum on his last delivery and dreams that he is in hospital. thankfully the good elves get him out at tribunal just in time to deliver the last toys. Clients were the actors and went down a storm. Broadway beckons?

    I am lucky. I will see them and there are many i know who will not this year and even for years to come perhaps. I have felt that pain and am fortunate that now it is past. My thoughts and prayers are with every child, parent, partner, sibling and grand parent who face it not just at this hard time but always. More power too to those who extend the hand of human kindness.

    Perhaps given my new thespian leanings you will excuse the following? If you don’t i will never work in theatre again (cue sound of door slamming).
    A Christmas carol.

    “a thrill of hope
    the weary world rejoices
    for yonder breaks
    a new and glorious morn”

    I hope so. Never ever give up. Nollaig Shona!

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    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      El Dermo, your thespian leanings are always welcome on here, perhaps one day we should write a musical together, we could call it ‘Manana is ours Companero’, you can be Fidel I will be Gloria Estefan! Have a wonderful Christmas morning with your boys, normality will be resumed I am sure..Adios until 2013 K

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  7. expoƒunction · December 23, 2012

    “I am lounging around ..”. Surely Karen has a guest blogger, I thought to myself, but I’m glad you’ve found a few rare moments to relax, even if it’s in the calm before the storm, and you couldn’t resist writing this lovely piece.

    You’ve captured the very essence of the whole issue so wonderfully with the following line: “.. as the adults in the family system exert their power over children in ways too subtle for them to notice and too powerful for them to resist.”

    I hope 2013 becomes a year of awakening to the plight of these children and I’ve no doubt you’ll be front and centre of that Karen.

    To everyone here and especially the children in their lives and their hearts, a very happy Christmas.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      i look forward to working with you in 2013 EF and until then I send you my care and thanks for your very welcome interest in my work and your incredibly useful and supportive words of wisdom since we met. I hope that Christmas is peaceful even without your loved ones, look forward to meeting/speaking again in 2013. K

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  8. Tim Porteus · December 23, 2012
    • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012

      What a wonderful idea Tim, it is uplifting and dignified in the face of loss and sadness. I hope it will keep going for many years hence. K

      Like

      • karenwoodall · December 24, 2012
  9. PapaMissingKids · December 25, 2012

    Dear Karen and Nick,

    First of all I would like to wish both of you and your family a very happy and merry Christmas and a fantastic, miraculous, peaceful and prosperous new year.

    As far as I’m concerned (and I’m sure many, many here, would agree), you two are angels on earth. I pray that the angels in heaven give you more strength, guidance, assistance in the amazing work you do to help children everywhere facing this treacherous, treacherous, phenomenon of parental alienation. I pray to the Divine to help us all – parents and children.
    With best wishes for Karen and Nick and everybody and their children….

    PMK

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  10. charlotte · December 28, 2012

    gosh i could cry reading this; so many ppl will relate to this and to be honest i do! My stepdaughter had the invitation of her neighbours coming around from never never land …i could easily place someone from our situation in each role of Cinderella as you describe…and to think my thoughts are as you describe about the future and how the child may become , and yes my hubby ex is the drama queen i like how this is para phased , the hat fits and she sure does wear it! and so does the drama queens partners rescuer hat ….

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  11. pauldmanning · January 9, 2013

