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Living with Luke 78

These blogs were always just an expression of what was happening or what had happened, in the changing relationship between Tiddles and myself. A way of expressing the hurt and heartache that had been building and building for many years, but which had never before had any outlet until I started writing these. 

I’ve charted the highs and lows, the funny and the sad, and the thoughts, fears and feelings of a father who, for want of a better word, is lost. I’m losing the struggle to stay relevant in Luke’s life. The things we used to do, for example, swimming, we don’t do anymore. He doesn’t like swimming with me. I don’t read to him anymore – he doesn’t like reading or hearing me read. We don’t even go out together unless it’s something that he absolutely wants, like a train, or a DVD. All the dad things I used to do for and with him, I no longer do. That could be because of his age, but I don’t think so. I’m not in his life as his dad. I don’t actually know what I am in his life for at present. 

So with that in mind, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you don’t like me being near you.

I’m sorry that you don’t like my presence.

I’m sorry for my voice, annoying you.

And I’m sorry that the very sight of me angers you.

I’m sorry for caring, for trying to please you, but I’m also sorry for suffocating you with my desperate love.

I’m sorry for my taste in music, in clothes, in foods and drinks, because it all seems to bug you.

I’m sorry for being me, or not being able to be me around you, because how I am is not what you can always see.

But I’m sorry that you sometimes see the weaker me, the one that sometimes just cannot deal with it all. Like today.

I’m sorry I’m a perfectionist, because its stopped me from starting so many things that could’ve made a difference to us.

I’m sorry I’m not always happy, smiling, positive, upbeat, brave. Sometimes, I can’t help but be sad, low, fed up and just disappointingly angry about seemingly stupid things. I try not to let you see it, but I’m not always successful. 

I’m sorry I speak. I’m sorry I breathe. I’m sorry I’m here. If i could make it all right with these apologies, i’d never stop until it was so. 

But I can’t, and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you and I aren’t as close anymore. It hurts and I keep hoping it’ll mend, but sometimes it is like trying to knit fog.

I’m running out of things to try. Some things that are broken will never be repaired and this could be one of those things. But I don’t know when I’m beaten, until it’s too late.

I’m sorry for wanting to be right beside you, every step of the way.

But most of all, I’m sorry for never wanting to give up.

Living with Luke 77

There once was a man who had a dog. The dog didn’t have a name, it was just ‘the dog’, but it followed its master everywhere he went.  Which was weird, because The Man didn’t even like dogs.

The dog was a strange dog. Black in colour, the colour of coal. Sometimes it would keep its distance and look really tiny and other times it couldn’t keep away and was seemingly massive to its master. But always, the dog was there. Keeping track of where his master was, what he was doing and whether he should be near or far. The dog just seems to know.

The man had another animal that he loved. This creature was a gorilla. The Man would follow this gorilla wherever he went because he loved his gorilla. Which was weird, because the gorilla couldn’t stand The Man.

The gorilla was happy on his own living in his jungle of sounds and vision. He didn’t need or want The Man spoiling it all by trying to live in his world with him. The gorilla just wanted to be left alone, to sing, to play, to eat, to do exactly what he wanted, when he wanted. And that didn’t include The Man.

Meanwhile, the dog continued to hover around his master. He felt a sense of loyalty towards his master and felt that he was needed on a daily basis. Not wanted, just needed. Which was weird, because the dog actually despised his master.

The dog thrived on his master’s sadness. He loved when his master was at his lowest, because then he knew he was being ‘a good boy’, swamping his owner with all the loss and unhappiness that he could rain down on him and be the big dog that commanded respect from his pathetic owner. The dog knew that his master could no sooner get rid of him than he could stop breathing, and so the dog was happy, because his master wasn’t.

The gorilla meanwhile, was blinkered. If he couldn’t see his owner then he was happy. Because of the way his brain worked, out of sight really was out of mind and he was only reminded that he even had The Man in his life, when The Man was right in front of him, saying his stupid things, like ‘hello’. And breathing.

This of course made The Man sad, which of course made the dog, happy. And the dog grew bigger and bigger until the dog towered over The Man. And the more things that made The Man sad, the more The Man pondered and wondered and hesitated and feared, the bigger the dog became.

