I’ve taken some knocks in my life. That’s clear. But this year I heard 2 lines that I never thought I’d hear in my life. And both played a part in my fall.
The first was from my son. He de-invited me to his wedding. Wow! I never expected that one. “What did you just Say? But I should have. He is one of twins with his sister. I was 17 when I met their mother at a work event in Bristol. She was 30 and before I knew it she’d left her husband and turned up on my doorstep in Acton. I won’t pretend I wasn’t flattered by the attention of a ‘real woman’. Now I see I was I replacing my Mum and she was escaping an even weirder set up married to her cousin and moving to the Capital.
My father was having none of it. “Send her home! She’s not staying here”. We rented two rooms in Brixton just after the time of the Riots in 82 and 83. We lived above a nice Indian Family that charged us £45 a week. And got free curry! We both worked at the same place in the West End, me getting her a job. Within a year she was pregnant after never having been able to conceive with her husband! Weird.
When we went for the scan and would you believe it? Twins?! I nearly fainted. I wasn’t even 20 years old myself.
A week after the end of my teens they were born. It was a shock. Looking back I can see I was nowhere near ready for such events. I doubt many would be at that age.
We kept on going until they were 8, by which point the age gap between Iand their mother was getting more out of kilter, if it was ever in. Their mother decided there was no balance or future in London and so returned to her town of birth, Bath, a 120 miles away taking the twins with her. After a while I went to live in Australia. They moved and I moved and contact was lost for a year or two. This way was before email and then Net so all we had were landlines and letters. I came back to the UK when they were 10 and found then via the electoral role. We had a few days together and I went home, us all agreeing to make sure that never happened again.
7 months later I got a letter from a solicitor in Bath telling me not to contact the children again. She had met another man. I was told it was in the best interest of the kids, and being 12000 miles away I reluctantly agreed. I made a promise that on their 18th birthday I would find them and let them make their own mind up If they wanted to see me. My daughter was in South Africa but my son was still in Bath and about to start Uni.
We’ve bonded well over the last 12 years or so and had many trips away together, the most noticeable being a trip to the World Cup Final in Berlin in 2006. I’ve never spoken to his mother in 27 years but I always appreciated the great job she did with them. I wish I hadn’t lost all those years but I was glad to have them back in my life. I remember him telling me on a holiday to Morocco that I’d have to see his mum one day at his wedding!
That day finally came this year and I was not there. He decided he could risk the chance of there being any kind of atmosphere on his special day. I tried to re-assure him but his mind was made up. I think was just about the time NG left me in the Spring too. It has been a tough old year. I have been kicked more times this year than most.
As you can imagine I took that pretty badly, and I let him know how upset I was. I thought we had spent the last 12 years putting things right. I was devastated.
It has taken until this week for me to see that whatever his decision was I should have backed him 100%. I know he’ll never marry again so there won’t be another chance. It was a big blow. It effected me mentally for a long time.
But rightly or wrongly I wasn’t there for all his big days. And so he had every right to make that choice. I was thinking by about my pain and not his predicament.
But he’ll soon be a Dad of his own, making me in turn a Granddad! I hope that will be my chance to finally be of use, and to be there for all of those days I missed out with my children. It’s for that reason that I’ll be looking to leave the Shire and move closer to where the only family I have live. I can’t be there for anybody if I live 200 miles away from them.
I’ve missed out on so much. Lost a lot many times. I got upset and put up walls to protect myself from that pain.
I’m not going to do that any more. I’m going to be the best Granddad ever. Just like my Grandad was!