Twenty nine years ago today I became a father for the first time when my son Jonny joined the cast of this reality show called life. A rollercoaster of a gig that my boy has thus far weathered relatively well, arriving into adulthood as an engaging and grounded young man of whom I’m very proud.
Never short of a whimsical putdown or a quip at his dad’s expense, Jonny is more like a younger brother to me. Our bond built in the succeeding years since that life affirming day twenty nine years ago. Consequently our verbal interactions bear more the mark of siblings, than father and son.
Over those score and nine summers we’ve played/watched football and club cricket together, enjoyed inestimable laughs at each other’s expense, along with stoically confronting episodes of utter despair during darker family times. These engagements establishing a deep trust between us, meaning in adulthood he’s been my ‘go to’ confidante…. Unless I really wanted stuff to remain secret, in which case I’d never tell that gosh**e a goddamn thing!
Even the misery inflicted on my offspring from me encouraging him to be a Leeds fan as a young child hasn’t affected our bond. It has, though, lead to him refusing to accept any more of my well-meaning advocacies.
What are my memories from the day I became a father twenty nine years ago? Are their any episodes from that major life event indelibly etched in my mercurial mind?
One of many things I recall is, prior to Jonny’s birth, friends with kids would often wax lyrical about how wonderful it was to be present at your offspring’s arrival. Don Quixotesque ramblings, painting the experience of childbirth as almost utopian.
These advocacies relaying to my wife and I that our up and coming life event was little more than a joyous new beginning; A metaphorical inaugural mark on a once chaste parchment. The commencement of a tale providing an amalgam of good and bad existential phases, which’ll hopefully play-out predominantly as a feel-good yarn.
Obviously, once the babe is delivered it is indeed a magical experience, where you’re in awe at the wonders of procreation. Quite frankly, though, the hours between the start of contractions and the delivery are a dreadful time for lots of woman. To a much lesser extent I found it’s not without stress for the father – In particular the experience of utter helplessness witnessing your partner in hours of discomfort.
Even my best knock-knock jokes were unable to lift my wife Karen’s mood during labour. `resulting in me attempting to speed up the birth process with a strategy utilising a megaphone and hostage negotiating tactics. Leading to my shouts at my soon to be born son of “We know you’re in there!….. Come out with your hands up and nobody will get hurt!”
Jonny did eventually make an appearance, although as he didn’t have his hands up I’ve ruled out my hostage negotiation as a contributing factor.
This morning, the anniversary of my heir’s birth brought to mind a romantic verse in 1960’s refrain They Long To Be (Close To You). A hit single penned by legendary American song writing duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The sentimental five lines of lyrics being :-
On the day that you were born
The angels got together
They decided to create a dream come true
So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair
And put a starlight in your eyes so blue.
A song currently spinning in my cranial jukebox as I muse about my first born on his birthday. Some may deem my inclusion of Bacharach/David’s musical poetry above as overly saccharin and sentimental. If they were being even more pedantic they may also point out Jonathon doesn’t possess blue eyes, introducing a flaw in my excessively romantic reverence,
I apologise not, though. Instead, I’ll conclude by announcing how immensely proud I am of my funny, bright, loving and engaging son and heir.
Happy Birthday, Jonathon!!…….. Incidentally son, you couldn’t lend me £20 until payday could you?!