In praise of eternal fathers
Although I came on holiday with a Grandad, I’ve holidayed with a Dad. Sharing a small basic guesthouse bedroom with an eight year old isn’t easy at the best of times, especially for three weeks. But it’s an eight year old who we rarely see and whose English repertoire consists of not much more than ‘Oh my God’ (now changed to ‘goodness’), ‘Shit’ (that’s still a work in progress) and ‘Good morning children, how are you today?’ The last, acquired from his weekly English lessons at school, has stretched our parenting skills yet again.
We’ve been here before with two small Indian children we met working (them not us) on the beach in Goa and eventually adopted (hence my forthcoming book From Goa With Love). We taught them how to speak English and over the years have added our culture to their existing one. How many people do this with not only their own children but grandchildren too?
It seems odd when I sit here in Poland thinking about it. History is repeating itself. Our life, mine and Stephen’s, like everyone else’s in the world, has a pattern. Ours is to be forever parents. Forget the Grandma, Grandad lark! That’s not happening to us. Max said he wants to be Grandad’s (or Dad’s as he calls him) ‘Mini me’. A compliment that brought tears to Steve’s eyes. Everyday he’s dressed him, played football, swum with him (Steve’s not keen on swimming every day) and become a father to his fatherless grandson.
I’ve watched in admiration when he’s played Petang rather than have a grandpa snooze or played car games on the iPad when he’d rather read the sports pages! Our eight-year-old granddaughter lives with her mum and us in Wimbledon so it’s nothing new. He’s the same way with her. Our other two grandchildren live close by and he, like me, adores them all. He was a brilliant father when our kids were young, all five of them and he’s still the same now. It’s just that his hair’s a little thinner and greyer but the core of the man is still rock solid. He is an eternal Father and I’m delighted as I never really wanted to go to bed with a grandad!
PS I’m writing this blog post, on my iPhone, with one eye closed due to losing my eye patch and having left my MacBook at the guesthouse. Too bloody busy getting the kids ready to remember it this morning!