“I am strong but I am tired.” Said the man. The dog said nothing. He was a dog. But the dog knew that he was wearing The Man down, because The Man now had to carry the dog or risk being bitten badly. In truth, he had always carried the dog.

Whilst this was happening, the gorilla was also growing, physically and in power. With no ‘what if’ switch, he was unable to dial down the strength and power he could recall at will. There was no such thing as guilt in his mind. The concept did not exist and so without guilt, without being made to feel ‘guilty’, he did not consider the consequences of his actions. He just acted.

“You do not wrestle the gorilla until you are tired. You wrestle the gorilla until the gorilla is tired.”

The dog knew this. The Man knew this. The gorilla knew this, but didn’t care. 

The Man was drowning. He was having to work twice as hard just to stand still. The dog, loved it.

But then, one day, The Man stopped. For too many years, he had acted out of fear of being bitten by the dog. Then he remembered 3 words that a famous film star had said once in an old western.

“Well…we might…”

What he was referring to, it didn’t matter but The Man could take those 3 words and make them fit…

What if they hate it?

Well…they might…

What if they laugh at me?

Well…they might…

What if they tell me I’m wasting my time?

Well…they might…

What if…what if…what happens if…what about if…what if…?

Well…THEY MIGHT…

But if you never try or do or see or attempt it, You Will Never Know…

And the dog whimpered. For he knew that he would have to start walking soon. He growled. He snarled and he bared his teeth. He threatened, he cajoled, he begged. But he could sense that he was getting smaller and smaller.

The gorilla was blissfully unaware of all of this. His monkey brain could not see any dog on The Man’s back and could not see that maybe, The Man was beginning to stand a little straighter. He didn’t see that The Man was, maybe, smiling a little more often and a little more broadly. To The gorilla, The Man was not important enough to warrant any such attention.  If he did, then maybe he would’ve seen these things. But he didn’t. So he didn’t.

And The Man smiled. He could feel himself getting stronger and more able to ‘do’ more things. Try more things. And the dog jumped down from The Man’s back, and ran away.

The Man loved his pet gorilla, and would continue to wrestle him until the gorilla was tired and not a moment before. That was his promise, whether the gorilla heard it or not.

And though the dog had run off, he didn’t stray far. The Man was now blinkered and could not see the dog, because the animal was so very small now. 

But, the dog knew that if he could just poke his head into The Man’s line of vision, The Man would see him again, and would be powerless once more. The pet would become the master again.

And the dog could grow once more…

Well…

He might…

Living with Luke 76

These have been kicking around for over a year now. I wrote these in a fit of thinking they could become songs. But although they never happened, I still love the words. They’ll probably never become songs now, so they’re just…lyrics? Poetry? But they do still convey what this blog is all about.  So in a break from the norm, here are 2 of them…


WOULD YOU?

If I went away from you,

Would you kiss me?

If I said goodbye to you,

Would you miss me?

If I failed you, would you forgive me?

Would you?


If I angered you,

Would you hit me?

If I left you alone,

Would you forget me?

If I needed you, would you accept me?

Would you?


Would you be my little boy?

Would you draw me in,

And let me be your dad?

Let your walls come down,

So I can bring my heart to you?

All I ask, it’s not that much, is

Would you?


If I came close to you,

Would you push me away?

If I ran after you,

Would you allow me to play?

When I speak to you gently,

Do you ever really hear me whisper,

That I love you?


If I wanted your attention,

Would you spare me the time?

If I gave my life for you,

Would you ever give yours for mine?

You’re my son, you’re my boy,

And we share the same name,

So, would you?



Let


Let me visit you in your world,

Or maybe you could visit mine?

I want to see you in your world 

Or could I see you in mine?


Let me play with you in your time

Let me live through your eyes

Let me see what you can see

Let me have this little prize


Cos I would do anything 

To see the way you do

If I could just feel for a moment

Any love for me from you


And you will do anything 

To keep me out of your heart

To keep as far away as possible 

And keep us both apart


So can I visit you in your world 

Or can you visit me in mine?

I could see you there in your world

Or maybe see you here…


In mine?