    The heartless Lioness. A story written by Paul Manning (Pt 2 available on request)
    Once there was a lioness called Teha, she was beautiful, but very vain and haughty. Teha roamed the jungle in search of prey that she killed without a seconds thought and without mercy as many lioness’s do. One day she came upon a he-lion who she took to and they became good friends. Together they lived in a dark and dank cave that had strange paintings on the walls that dated from long ago, Teha showed little interest in these, but her mate pondered on their meanings and marvelled at them greatly. In time Teha gave birth to two she cubs, Joy and Ella that took after their father in looks and they loved him because of his gentle but sad nature. However, in character they were like Teha, so she taught them all her ways in hunting and the skills of laying traps. Eventually the cubs were trained to follow Teha wherever she went, while their father pondered thoughtfully while gazing at the walls of the cave. Years passed and for Teha it was as if the black and gloomy cave, where they lived, had become a darker and darker place. Because of this Teha had become accustomed to going out on her own late at night and hunting under the light of the moon. Her favourite place was at the pool where all the other he-lions gathered to growl and snarl and to impress and to show who was the strongest. Teha came to crave adventure, she wanted excitement in her life, and after all she was a proud Lioness who deserved better than a dark cave to live in. One night at the pool Teha met a skinny Lion who was called Bow, he did not have a full grown mane nor was he intelligent, but he did at least go hunting, which to Teha came in useful. Both would meet at the pool and go off into the mystery of the jungle, as the other lazy lions slept on full stomachs by the pool. Eventually Teha became bored of Bow’s company and because she did not love him she found it easy to abandon him while he wasn’t looking, such were her ways. Sadly Teha became lonely and had no friends and so wandered back to the cave and back to her cubs that licked their mother with glee on her arrival. For a time Teha settled again and decided that the only place that she could really call home was the cave even though she had to live with her mate who paid little attention to her only the puzzling drawings painted on the walls. Teha had not hunted for some days and her cubs became hungry and tearful and blamed their father for all their problems and misfortunes. One night Teha had a dream, a dream that she thought would change her life forever that would make her future much happier, or so she imagined. She gently nuzzled her two cubs from their slumber while whispering to them ‘shush now, come, we are leaving the cave and we will find a place that is fit for beautiful Lioness’s like us’. The cubs looked confused and Teha could see that they were wondering about leaving their father. To placate them Teha said, ‘don’t worry he will be alright without us and anyway he has his wall paintings to keep him company’. So, the three of them quietly stole out of the cave while the father he-lion innocently snored oblivious to being abandoned by his family. Out into the long grass they journeyed, under the tall trees and over the savannah, mile after mile in a quest for a new home. Teha was never satisfied with her lot in life, for her there was something more out there in the big wide world, a dream of happier times that surely needed fulfilling, and living with an unexciting mate was not good enough for her and she had tired of him just as she had tired of her friend Bow. By now, in a far off land, they came to a place called, Romlye, a land where the Sun shone cheerfully and the birds sang sweetly in the green bushes. Teha even found a new cave with white inner walls. It had an opening in the roof where you could look up and see the blue sky and they all settled in at once. The two she cubs had now become adolescent lions and learnt quickly how to fend for themselves and went hunting on their own. At times they saw other adult lions across the open spaces with their own families. At times they imagined that they saw their sad old father amongst them, but they knew that in reality he was still living in that dark cave far away from them. One day Teha brought home a kill for her family to eat, they had their fill and were all relaxing by the entrance of the cave… ‘I wonder what father is doing now, I wish I could see him’… said Ella. Teha gave her a stern look of displeasure at her remark and in reply said… ‘I guess he’s still trying to work out his wall puzzles and I wouldn’t bother him if I were you.’ Ella somehow knew that to dwell on the subject was a no go area and so she suppressed the urge to say more on the subject. As before Teha came to crave excitement, she was easily bored, she wondered where all the he-Lions gathered at night and if there was a local pool where they quenched their thirsts. And so when the Sun had set she decided to go out and investigate. She made sure that Joy and Ella were safe and sound before she left and headed in the same direction as some Elephants who seemed to be in a purposeful rush to make an appointment somewhere. Teha’s instincts proved correct as she found herself by a fast flowing river where storks waded by its muddy banks and hippo’s frolicked in fat groups, but where were all the he-Loins?
