My family is firmly rooted into French intellectual middle-class. Indeed, statistically-speaking, I should be living in a suburban house, with a husband, lots of books and a lawn-mower. It is therefore a bit of a shock to wake up every morning to the fact that my life would fit rather nicely into a Channel 4 documentary on new-age chavs: A single mum with of two children by two different fathers, no lawn and a PhD.
My TV life felt even more surreal than usual this weekend, partly because suddenly it was Summer-hot even though the ski season isn’t over yet, mostly because just as suddenly, ex-Useless Boyfriend seems to have graduated from Useless Father to Not So Bad Dad. Not only did he fly to France for the weekend to see our son, he actually managed to make him feel happy and special, in a funny estranged-fatherly-kind-of-way.
It felt as if the (brief) happy times we had spent together, followed by the years of his repeated failure to get involved in our son’s life whirled into a crazy fast-forward towards this moment when he said “He’s a lovely kid, you’ve done a good job”. Thankfully I was sitting down, which saved me the indignity of falling over from shock. I managed to croak “Thank you”.