Living with Luke 75

She makes to leave the house, getting everything she needs to go straight out. Making sure she double checks so she doesn’t have to come back, because coming back would only make the situation worse.
(Stay calm.)

She kisses me goodbye, before going upstairs to kiss The Eldest Child and then…saying bye to Tiddles.

(Stay calm.)

I know what’s coming.

“Mummy see you later.”

“NO see you later! You stay here!”

“Mummy’s going to work, I’ll be back later.”

“Mummy be back NOW!”

“Daddy’s here, daddy will make you soup.”

(Stay…calm…)

“No Daddy. Daddy’s not well…You stay There!”

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Daddy’s not very well…”

(I’m fine. Stay calm.)

“Mummy will be back soon.”

“Mummy be back NOW! No rehearsal. You stay There.”

“Mummy has to go to work. I’ll see you later.”

“NO SEE YOU LATER!!”

And she goes. Tiddles chases her down the stairs, blocking the door to stop her leaving.

(Stay. Calm.)

The door closes and Tiddles stands at the window, shouting, yelling after her.

“DON’T GO! NO SEE YOU LATER. COME BACK! COME BAAAAAACK!” And then the tears. And he shouts some more. And then he’s ok.

(Stay. Calm.)

And then the questions start.

“But where’s Mummy?”

“Ooh, it’s too late, it’s 6 o’clock, mummy will be back soon…”

“But where’s Deb?”

MUMMY is working and she will be back soon.

“MUMMY BE BACK NOW! NOW!!”

(Just stay calm.)

“We have to tidy up, before the mummy gets back…”

“Where’s my mummy?”

And then, out of nowhere a mini meltdown ensues. He sits and shout gibberish words and cries and cries and cries.

And I can do nothing. I can’t say anything or DO anything. I can’t cuddle him, or touch him because he will hit me, and does from time to time.

(Stay calm.)

I want to make him understand that I love him just as much as his mum does. But I can’t because he doesn’t understand, and nor will he ever get just how much I adore him.

So he shouts and he cries and he slaps the nearest thing to him, which sometimes is me. And if it’s not then he will search me out to whack me. 

And I try to stay calm.

“It’s alright Luke, mummy will be back soon.”

MUMMY BE BACK NOW!!”

“Luke, it’s ok…”

“No it’s not ok!”

“What do you want?”

“GO AWAY! YOU GO HOME!”

(Stay calm. Stay calm. Stay calm. Just stay calm.)

I don’t stay calm. My voice is even, but inside I am hurt, angry, annoyed, frustrated, upset. But not calm. And I speak, knowing full well I’m speaking to myself as 99% of the words, he doesn’t register or understand. But I say them anyway, because I have to.

“I am really, really sorry that you hate me so much. I am really so sorry that you don’t like me and I am really very sorry that your mum is not here for you right now. I am sorry for all of it, but I’m here and I want to help you. I know that you don’t understand what I’m saying, but i want to help you!”

“No help me…”

(…)

“Mummy will be home soon…”

“MUMMY BE HOME NOW!!!”

Yep she will be…Just hang tight my Prince…she’ll be here soon.

Living with Luke 74

If I could do anything, be it actor, knight or farmer

I would give it all away, so i could be your father.

Breaking points.

We all have them. Or rather we have several small breaking points for varying situations and for various stages of our lives, with the ultimate breaking point being to chuck it all in and disappear off to our own private Narnia, leaving everything else behind.

From being ignored in supermarkets to having somebody you’re talking to, turn and start a new conversation with somebody else whilst you’re still talking to them, to being treated like a non-person and taken for granted, to being spoken to like you’re a 5 year old. We’ve all have had times when we’ve thought…

“Why am I putting up with this disrespect? That really is enough…”

And it doesn’t always mean losing your temper and trashing a place either. Although i find that that can tend to be my default setting. Sometimes it’s just the quiet acceptance that things have gotten to the point where they can no longer be tolerated or repaired.

I made a joke about this the other day to the LWL cast about Tiddles suddenly and for no clear reason, going into our old dressing up box and pulling out a toy machine gun that Jake bought many years ago. Tiddles kept pointing it at me and ‘shooting’ me and me being the good dad, made a big show about being shot-head back, tongue out, the whole noisy death-to then sit up and carry on with what I was doing, only for Tiddles to keep doing it and for me to keep doing the whole dramatic death scene over and over until I suddenly thought…he keeps doing it because I keep getting up. He keeps shooting me and looking at the gun, because he wants me to stay dead, not play dead!