    Just then Teha heard the distinctive low rumble of her own species from across the opposite side of the river and decided to answer it. Back came an invitation to cross the waters and to join with the mystery Lion. Water droplets sprayed in all directions as Teha vigorously shook herself off after clambering out of the river onto the other bank. To meet her, proudly sitting on his haunches and with a white tidy mane was a middle aged he-Lion named Vole. She sidled up to him and gestured a greeting with a sway of her head and a lowering of her long sleek tail, he reciprocated in kind. They spent the night together and Teha told him of her life and her travels and of the sad old mate she had left behind in a dark black cave, of her adventures and of her dreams. Vole listened intently to her story and to some degree sympathised. He told her of his own life and of his beliefs and ideas and that at times he had been sad too and that life was not always kind. That we have to be satisfied with what Mother Nature gives us and to expect perfection of others is just illusionary. They both talked and talked and after many meetings by the river, in time, they came to trust each other and could not be parted for any length of time. Teha asked Vole to come and join her with Joy and Ella back at the happy cave, Vole accepted willingly and all four of them settled harmoniously and loved each other deeply. Teha’s dream had come true it seems and life was just as she wanted it, surely she could not want for anything else? Teha had two females in the pride, but now she wondered what it would be like to have a male cub fathered by Vole, before she became too old in years. And so it came to pass that she bore a wonderful cub who they both named ‘Liot’. Young Liot loved his father greatly and spent as much time with him as possible. They would play in the sand and pretend to fight with snarls and growls. Vole was happy to have his cub in his life and since he was no youngster, or in his prime, he counted himself lucky and blessed. Nevertheless, to have the ability to procreate was something still precious to Vole. Teha did not feel the same as Vole and saw her own cub bearing as over and that the pride was large enough. When Liot was six months old his weaning was complete and Teha’s milk flow ceased, now was the time for him to eat the meat of the prey. Teha persuaded Vole to put aside his principles and that he should throw away his prowess of procreation, but how to apply this in practice was a problem for Lions. While at the river Teha met a fierce Tiger, she complimented him on his very long sharp claws ideal for ripping into the flesh of any beast, when she saw them Teha had an idea? The next day Teha told Vole that she had met the Tiger and that he should meet him in the forest so that they could see who had the sharpest claws. Vole was suspicious at this because Lions never had dealings with Tigers, but he naively agreed to go. The forest was a hot place although the Sun rarely got the chance to see the forest floor and so to Vole it felt strange to walk upon the dampness of rotting leaves. ‘This way I think’, said Teha, leading the way through the undergrowth. Eventually they stopped by a huge mahogany tree that seemed to reach into the heavens up above. By this time Vole was feeling weary and tired and was not used to the hot humid atmosphere that hung like gas in the air. Teha led Vole to some huge leaves that were as big as open umbrellas that were full of a strange green liquid that had fallen from the canopy above. ‘You need a drink’ she said, ‘then you’ll feel better I’m sure’. Vole had never drunk from the leaf of a plant before, or come to that from a forest, but such was his thirst he drank deeply, but Teha did not. Within seconds his eyes were seeing double and his head began to spin, his strong limbs gave way beneath him… and then there was nothing. The Tiger leapt from his hiding place high above on a branch and fell up on the helpless Vole. Extending his razor sharp claws he cut into the loins of the proud but sleeping Lion. In seconds his work was done and any future generations that lay within the seed of this mighty beast were now gone and so was Vole’s dignity. ‘And the reward you promised?’ asked the tiger, with a glint in his eye. ‘I shall bring you two antelope after my hunt tomorrow’, answered the Lioness. And with that the Tiger with one bound disappeared and was gone. Vole stirred and felt a pain that he had never experienced before and found himself laying in a pool of blood that he knew was his own. Teha looked at him and said… ‘Don’t worry you’ll recover, but it was the only way’, but to take the chance of having more cubs and feeding them would have been a mistake, don’t you agree? Vole didn’t answer. They both left the forest for home, on the way Vole felt a deep sadness, for he knew that something in his life would never be the same and even though it was true that he didn’t want any more cubs, the thought that he couldn’t was a hard realisation to accept for a proud Lion as he. Perhaps it was all worth it, Vole thought, and besides he was prepared to do anything to please the Lioness he so loved, but only time would tell. Joy and Ella had thought much about seeing their father and got up the courage to ask about it to their mother, who did not want to have anything more to do with a sad Lion that stared at walls, and this she decided for Joy and Ella too. Two months later on a rainy day, which was a rarity, a sad old Lion was seen sitting some distance from their cave hoping to see Joy and Ella. He was to sit there for the next 5 days without so much of a twitch of a muscle or a swing of his tail. ‘I wish he would go away and get back to his dreary cave’, said Teha, ‘and how did he find us anyway?’
    Vole thought differently he knew instinctively that Teha was being selfish and was beginning to see a different side of her, but perhaps she would change in her attitude, he thought. To prevent Joy and Ella from seeing their father he knew was very wrong. He wondered that if it was possible for Teha to do this to her previous mate that perhaps she might do the same to him, but immediately Vole dismissed the idea out of mind. He knew that their love was unique and that a relationship like theirs would see any problems fade into the background. To Vole’s relief, after the five days were up, Teha agreed to allow Joy and Ella to leave the cave and go and see their father who wept on meeting them. This reunification was to be a regular occurrence, once a month, but it was plain to see that it was hard for Teha to stomach and due to her selfish ways she resented it.

