Living with Luke 47
If I’d had my way, that would’ve been Tiddles full name – Luke Skywalker Hannam. Unfortunately, I was outvoted by TCMH. Well, I say outvoted, she threatened physical violence and I voted against that, so we ended up giving The Eldest Child the responsibility of giving his brother his middle name – James. Still think Skywalker would’ve been cooler, though.
But it reminds me of a scene towards the end of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (my favourite Star Wars film), when an ill prepared Luke Skywalker goes up against Darth Vader. Injured, bruised and battered, Luke attempts to battle Vader, who instead uses the force to move objects to attack Luke. As Luke tries to deflect one object, another hits him from behind, and as the exhausted Luke slowly reacts, another hits him from another angle.
A bit like being a dad to Tiddles.
We went out yesterday, as a family to a famous Swedish home furnishing store. Now reading that back, it would’ve been a lot quicker if I’d just typed IKEA, but they don’t advertise my stuff, so…anyway, whilst we were there, Tiddles must’ve punched, slapped and poked me in the stomach almost a dozen times. Each time I just managed to tense my muscles, but always just a millisecond too late. Just like Skywalker.
It really does beggar belief sometimes as to how he is with me. Last week, me, Tiddles and The Eldest Child went away to Warwickshire to a Horse Boy Therapy camp. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it because I don’t like horses and I didn’t know how Tiddles would be with me. It was actually quite lovely. He didn’t shout at me, or tell me to go away once over the three days. He was cuddly and dare I say it, affectionate. It really was like having him on an extended trip from Narnia and it was wonderful. I would say,
‘Good morning, Luke.’ And he would reply,
Sometimes, just sometimes, he’s here.
It was business as usual when we returned home, however. Within a hour in actual fact. And by the next day, he was back to shouting and pushing me away. The visit was over and he’d returned to Narnia, where I was an unwelcome intruder and had to be treated as such. I don’t think I’m a bad dad to him, but there is just something about me that he doesn’t like and I can’t find out what it is.
Things got worse when he discovered that it wasn’t going to be ‘Mummy, Daddy, Jake and Luke’ going on holiday this week as he thought and that it was just going to be ‘Daddy and Luke’. He shouted and screamed and didn’t like that particular revelation and even this morning I could hear him shouting ‘NO!’ as TCMH was upstairs packing for him.
We shall see.
We’re here now and he’s already shouted at me a couple of times. It could be a long week…
But then again, he could surprise me. I don’t know, I really don’t and sometimes it kills me to think that he just doesn’t like me. Maybe it was having The Eldest Child with us last week that acted as a kind of foil for him that he was able to deal with me being there. It saddens me to think that we may have a crap holiday merely because of my presence, but then I could be overthinking things again.
We shall indeed see.
In the past few months, I have been called by various friends and relatives, ‘brave’, ‘courageous’ and ‘amazing’. I am none of these. Bravery is something that happens when a person has run out of options and has to face things head on. I have options, choices. Even now, I still have the choice to turn away. That’s not bravery. I don’t feel courageous. If anything I feel a fraud, a paper parent to a beautiful boy who doesn’t accept me as a real dad to him. I’m here through a combination of luck and choices, as anybody is. But I choose to stay with him, as if there was a chance he may change his thinking about me. If he doesn’t, then so be it. I’d rather be a paper parent to Luke Skywalker Hannam than not be a parent at all.
And the next time he tells me to go away, then I’m going to reply, in my best Vader voice,
No Luke. I AM your Father!