September 05, 2005
When he calls me Dad
I don't know, as a son, that I ever appreciated how much it meant. I'm not sure that I ever understood how important my handwriting was on the card that I made in school. I don't know that sticking bits of macaroni to cardboard was ever given the appreciation it deserved.
I know that, for me, opening the card that you had written on with your own fair hand, knowing that I was the only person who could decipher its arcane text, seeing you try to eat the ribbon in which my present (a loverly 14cm vegetable knife from Global)
was wrapped, these were all moments of extreme emotional intensity for me. I think that, the night before, my feelings of anticipation were akin in my memory to how I'd felt the night before Christmas as a child. That feeling of... approaching transformation was intense. The idea in my head that somehow I was only going to be a 'proper' father after I'd been through a Father's Day was hard to shake.
Being told that yesterday was my day, knowing that I had done a good job in playing my part to bring such a beautiful well mannered baby into the world, having someone say "keep the recipe", having complete strangers walk up to me and feel compelled to talk to you. All these things add to the amount of pride I have in you. Knowing that I'm at least partly responsible for bringing you into the world makes me think about how I relate to my own dad.
Now having some concept of how he feels about me and my brothers and sisters, his actions become more understandable. Seeing him stare off into space when we're all gathered around a table, eating, drinking and all talking ten to the dozen, I know what he's thinking. Look, he's saying to himself, look at the beautiful, strong, intelligent, passionate children I made. And they love me.
Looking at you sitting at that same table, cradled in someone's arms, I know that you'll sit up here one day too. You'll join an argument or throw cheese at someone. You'll tell Uncle David that he's being reactionary, or laugh when someone does a Monty Python impression. You'll have a (small, watered) glass of wine with us, and marvel at the culinary expertise of Fabulous Aunt Jann. My feelings about how soon this day is coming are mixed. I love the fact that you're growing up, that when I come in to see you in the morning there's no telling which direction you'll be facing in, that you stand up in my arms and laugh at me when I make silly voices.
This, however, will pass. I'm not looking forward, punkin, to the lengthy period of time in which you decide I'm an idiot, but that's at least 15 years away, so I'll have time to prepare.
So, for me and for my dad and my stepdad and my grandad and my father in law and all the dads in the world, I tell you this, kid.
We love you.