It all really does change when you have children. My oldest grandson is 13 now and his parents have had a sort of a too-close-for-comfort encounter with reality the past month.
Fox had a first serious girlfriend - lovely girl with a large family; she was Mormon, he is not and the relationship ended after three years of his failing to find it within himself to convert.
He then had a second really serious girlfriend - another lovely young woman with a large family spread across the world. Not particularly religious, entertainingly eccentric types with great heaps of generosity, warmth, and erm, well, something of an unconventional outlook on life. Wonderful young woman, wonderful family. But that relationship also ended after a couple of tumultuous years (and would go on, off, on, off again for several more years until she married someone else and pretty much lived happily ever after).
And he fell in love with the second serious girlfriend's best friend (with 2cnd girlfriend's hearty approval. I think). And one day they telephoned (I was still living in SE AL) to announce she was pregnant and they were probably getting married. Some day. Ahem. We're still awaiting that 'some day' but it does look closer now than it has the past 13 years. She's grown, he's grown, and their son is AMAZING. They're cautiously exploring the idea of getting back together and if they do I'll be over the moon happy for them.
Fast forward through the painful years (during which my son and I had an acutely painful on-off-on-off relationship, beginning really from the time he was 16). I think those painful years are well and truly over now, and the past month brought it home in an especially frightening yet in the end incredibly happy way.
My son's second girlfriend's youngest sister, now 25 years old, was kidnapped five weeks ago, got away from her abductors, escaped into the woods and managed for 28 days to survive on her own in the swampy-woody-'gator-snake-bat infested SE AL woods until she found her way to a highway and got herself rescued by a passing motorist.
Talking to my son (regular telephone calls back to America) two days ago he told me she'd been found and was in hospital recovering. HALLELUJAH!
And he told me about the sheer horror he'd felt when during the last week 2cnd girlfriend's sister was missing (and beginning to be presumed dead by just about everyone) he couldn't reach his son's mother OR his son - they both weren't answering their mobiles at the arranged phone times and he told me he'd become utterly and completely panicked. He said during the time he couldn't reach them he knew exactly what 2cnd girlfriend's family was experiencing, particularly her parents, and he finally completely understood what he'd put me through over the last 20 years.
It all really does change when you have children.
Thank-you God, all the saints and angels, and the Wood Folk (or faerie or Wee Folk, or whatever you prefer to call them) for watching over 2cnd girlfriend's youngest sister during her 28 days lost in the woods. Calling her survival a miracle doesn't begin to cover it.
Welcome home, Lisa!