Monday, January 04, 2010

Butterfly Dad

I was finally reunited with our five year old son yesterday evening, after he and his mum had spent nearly a fortnight at her parent's place in Wexford. The delay was partly due to their being virtually snowbound, but he was also enjoying himself hugely: a tree-hut with snow on the roof, snowman, snowball-fights, his Jack Russell Pippa barking at snow, woods, presents, boundless space, etc., etc.

So today (with S back in work and school still out) we spent the whole day together. A little of playing a little hide-and-seek, of making up stories (sitting in my lap as ONE HUNDRED wolves closed in) and practicing numbers and letters. He's beginning to be interested in what these peculiar characters do, the sounds they make and (what I always encourage) the shapes they form on the page. He is well able to write his name now, in block capitals anyway, and he enjoys writing/proclaiming it. So his name was the first word. Mum, naturally, was the second (had to remind him how to make a U). Dad was the third choice. Perhaps because of his left-handedness, he got the first D back to front, which made an interestingly symmetrical graphic. A butterfly! he said. And so I am, hopefully emerging from my chrysalis the odd time at 52.


sean lysaght said...

Did it ever occur to you, Mark, that at this age (which is mine too), we have been dealt all the cards in the pack, except for the joker?

Mark Granier said...

Of course Séan, I have thought something like this, in so many words. As Rothke put it 'Great nature has another thing to do / To you and me...' But just as I am never quite sure that there is only one Joker (unless it is indeed Mr Zed), neither am I sure I have been dealt ALL of the cards in my pack. What has age conferred? Hardly wisdom. Variety? Certainly great and small changes (birth of our son, deaths of friends/relations, physical changes...). But life (my well-used pack) has a way of surprising us, even if we do not view it as a card game in which one can dramatically alter one's luck and/or circumstances. Of course, Philip Larkin saw it differently, as set out in the first stanzas of his chilling 'Continuing To Live':

Continuing to live — that is, repeat
A habit formed to get necessaries –
Is nearly always losing, or going without.
It varies.

This loss of interest, hair, and enterprise –
Ah, if the game were poker, yes,
You might discard them, draw a full house!
But it’s chess.

I was never much of a chess player (though considerably better at that than crossword puzzles). But I have a soft spot for Poker, and a pleasant memory of scooping the pot in one risky game (when I realised my opponent was bluffing) with a pathetic wee hand, a pair of sevens, which nevertheless beat his pair of threes.