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  12. Yvie · January 13, 2013

    ‘Perhaps it is time for a new story at Christmas, one which conveys the reality and not the verisimilitudinous tale, spun by the women who bake gingerbread’.

    This is a story I would dearly love to read Karen. Any parent who thinks that children are not damaged from a marital split are living in cloud cuckoo land. There will always be divorce unfortunately, but if the playing field was levelled out so that one of the parents did not automatically hold all the cards post-separation, and they were both obliged to confer with each other regarding the welfare of their children, there might be a chance of some of the conflict being deflected away from the children. The adults make the mess and the children have to live with it. Government and the Family Justice System appearing to favour one parent above the other will never work in the best interests of the children, however much they all try to convince themselves.

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  13. Ian Maxwell · February 13, 2013

    Apologies to anyone who has already had this from us.

    1. DEBATE IN SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT John Mason MSP, who attended a Glasgow FNF meeting last year, has succeded in getting his motion selected for a debate, which should be held on Wednesday 27th February, at 5pm after Decision Time.

    This debate is a useful opportunity to raise issues about fathers – any MSP can speak but they will need briefing and a bit of persuasion. To help with this, could you contact your own MSP to let them know about the debate and tell them about your experience and what the Scottish Parliament should be doing for fathers..

    To find out who are your local MSPs (constituency and regional) enter your postcode here: http://www.writetothem.com/

    John Mason’s motion is as follows: Families Need Fathers That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Scottish Governments national parenting strategy, National Parenting Strategy: Making a positive difference to children and young people through parenting; considers that parenting is one of the most important jobs that anyone could have in their life; welcomes the Scottish Governments commitment to developing a national parenting strategy that includes an investment of 18 million to improve access to information, advice and support for parents; notes the comments from Families Need Fathers, which, following the publication of the strategy, said that it welcomes the emphasis on fathers in this new strategy, including fathers who live apart from their children, and considers that Glasgow and Scotland as a whole would benefit from a debate on the role of fathers and their rights and responsibilities.

    Supported by: Brian Adam, Dennis Robertson, Richard Lyle, Chic Brodie, Gil Paterson, David Torrance, Sandra White, Kevin Stewart, Mike MacKenzie, Bob Doris, John Finnie, Alison Johnstone, Adam Ingram, Colin Beattie, Annabelle Ewing, Joan McAlpine, Dave Thompson, Gordon MacDonald, Mark McDonald, Stewart Maxwell, Nanette Milne, Stuart McMillan, Willie Rennie, Jim Eadie http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Advance&ReferenceNumbers=S4M-04456&ResultsPerPage=10

    Ian Maxwell National Development Manager FAMILIES NEED FATHERS SCOTLAND 39 Broughton Place, Edinburgh EH1 3RR http://www.fnfscotland.org.uk

    Office: 0131 557 2440 Mobile: 07887 500667

    Scotland’s leading Shared Parenting charity. Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation SC042817 Join FNF today to support Shared Parenting and take advantage of our many membership benefits Sign up online or call 0300 0300 110. ________________________________

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