Father’s Day thoughts from Andrew Woodhouse.. long suffering husband of Rosie, our far north TMK correspondent.It’s Sunday. The day of rest for the lazily agnostic. I have got up early and put the TV on for the children who have decided that as it’s the weekend they shall get out of bed at 6am instead of being dragged out at 8. I have also sneaked back to bed. I manage another hour or so of dozing before I am discovered during a particularly long advert break which has disrupted the childrens’ concentration.
The childrens’ initial choice of parent to rouse is their mother but she sends them round the bed to me and I am pestered awake. I go through to the living room where I am ignored as the ad break is over. I make their breakfast. They tell me I have made the wrong breakfast and it too is ignored.
“Mummy makes a better breakfast”
Rosie rises soon after and regales the children with a list of great things we could do today as the sun is out and the sky is clear.
“We could put up the tent!”
We could get the hammock out!”
We could put the big gazebo/marquee/tent thing up!”
Daddy, daddy! Mummy has had a great idea. Do it for us!”
I look out at the garden. If “we” are going to do all that then I had better cut the grass first.
I cut the grass, go up into the loft and get the tent, the big gazebo/marquee/tent thing down and take them into the garden. The children use the opportunity of another advert break to cheer me on.
I unpack the tent and start to set it up. I drag the incredibly heavy gazebo/marquee/tent thing out of its bag and put it up too (I’m trying not to say erect it. That has got me in trouble before; at an occupational therapy fundraising dinner when a raffle prize was a shed with free erection. I pointed out that I lived in a top floor flat and as a shed wasn’t much use could I just have the erection please?) After an hour or two I have filled the garden with Rosie’s ideas. There is still just enough room for the hammock frame to fit. The children have a 5 minute flurry around the tent etc then they head back indoors to their lego and dolls and I head out for a dog walk. Does anybody want to come with me?
“No thanks. We want to stay with Mum”
The dogs zoom on ahead and I spend an hour pretty much by myself. This is our regular walk and we are well practised in it’s execution. The dogs and I meet up again at the conclusion of the walk at our front door.
I notice that the garden is looking like the camp site at a festival…the day after the festival finishes. The children have filled the tent and gazebo/marquee/tent thing with the contents of their bedrooms then abandoned them. Bits of paper and sweetie wrappers blow across the lawn.
It’s now lunchtime and I remember that I haven’t had breakfast yet. I go find Rosie, who is in deep edit mode at the computer and ask if she had any plans for lunch, she says “no just bring me some of whatever everybody else is having as I can’t leave my desk until this wedding edit is done.”
That’ll be chips then.
I spend 10 minutes making lunch and 20 minutes persuading the children to sit at the table to eat it.
“But Mum doesn’t have to!”
Eventually they sit at the table.
“My chips are cold!”
“Why didn’t you tell us lunch was ready? Mum always comes and tells us”
The children spend the afternoon running an interference pattern of ignoring me, going to friends, needing me, disappearing and doing something naughty, reckless or loud. This means I get no time to do what I want to do, whatever that is. Then when I am finally left alone I notice that it’s time for dinner. I make their favourite – mince and potatoes. Well, it would be their favourite if they were actually here. I wander around the huge croft behind our house until I eventually find them, drag them back and plonk them down in front of their dinner to be told.
“I don’t like potatoes”
“I don’t like mince. I’m a vegetarian”
“Mum makes better dinner”
After some persuasion, cajoling, threatening and bribing dinner is eaten.
I collapse on the couch weary of my day of rest. Our children jump onto the couch and slouch happily on me watching TV. I feel wonderfully happy. If Fathers Day was like this (with maybe a little hammock time too) I would be happy.
I notice that clouds are gathering outside.
“Does anybody want to help me tidy the garden?”
Suddenly they all had somewhere else to be..