Rory idolises Richard. He spends the last few hours of every afternoon asking me when Daddy’s coming home, and the second he hears his key in the lock, he’s primed and ready to fling himself around his legs with a gleeful shout of “Love you Daddeeeeeeeeeeee!” Incidentally, the only time he’s ever told me that he loves me was when he was trying to convince me to give him some of my Chocolate Buttons. This is infuriating as I am, after all, the one who endured nine months of nausea and thirty hours of agony, then was sliced, ripped and torn in unmentionable places just to bring him in to this world. I am the one who sat up all night breast feeding him every two hours for the first six months of his life, and I am the one who spends every day with him trying to keep him entertained and happy. Richard waltzes in at 6.30, pushes a few cars around, pulls silly faces and chases him around the sofa then puts him to bed so he can have a beer, yet he’s the one who gets all the love. I feel wronged.
So, Rory, here is a list of five things that I think you should know about your father. Read them and weep:
- He wanted to call you Ulysses. Seriously. I had to explain to him that as we are both shortish, pale, need glasses and are slightly ginger, it was highly unlikely that you’d end up being able to carry off such a name. His other contributions to the baby name list were Wolfgang and Thurston. You had a lucky escape my son.
- He was such a geek at school that he set up a club called The Weirdos, which would only accept the most nerd-like and unpopular people in his year group. He was then ousted from the group by the rest of The Weirdos for being too weird. This is one of the reasons that I married him. The lesson here is that geeks are more fun and well rounded than the popular kids, although this just might not become apparent until they’re in their 20s. Until then, you have to endure several years of misery at school, but it will be worth it. As your father says, “I may have been a weirdo at school, but I still ended up marrying a girl with big boobs.” Profound.
- Ask him about his trip to Paris many years before he met me, and the vomiting and the helpful lady who was “giving him directions”. Just ask him. This is the definition of inappropriate behaviour. He told me about it on our first date, along with a lot of other unspeakable things. Apparently I have the first date persona of a female Michael Parkinson and can get people to open up and tell me all their secrets within fifteen minutes of meeting them. Hopefully you’ll inherit this useful trait from me and not your father’s propensity for naughtiness.
- He exists on a diet of sweets, cake, biscuits, pork scratchings, pizza and Lucozade. He swills Coca Cola around his mouth several times before he swallows it. He will cheerfully eat an entire Sara Lee Black Forest gateau for lunch and nothing else. Despite this, he’s pretty healthy, on the slender side and only has one tiny filling in his teeth. This is an example of injustice. Do not copy him.
- He is a skinflint. He resents spending money on anyone apart from himself and as long as he can afford his imported trainers, he is happy for his wife and child to walk around in rags. Rags, I tell you. OK, not rags, but you see where I’m going with this, right? The man is too tight to buy you a little rail to stop you from falling out of bed. That’s why I have to wedge you in with hardback books every night. Yesterday evening while you were
palmed off on my mumspending quality time with your grandparents, he took me out to see PJ Harvey in Manchester using tickets that he had bought rather than been given by a record label for a change. When she was given a standing ovation at the end, your father refused to stand up because “I paid for these seats, I’m going to sit in them for as long as possible. And anyway, it’s not like I’ve seen Jesus or anything. Bring me Jesus and I’ll stand up.” If you want to go to university in the future, I’d start saving up now if I were you.
So Rory, that’s your beloved father in a nutshell. I have to admit that he’s not all bad though. He can charm the birds from the trees and sell ice to the Eskimos. You seem to have inherited this trait, so use it well, but don’t become a drug dealer and don’t knock anyone up or you’ll have me to answer to. (Not that he’s done either of those things – I’m just saying). Plus he loves us very much and we’ll always be on his team, which is a winning place to be. In the days before you came along, I used to be his wingman, but it seems that that’s your job now. Just try to remember your mother when you’re both flying high.
Go to Notes From Home to see what other people want their children to know about their fathers.