Family rifts take shine off Christmas
By LEE McIVORlmcivor@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
CHRISTMAS is a time of giving and sharing those special family moments.
Yet for some parents, it is the loneliest time of the year. Stephen Paine is one of many non-custodial parents who will not get the chance to see his teenage daughter's eyes light up as she unwraps her presents under the Christmas tree on Sunday morning.
Instead, his youngest daughter will be spending Christmas with her mother in another part of Queensland.
'Generally there is no concern whether the kids spend time with me or not, as I am out of the equation,' he said.
'However this is the first Christmas I will be without my youngest daughter since my ex-wife and I separated close on four years ago.
'I am extremely sad at not being able to see her at this time.'
While his youngest daughter will be away, Mr Paine will be spending Christmas with his new partner and her children.
And his eldest daughter will also spend Christmas with him after he received a surprise phone call from her on Thursday evening.
'That is great,' said Mr Paine, 'but it would be better to have all of us together.'
Last year the girls spent Christmas Eve and the morning of Christmas Day with their dad and then went back to their mum for the rest of the Christmas period.
In preparation for Christmas this year, Mr Paine had spent the past three weeks making his youngest daughter a beautiful set of drawers.
'We had intended to wrap it up for her as a huge present to open on Christmas Day.'
But he has since discovered he would not be seeing his daughter on the day.
Unfortunately Mr Paine's situation is not unique.
'I know of a couple of non-custodial parents who will be sitting at home alone this Christmas,' he said.