Whilst sorting photographs at the family computer one Saturday, my son Kieran came and sat next to me. He said, “Daddy I have a secret”. I didn’t react as this is something he often does. Normally following up with “I love you”. A giggle and a contented 6-year-old boy running off with a laugh. However, this time was different. I gave him the usual I love you too before he had the chance to speak, but he looked pained. “Daddy this is a different secret this one is bad”. Now let me explain, I have always taught my children not to keep secrets. If some thing is on their minds then they are to approach either me or their mum.
On hearing this and seeing his face screw up, I turned the screen off and faced him. I explained he has my attention and then he said a sentence that changed my life forever. A sentence that filled me with emotions. “N** (his mum’s boyfriend) Is a bad man, and isn’t allowed to go back to where he lives”. When the lady comes to school we have to tell her we have not seen him. We don’t know where he lives and he has not been to our house”. What the hell did this mean? Who is this lady?. I had so many questions to ask but I realised they were not questions to ask an 8-year-old boy.
After explaining to Kieran that I was proud of him for coming to me I asked him if he knew why N** was a bad man. He told me he didn’t, got up and ran off into the garden. Perfect! I will be honest this blew the wind out of me and I was glad he gave me time to compose myself. Knowing this needed addressing but struggling to understand it I phoned the children’s mum. I needed to protect Kieran and his secret so I told her the local police force had been in contact looking for N. “He is a child sex offender” she told me whilst crying. I would later learn these tears that were being shed were not tears of sorrow but because she had been caught. I hoped she had made a catastrophic error in judgement. This was later discovered not to be the case.
I put the children to bed that night and phoned their mother. It was a hard conversation because I had to put aside any prior feeling I had towards her. After an exhausting two-hour phone call trying to piece together the story I finally hung up the phone. Taking a deep breath I felt I had done everything I could at the time and yet I had not done anything. The call had been full of reassurances that she is a good mum, all parents make mistakes we are only human after all but it’s about how we deal with them that counts. I told her that I knew she wouldn’t have knowingly moved a sex offender into their family home, and despite everything that had happened in the past I honestly believed this.
I went to bed that Saturday night knowing that first thing Monday morning I had to ring social services. This proved to be a hard phone call, I was informed that Child services had been working with the children’s mum for the previous 6 months and the reason I had no idea was because according to S** (Children’s mum) I was an absent father and she didn’t have any contact details for me.
This statement hurt like hell because I realised that it was only partly bollocks. She did have my phone number and Facebook details as did the children’s school. We were in contact more than regularly. However I felt I WAS a non-existent father although this wasn’t my intention, it was my choice. I decided to give up on a broken marriage and leave my wife and children and our family home. With that choice, I became an absent father in my own mind. Sure I phoned the children twice a week, had them every second weekend and picked them up for dinner once a week. However, it didn’t take long until I realised I didn’t know my children.
If I was in my children’s lives every day If I had managed to work on and save my marriage would I have been able to pay more attention to the kids I surely would have spotted some thing was going on wouldn’t I?
This is part one of my Story.
If anything you have read in this article is of interest to you, please feel free to contact me with any questions or opportunities Email: