Living with Luke 42
My mum asked me a few months ago,
‘How long do you think you’ll be able to call Tiddles cute?’
I understood what she meant as he’s grown up a lot in the last year and is maybe half a foot shorter than I am. How long is it going to acceptable for him to hold my hand as we walk down the street? How long will people tolerate this jumping, shouting, loudly singing ‘man’?
To be honest, as long as it takes.
He’s 6 months from his 16th birthday and will from then on, no longer be considered a child. Not on public transport, not for lottery tickets, not even in social situations where once he would be thought of as a child. He will no longer be an teenager, but a young adult. But despite that, Tiddles is still and probably may always be, ‘childlike’. There’s no getting away from the fact that although his voice has dropped, and hair is growing in all the usual places, and he will eventually be able to stand over me, he will always be my ‘boy’. He’ll always see the world through his child’s eyes, where everything is black and white, fair or unfair, right or wrong. There will never be ‘grey’ areas for him, because it either is or it isn’t. There’s no in-between for him. I guess it’s the same with our relationship. There hasn’t been a time in the past week or so when he hasn’t shouted at me or just refused to acknowledge or even look at me when I have come home or spoken to him. I’ll smile at him, or go to cuddle him, or just kiss him – nothing. Or maybe the most grudging of returns.
And yet he is capable of great affection even when it may seem to the outsider that the affection is anything but. There are times when he wants to play, when he wants to grab me, throw me on the floor and be with me, even if that does involve some apparent violence. I learned a long time ago that this is our way, our bond. But there have also been times just lately when he has been happy to sit with me, to actually cuddle me and I wonder sometimes if this could be a tiny breakthrough, whatever that may be?
Or maybe he just senses that something has happened again and this is the only way he knows he can help.
We were burgled last week and lost a few items, one of which was Tiddles’ iPad. TCMH tried to explain to him that somebody had taken his iPad but it’s difficult. He dutifully repeated back everything his mother said to him and then proceeded to go and search for the missing item, getting slightly upset when he couldn’t find it. But that upset was very short lived and he hasn’t asked for it again. So, maybe it wasn’t so important after all and his ‘letting go’ of it shows a deeper understanding of what’s happened than we realise. I certainly hope so.
But it’s coincidence with the increase in attention and affection? It may be just that, a coincidence, but I’m not complaining. I’ll accept the shouting, the ignoring and everything else that he does that makes me feel unloved by him for all the cuddles and attention he gives me that make me feel like his dad, even if only for a short time.
I posted a speech from ‘Rocky Balboa’ after we were ‘bugled’ when Rocky is talking to his son (‘It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…’) and there was a little bit on the end which I didn’t use because I wanted to use it now and change slightly for Tiddles in Narnia.
‘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….
Don’t forget to visit your father.’
I’ve got you Tiddles. I’ve got you.