Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly, Good Golly Miss Molly and Boats...
Not unlike Ian Dury, I find much that makes me smile. But nothing matches the pleasure I get from My kids. That's not to say that they don't cause me a fair bit of anguish also but that's the lot of parents, including the away one.
They are in descending order of age, The Geek (one of his own descriptions), Miss Feisty (I think she'd be pleased with that) and The Dude. Each of these 'pet names' does something to describe each of them but fails wildly to encompass them fully.
They have each, in their own way, inherited many of my traits and enthusiasms, along with those of their Mother. They are all, also, uniquely their own people, in the way that children are.
I'll endeavour to chronicle my relationship with them in a way that's thruthful and fair to them.
A while back, in a fit of that enthusiasm that parents are often gripped by, I attempted to teach 'The Dude' (He is 12, wants to be 12 and would probably like to stay 12) how to cook his own breakfast. I called him into the kitchen to explain to him. He gave me that 'why are you bothering when you know you will lose heart with this exercise once you realise I will never wash up after myself, never clear my plate away and always burn the bacon' look but humoured me anyway.
'OK' I said, smiling maniacally, 'first we need to get the pans and ingredients together', reasoning that if everything was at least out it would lesson the stress of the whole thing.
'Where do we keep the bacon?' I asked.
He looked dreamily into space with what I assume was a look of concentration, but could have been him in a reverie about the status of his team in FIFA2009.
'In the cupboard'?
I tried desperately not to raise my eyes in exasperation.
'Lets try the fridge' I reasoned through a grimace.
He went to the fridge and performed what I call, 'Boy looking'. That is, with the Bacon at eye level in front of him, he stared through it and everything else before closing the fridge door without locating the bacon.
This was repeated several times with all ingredients and utensils.
It is an immutable fact of life, that if you ask 'The Dude' to do anything, he will suddenly discover the need to visit the bathroom or 'just finish what I'm doing' or any other diversionary tactic he can employ. He is a master at it. He once took 20 minutes to remove an exercise book from the school bag situated at his feet when asked to complete a piece of homework that eventually took 5 minutes to do.
Suffice to say he hasn't cooked breakfast in over a year since this truely foolhardy attempt of mine.
He is to my mind, the sunniest, easy going and charming child I know. He sees the good in everything and everyone and gives and recieves love with equal ease.
I don't live with my kids. I miss them on a daily basis. The hardest thing to get used to when I left the family home was their absense first thing in the morning. On school days as in most family homes, the day starts in a flurry of rush and grumpiness as everyone lifts themselves to another day of school or work. Often, there would be little said and what was said was through gritted teeth of all trying to drag themselves to places they would rather not be.
I have to say, I never realised how much I would miss that.