6 September 2008


Sometimes a week passes and you hardly notice it and on other occasions a week is marked by a couple of things which make you sit back and reflect. Last week was like this.

It started with Ashley, one of my BT pals coming round to the house last Saturday with his 4 year old twins, Lydia and Edward. It was a beautiful day and they had been promised a swim. Their local pool was closed and I’d always offered ours to Ashley if he needed it and so they’d popped round for a couple of hours.  What cute kids….. and quite different characters for twins, well to me at least. Lydia quite independent and confident and Edward a bit more reliant on his dad but both as cute as buttons. They splashed around in the pool and then came up to the terrace for some milk and biscuits and all the time I just sat there and watched a father who obviously adores his children. I quite often invite Ashley up to the house to watch sport on the big screen but he frequently declines the invite because he’s taking his kids up to the mountains, down to the sea, out to a theme park or off swimming. That's fatherhood.

That point I made about Ashley ‘obviously adoring his children’ might confuse some people. All parents adore their children don’t they but they adore them in different ways. I was, and still am a rather reserved parent but my love for my kids, both sets of them, knows no bounds. I just don’t show it the way other fathers do. There is no doubt when watching Ashley with his kids that they are adored and that they adore him. It was wonderful to watch. 

We also had another parent and child here this week, Gary and 3 year old Max who stayed with us for a few days. Gary’s partner was Julie’s au-pair down here in Tourettes for a couple of years and they always kept in touch when she returned to the UK. Sadly Jenny died last year at the very young age of 32 and despite the fact that Julie would have walked to the UK to attend Jenny’s funeral, she couldn’t – it was our wedding day, which made it quite an emotional day all round for Julie and myself.

So little Max lost his mother when he had just turned 3 and Gary has manfully struggled and succeeded to keep his career going whilst attempting the very difficult task of bringing up such a young child on his own. He has the support of his and Jenny’s parents and other friends but it must be a monumental job trying to be both a mother and a father to an inquisitive, very active and loving 3 year old. Watching Gary, as I did with Ashley, I could see a bond between father and child, a bond which was obvious to everyone watching and a bond which some day, despite their obvious age difference, maybe will be closer to that of brothers rather than father and son.

So in the space of a few days, I have witnessed two amazing fathers and it has made me reflect on the sort of father I am. Will I change ? Can I change ? Probably not, but my kids are in no doubt that I love them. If they ever are then that’s when I’ll have failed.   


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