Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Happier Birthday

So, it was Vincent and Stacey’s birthday on Friday.  Stacey is still in Atlanta so could only view proceedings virtually but I was determined to put on the best distractions around for Vince.  He was at school on the actual day which was a relief for me as I was able to run around and get all the last minute decorations, cakes and other sundries which of course, I had left to the last minute. 

We had a birthday tea at my mums for him with his cousins Claudia and Lucas and he enjoyed his latest, greatest present – a Wii. Frankly, he would have been just as a delighted if I had downloaded two or three new car racing apps for him on his iPad but then I’d be featured in the Daily Mail as a deadbeat modern dad (married to a foreigner no less), who symbolises everything that’s wrong with our post-modern, techno-obsessed culture – oh and did you know the Daily Mail website is the most popular in the world? Etc.
Saturday saw our traditional Saturday morning swimming session. Here is one area where I can see real improvements in him, he is so confident in the water now and can backstroke and doggy paddle really well.  

He always enjoyed swimming in the community pool at our old subdivision in the States so he is something of a water baby.  Mind you it helps that modern swimming pools are a far cry from the draughty, cold, bare brick Stockton Baths I got my 10m and 25m certificates in.  I never graduated as high as the superior class that got to wear pyjamas and dive to the bottom to retrieve bricks but maybe it’s something Vince can aspire to.

Saturday afternoon came and the big party itself, held at a local funhouse attached to a pub round the corner – so there truly is something for everyone.  After an initial mix-up over the number of seats, the kids had a rocking time, all having to be dragged forcibly from the playhouse to eat their dinners and get their party packs and cakes afterwards.  The number of presents and cards filled the boot of my Mercedes C class, to give you an idea of how many he got, and I seriously considered hiding half of them when we got home to take care of the Xmas shopping but that would be cruel.  

He got 26 cards in all, which is more than I ever got but he’s a cute, charismatic and charming individual, ideally suited to a career in the media or as a cult leader – whichever pays more.

Sunday saw another birthday party on the social circuit for one of his friends and in a charming, generous gesture, gave Vince a present and card for missing his birthday the previous day.  Typical, the only kid I know who can go to somebody else’s birthday party and come away with a massive present and a card (as well as cake and a party bag)!
So he’s six and already wants to know when his next birthday is.  

The most touching part of the weekend was being able to listen in to him skyping with his mum and telling her everything he got up to over the weekend and how much he missed her can couldn’t wait to show her his wii and other new presents. It’s funny how you can be stronger for others than you can for yourself. You just are.


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Fall Down

It's the first of October and while it's officially been Autumn for a month this past few days have actually felt like it for the first time.

The leaves are becoming red, yellow, brown and brittle. When the sun catches them as it did on my regular weekend run along the Tees to the Barrage and back, they and it are beautiful. Providing a welcome respite from introspective ennui.  I realise I'm not that much fun to be around of late, having something of a one track topic of conversation, and if you think it's tiresome to read, try living it.

If I was always miserable and melancholic that would be one thing but I used to be a happy go lucky individual and while I enjoy the odd moment of levity today, that's pretty much all it is.
Like another famous procrastinator, 'I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth'.

Not that I'm stamping around the house like a hungover Gruffalo you understand. Vince and I have a lot of adventures and fun on a weekend and after school, playing with his friends, going swimming and to the park.  His natural good nature and energy have been a real tonic when my own sunshine levels have dipped into the doldrums.

I imagine this is similar to what people who have partners in jail go through.  Contact limited to the whims of Governors/Skype; no guarantee of visits, future release and reunion a distant, out of focus mirage, missed birthdays, events and unseen memories dropping by like those self same leaves and an inevitable weakening of the essential bonds that hold you all together in the first place.

It's Vince and Stacey's birthday next week. I feel like a louse and a bad, inattentive husband for missing hers so I can't begin to approximate how she feels to be missing her son's.

All the while the nights draw in, the leaves keep falling, the breeze begins to rise and while the only sound in my front room is the ticking of the New York Skyline clock I bought the other week, time itself seems to be immobile.

As frozen as the literally powerless flat-screen tv on the wall that waited until it was firmly in a position of responsibility before giving up the ghost. A replacement is on the way and everything will be back as it was soon.  Jam tomorrow again but everytime I wake up I find its today instead.