I found this picture while I was up at my mum's recently. I love it because I love all things depicting early '80s fashion. Also, I love how it shows that Samuel's grumpy face is just like my grumpy face. We're both rather well-practiced in that regard. But what I love most about this photo is how happy my dad looks. Happy with his family and resplendent in his beardy, shiny-shirted glory.
I've been thinking a lot about my dad the past couple of days. There's nothing unusual about that, because I think about him all the time. But yesterday would have been his birthday – his 64th birthday – so I just thought of him a little bit more than usual.
It's weird. Everyone bangs on about time being a healer and all. About how the only way to deal with grief is by putting the hours in. I'm sure that's probably how things will pan out in the long run, but right now I'm just not feeling it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not upset or anything like that, it's just that I honestly think I miss my dad more now that I did back then when he died. I mean, I became pregnant pretty soon after we lost him, so I focused on that. Something wonderful to look forward to. Lots to plan. It was brilliant. And then Samuel arrived so I focused on that. I had a newborn. It was hideous, but I didn't have much time to chuck in the direction of grief.
But now? Well it's the toddler factor, you see. The grief grows in direct correlation with Samuel. I have this delight of a little boy who I see getting more fun, more interesting and more interested every day, right there in front of my eyes. And each time he learns to do something new – to kick a ball, roll a toy car along, build a, well, a thing with Mega Blocs or climb up on the foot stool and bounce around like a podium dancer in Manumission – I can't help but think about how much Dad is missing out on. How much he would have loved this little grandson. And then when I think about how amazing my dad was, I can't help but think how much Samuel is missing out on too.
It's not fair, right? No, it's not. But it's never worth letting your thoughts head in that direction, because down that road madness lies.
So, Dad isn't around anymore, but that doesn't mean that he's forgotten. We talk about him all the time and will do so forever. And I'm just trying to make sure I pass on all the cool stuff he would have taught Samuel myself. Stuff like how the only acceptable accompaniment for a good steak is fried chestnut mushrooms. Or that there is no finer way to spend an evening than debating which season of The Wire is the best (Dad said 2, I maintain it is 4). How to roller skate (this may be a struggle for me). Algebra (this will definitely be a stretch). And how the best way to show someone you really love them is by stirring love bubbles into their tea. When Samuel is old enough to drink tea each mug will be so full of bubbles, they will tickle his nose.
Happy Birthday, Grandad Pat.