Children always look the same to parents. They grow older, of course, and from their point of view they have changed in terms of maturity, of knowledge. She may well see me differently. My beard gets white with time. But it is a pleasure to meet your children so long as they respect you and you love them.
Nice words from a chap interviewed at Heathrow airport, waiting for his daughter to fly here from her home in Canada to spend Christmas with them this year, and do you know what, they are absolutely true.
The inside of my head is stuck somewhere around 1995 or maybe 96, my kids are about 7 and 4 and I am getting on towards 40, in my head I haven’t changed one bit since then and neither have they, sure they’ll point to photographs and remind me that I actually did look younger then, they’ll point to my head and ask where the hair went and why the stuff that is left around the edges is grey instead of brown and they’ll point at my face and ask where that oh-so-trendy 1990s moustache went (when it did finally go no-one noticed and I actually had to tell my dad that I’d shaved it off before he noticed), and of course my then young children will point to themselves, both young women now and not Primary School children, and they’ll think that I’ve gone ga-ga and start planning what they’ll do with the family home when I’ve been sent to the funny farm (actually you can have it, along with the mortgage and all the bills).
But none of that reality actually matters, when I sit in the car every evening to collect my eldest from the train station and I watch her walk towards me I see the seven year old walking up the lane to the horse riding stables every Saturday morning, she walks with a hurried gait, the arm that is carrying the ever present bag is still by her side, the other swings and her knees are always slightly bent even when striding out, I could recognise her walk anywhere and it always makes me smile and she’s always walking up that lane to her riding lessons when I see it.
The youngest is always younger than that, she’s in dungarees and has the cheekiest laugh and spends all day long planning new ways to sneak into the kitchen and steal the knob off the cooker door, she throws herself onto Samantha our German Shepherd Dog and she lets her clamber all over her, pull clumps of fur out with little clenched fists, hang onto her tail as they run around the house screaming with laughter and now when I go to pick her up from her hotel job around midnight most evenings she still has that laugh and that “Couldn’t give a damn about life or how it works” attitude, and when both daughters are out shopping together somewhere and its cold and raining and all I want to do is sit in the house and stay warm and tell them to get the bus home rather than go and pick them up in the car the eldest will get the youngest to ring and speak to me because they both know that I can’t refuse her any request.
Not long to go until the funny farm beckons…