I am very proud of our daughter Hadley.
I haven’t been writing about her much. There’s a reason for that.
Jake is now 10.
Ten years ago Hadley was an exchange student in France. Then she taught in a school near Toulouse, where she she met up with Alain.
Alain was smart and funny, a barrel-chested, muscular lad from the Gers region. He led a crew who worked on building sites.
She got pregnant. They got married.
When Jake was just over a year old, they agreed to move to Paris. There she got an internship in one of the big fashion houses and quickly learned a lot about the fashion business.
They found an apartment in a block with other young parents, and some immigrant families.
The internship became a job. Alain looked after Jake during the daytime. They agreed he should do this until Jake was ready for kindergarten.
But after a while, Alain became angry, aggressive, even violent at times. They had bitter arguments in which he said she was ruining his career by refusing to return to his home region.
One day Hadley got a call from a neighbour. The apartment had been trashed and the neighbour had Jean-Luc who was crying.
Alain had asked her to look after him for a while and just never came back.
A week later he started to call and text her saying he was sorry, he loved her and he was returning.
She said it was over but he insisted on his right to stay in the apartment again.
She changed the locks but he often pushed past the concierge, pestering her, shouting abusively in the corridor or leaving insulting messages on the door.
Then after a while he sought access to the child. Hadley was granted a divorce but there was a bitter argument over custody.
He wanted joint custody on the grounds that they had been together up to Jake’s first birthday. She argued that he had not shown himself a fit parent during that time. He argued that he had looked after Jake well, but his dependence on Hadley made him feel useless and frustrated him. One day it just got on top of him.
It went against him in the end.
He was granted visitation rights at least once a month if he came to Paris and two annual visits by Jake to his family home in Tarbes, all subject to his good behaviour. He had to satisfy a social worker in his home town that he was capable of observing the ruling.
Since then he has married a local girl and lives with her in Tarbes. Hadley met with the girl and is happy that Jake should stay with them.
Hadley has done well in the fashion industry and after gaining experience on the sales floor she was moved up into management. She gets contacted by headhunters from time to time but has stayed with the firm, who were helpful in letting her work out of Paris and flexible over her hours.
Now she has been asked to move to London.
I think she and Alain have settled their differences and Jake always has a good time there.
Till now I have been afraid of writing or saying anything that could cause a problem between them.