What a wonderful morning. Once the sun finally burned its way through the fog (I wondered what those strange noises were all night – how could I have forgotten the sweet sound of foghorns out at sea?) it’s a beautiful day – the sort that almost makes you want to do a load of washing for the sheer pleasure of seeing it hanging on the line. I say almost, you’ll notice. Although actually the machine is busy whirring away against my inclinations otherwise.
What made it more wonderful is that Tiddles is finally well enough to return to school. Well, not today, obviously.. it being Saturday and all. But yesterday he managed a full day (was utterly exhausted when he got home) and today has returned rejoicing to music centre. Smudgelet’s back swimming, too, after missing a fortnight with his conjunctivitis, and all’s right with the world.
I was inspired this morning to start tackling the bedroom but didn’t get very far. Under normal circumstances I’d have been really frustrated, but I must admit I am glad I went over to Dad’s for a coffee instead, much as I grimaced when the call came and took me away from the task which, for once, I was really looking forward to getting my teeth into. But I went graciously for my coffee and, once he’d finished telling me the content of a radio programme we’d listened to together and he’d forgotten I’d heard too, I suddenly asked a question on impulse that I’ve never thought of asking before. I asked Dad if his grandparents were alive when he was a child.
It was wonderful, sitting there in the sunlight listening to Dad revisiting the sunny side of his childhood. He had a very disturbed childhood which we don’t often discuss because he finds it difficult to talk about, but suddenly I’d tapped into a feast of good and interesting memories. I heard about Dad sitting under the table having a tantrum and his grandma poking him with her walking stick. I heard about Aunt Liz’s little shop up the road and how it was my Great Aunt Bee who had been there when my siblings and I were born in the local maternity hospital (apart from my sister who decided to put in an early appearance under the bathroom sink!). I heard about trips with his Uncle Bill who was deaf as a post and had a colonial moustache. He had a soft spot for my dad out of all the six children and took him on trips to Bristol Zoo. I heard about Doris who was a bit odd, and about Roy who was involved in something unsavoury and locked away somewhere. And I heard the one good memory my Dad had of his Dad, which somehow makes my Grandad a bit more real. Mind you, at this point Dad decided to change the subject – although he went on to memories we actually shared, he and I, which itself was wonderful. It was hard to tear myself away. It makes me wonder, though, about how memories and relationships are tied up in our minds and how this plays itself out in the minds of children who are adopted. My boys love stories about my mum, whom they never met, and happily call her “Grandma” (Although it’s funny because she was always “Gran” to the other grandchildren). She’d have loved them as her own – I wonder if she sees them now – but it’s funny to ponder the relationship in the other direction.
The other good thing is that our chat this morning has broken the ice once again between my Dad and me. He was in a foul mood last night because I dropped him off at the hospital to spend an hour and a half with his friend, only to discover that she’s been moved to a nursing home on the other side of the Island. When I picked him up again, he was understandably tired after hanging around all that time, even though he’d quite enjoyed sitting in the hospital grounds in the sunshine, and thus was really quite put out that I insisted in picking both the boys up from school on the way home. I really am the most inconsiderate of daughters 😉