Living with Luke 33
For the past 5 or 6 years, we’ve gained a thing, a tradition, if you like, that we would go ice skating on Christmas Eve. We would book tickets for the local large garden centre that would have an ice rink installed every December and we would go in the afternoon, just as the sun was beginning to set and the whole thing would be magical and just add to our ever growing anticipation of the upcoming event. And so it was this year that the tickets were duly booked and we all hoped that it would be a lovely magical afternoon and not the rain slashed (but still magical) endurance test that it had been one year.
A few days before, Tiddles was sitting with TCMH, when he turned and looked at her and said;
“No ice skating.”
“Why?” Asked TCMH.
“I don’t like ice skating…” Came the reply, amazingly. As TCMH said later when she told me, it was as clear as anything and a moment that was, in it’s own way, magical.
We went anyway…
Wellllll, the tickets had already been paid for, and it was Christmas Eve. Now over the years, my experiences of ice skating with Tiddles had all been wonderful, magical, exciting and painful. Painful because I had to support Tiny Tiddles, the boy who wouldn’t skate and by the end of the session my back would be screaming from having to bend and carry the practically dead weight of my little monkey boy.
This year however, marked another sad passing, when I realised that I no longer had to bend to support my young gorilla. He had grown so much in the last year that I could stand up straight as I skated round the rink, which was great for my back, but bad for my heart. My little boy was growing up and I didn’t realise just how much until that lovely afternoon. I thought about just how much he had grown for a couple of laps of the ice, my reverie only broken as we slowly knocked over a little girl – well she DID stop right in front of us. Witnesses stated that it was probably the slowest accident they had ever seen…
But still as much as I loved the afternoon, my boy was growing up-again.
With the session over we returned to the car, Tiddles and I, whilst TCMH and The Eldest Child did a little shopping. I turned to Tiddles in the car and said;
“Do you know what day it is today?”
“Christmas Eve.” Said Tiddles.
“It certainly is!” I said, “And its very exciting isn’t it?” A nod of the head and a shaking of the fists in a copy of what I was doing. ”Tell me how excited you are…”
And in the flattest, quietest, most monotone voice, he murmured,
Now indulge me.
In these days the role of the father seems to get a very bad press. The actual role of the dad seems to be decreasing in importance which is very sad. Many of my oldest friends are now fathers themselves…so here goes.
Dave Hannam (my dad), Pete Robins (father-in-law), Ants Parsley, Paul Johnson, Jody Randall, Andy Prangnell, Hatstand, Youngy, Dame Dickie Parsley, Danny, my brothers Scott and Simon, brothers-in-law Steve and Dave, Lee’s Pacey and Ellaway, Kyle, Ian Stacey, David Stacey (no relation), Pat, Stuie Miller, Gary, Barry, Rob O, Chris D, Micky Fish, Harv, Dan James, Steve King, Kendal, Mouldsy, Reg Peachy, Eddie the Quig, Brett and anybody else I may have missed.
Lads…we are all good dads, in fact we are all BRILLIANT dads! (Some are more brilliant than others obviously. No names, but just follow my eyes…). We are all good dads in our own ways, and the challenges will never stop but we have made the decision to be fathers to our children whatever happens and for that I applaud you all.
And of course there are those that have taken on the mantle of stepdad or something close to it – Granty, Oz, Tony, brother Stu and others, I salute you too.
I didn’t expect a Christmas miracle this year with Tiddles. What I wanted was what I’ve always wanted and that was a father/son relationship with one of the most precious things I have in my life. I get flashes of the life we could’ve had and it gives me hope that maybe more of these moments are just around the corner. Which corner that may be, I don’t know, but I am forever hoping that it will be the next one. Or the one after that. Or maybe, just maybe, the one after that. But it will be one of these corners, one of these days. The point is to keep moving forward and looking for a bridge across to my beautiful little boys land. I know it’s there somewhere…
I started writing this before midnight on New Years Eve, and now it’s New Years Day.
Happy New Year to all you lovely people.
And as Tiny Tiddles was heard to observe;