I want to be a dad to both my boys, but it does get a little difficult when it’s clear sometimes that one of them really doesn’t want you around.

So when do I say, ‘that really is enough now…’?

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll never know. Maybe I’ll just keep plugging away oblivious to the big fuck off sign that he’s holding up, both literally and figuratively.

I would, as it says in the line at the top, give it all up just to be his father if he’d let me. But what does giving it all up mean? Do i give up everything, or do I give up trying? Do I give up trying to be his dad, and just be ‘dad’ with whatever that title means now?

Breaking points. We’ve all got them, somewhere. Anybody who says that they don’t is probably being walked over as we speak. It just feels that I seem to be reaching several all at once in all walks of life.

I don’t know…

Do you?

Living with Luke 73

Sing, you beautiful boy. Sing as if your life depends upon it, just sing. You seem to know 95% of the words, making up the ones your active brain cant quite make out, but that’s more than enough. I’ll help you when I can, even though you don’t actually want me to. 

I’ll do it, because its a way in.

We’ve sung together before, and we’ll sing together again. I’ve sung to you and you’ve even appeared to listen – at least once or twice.

But you sing my boy. 

I love to hear it. Because to hear you sing gives me a strange peace. When I’m sitting here alone sometimes, and you’re in your room and you start singing…I stop and listen. It doesn’t matter what it is, theme song, a vocalisation of a film theme, nursery rhyme, Christmas song (in April), it really doesn’t matter. You’re just there, within touching distance, and I feel I can grab you and hold you, and never let you go. 

Because you’re right there in front of me…just there.

And you’re singing, my quiet Prince.

“Sing. And I’ll sing with you, my arms are open wide.”

My arms are, and will forever be open wide, waiting and hoping that one day I’ll be able to wrap them around you and have you return the hug. And all because I can hear you singing.

So you sing, my beautiful boy. Sing with a freedom that comes from your innocence. May you forever have that freedom to do exactly what you want to do.

And I’ll be right here, arms wide open, forever waiting for that day.

So sing, my Narnian Prince…

Sing.

Living with Luke 72

No matter what…

As anybody who follows these blogs may know, I love ‘Rocky’, the series of films starring Sylvester Stallone. Even ‘Rocky V’, which although is the weakest of the films – Stallone hates it – it does contain one of the most inspirational speeches that he has ever written. Search it out on YouTube. It’s the speech that Rocky’s trainer, Mickey gives to Rocky in a flashback, and its sad, motivational and beautiful all in the space of a few minutes. 

But ‘no matter what’, is a phrase that is used a few times in the films. And it means, unsurprisingly, whatever happens. It’s a phrase that sprang to mind the other day as I contemplated the advance of time, specifically on my body. 

Next month I’ll be 49. A whole year off from being 50. A third of the way through my life (if you’ve read the blogs or seen the play, you’ll know what that means). But I was wondering this as I sat thinking one morning after exercising. 

How long can I carry on being his Superman? How long can i carry on being his protector, the one who saves him from danger, the one who is always there for him?

“I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life…”

But when do I stop or do i ever stop? Or have I already reached the point when I look at him and say, ‘I am no longer your Superman’? 

See, in my mind, I’m still 25. I can still throw myself around, take punishment, get up and go again. My body however has different ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I can still throw myself around, take punishment, get up and go again, but injuries eventually begin to take their toll and age has a crafty way of reminding you that you ain’t as young as springtime no more. 

But there’s something that keeps me going. Something that doesn’t want me to stop, to give in. And no matter what, I’m going to keep going, keep pushing, training, staying strong, just so that I can keep being there for him, and for The Eldest Child, and anybody else that needs me. That’s my ‘motivisation’, it’s what I ‘mentalize’ when I look inward and wonder why I bother carry on doing what I’m doing.

So, just how long can i carry on being his Superman? For as long as he needs me, whether he knows it or not.

And will I always be his Superman? 

Yes…absolutely…cos im always gonna love you…

No matter what…