The Olympic Torch Relay came our way this week. The Olympics aren’t something that I’ve got particularly excited about yet (although I am looking forward to going to an event in August) since they have seemed so far away. Nevertheless I thought it would be good to go and see the Torch since it would probably be a once in a lifetime experience for me, and maybe even for Jake too: Sam probably being a little young.
And while it was over in seconds the whole anticipation surrounding its coming was well worth it, and it didn’t seem like an anti-climax after it had gone.
I wrote last time about memories, in relation to photos, and I guess that to some extent this post is about memories too. By going to see the Torch I wanted the boys to have this once in a lifetime experience because I remember so vividly some of the once in a lifetime things I did as a child: walking through the new Kingsway Mersey Tunnel and over the new Humber Bridge before they were officially opened to traffic; and watching some huge ships being launched at the shipyard close to where we then lived.
These and many other things remind me of being young and of how happy my childhood was. It also reminds me of the responsibility I have to make sure that Jake and Sam have a happy childhood too. I don’t mean this in any idealized or indulgent manner, but in a way that is natural and spontaneous. This is often quite difficult as I also have things that I want to do: read a magazine of mine rather than a book to the boys, listen to some of my music rather than nursery rhymes; or stay just that bit longer in bed rather than building that wooden railway. Sounds trivial? Well maybe but culmulatively it has an effect.
I’m not sure that I fully appreciated this responsibility when I first became a Dad, and I dare say that there will be times along the way that will suggest that I still haven’t really got it. There’s also the temptation to not think about it at all. After all it’s huge because bringing up children is a one shot deal (I know I’m not the first to realize it, but it’s still a pretty big bombshell when it lands) and that can sound very scary.
In the end I suppose it comes down to trial and error, a series of checks and balances that seek the best way forward, hoping that when all is said and done the boys will, like me, look back with fond memories of when they were young, and have an appreciation that their childhood has given them a good grounding for their lives to come.
So, like the torch flashing past, Jake and Sam’s childhood will race by and before I know it they won’t be my little boys any more. I need to constantly remind myself to make the most of it and enjoy it – and, for their sakes and mine, not waste it.