Father’s Day is done. We have been out for dinner. I’m knackered. I retreat to my bedroom and relax on the bed. It’s 7.30pm. I watch TV as the boys play loudly outside my room. I know I don’t have long before I am up and going through the bedtime routine.
The ‘go to bed’ request has, as usual, fallen on deaf ears. I live in hope that one day I will say it and they will comply. But for now I resort to the “if-I-don’t-see-you-I-can’t-hear-you” method of parenting. In other words out of sight out of mind.
I listen to them instructing each other on the rules of the game they have just invented and I listen to them giggle and laugh. A proper hearty laugh. A big uncontrollable one.
It’s a cracking sound.
They burst into our room to share their joy.
“Dad dad I can make Max laugh without touching him.”
They both lie on the bed facing each other. Zak stares at Max and starts to make a funny face. Max holds it together for a second his mouth twitching but he invariably bursts out laughing. A proper laugh. It’s very cute.
They’ve either just smoked a big joint and have the giggles or they are over tired. I sense the latter. Although I can’t be sure. So I just boot them out my room again.
I’m glad they have each other. I’m glad they are so close in age and I am glad they get on so well. It makes my life a lot easier. I hope it remains this way for life. I often wonder what they will do and where they end up – but that is a whole different blog.
I hear more laughs then coughing.
Zak starts to cough. And cough. And cough. He’s coughing to the point of gagging………..really? is it a spliff???
He comes back into the room complaining he feels sick and flops next to us on the bed.
His coughing immediately stops. I tell him “bed!” His cough starts up again
As the years roll on my compassion and patience for their excuses wains. I’ve heard them all and unless I see blood, and lots of it, they are rarely going to get any sympathy. Particularly at bedtime. He can keep coughing. But he can do it in his bed.
This is my eighth Father’s Day. I’ve told them repeatedly that all I ever want is something they make. So I have no one to blame but myself when I receive the annual inedible breakfast. A frighteningly similar comparison to George’s Marvellous Medicine. A cut up concoction of everything that remains in the fridge.
I open their presents which over the years have ranged from scribbles on paper, to hand paintings on canvas to collages made from coloured paper. I’ve had chocolate, clocks safes and coffee mugs.
But the thing I cherish most of all is the hand-made gifts. Their little notes and cards. I keep them all and stick them in file where one day we will go through them all and reminisce.
So when I reflect back on parenting. When I ponder the merits of fatherhood. When I think back on my day, my month, my year. What is the thing I look forward to most on Father’s Day? What does Fathers Day mean to me?
I could say the laughing, the cuddles, the jokes. The smiles, the tears and the surprises. The pick ups and drop offs, the bed time struggles. The meal times, restaurant scenarios and general weird eating habits. The shouting matches, the arguments, the make-ups. The questions, the explanations, the look of understanding.
But the one thing I really look forward to more than anything on Father’s Day.
My guilt-free sleep-in till 10.30am.
Roll on next year.