I’ll level with you. I’m really missing Mike. I want him home now. Reuben has taken to toting round a little (yet to be framed after 5 years) photo of him and Gabby, shouting “DAD” at the top of his lungs. I think he misses him too. I literally CANNOT wait to see his little face when he finally sees Mike on Sunday. It’s going to be so precious. In the meantime, while thinking about Mike, I was scanning through my photos and I found a bunch of recent photos (all in March) of Reuben with various male members of the family. It’s got me thinking about what a lucky little boy he is to have so many positive male role models in his life.
His dad is around a lot, we nearly always have breakfast together. This is our family meal. He picks him up on a Monday and is normally home early on a Wednesday and Friday. Plus we do lots of fun things together as a family at weekends when we get Gabby back.
Bit of telly with daddy
His Grandad Parker is around at the drop of a hat. He has him on a Monday (with Grandma!) but is always willing to have him if he can during the week. They go on bus and train rides. Eat ice cream at the beach and generally have a great time together.
Reading a classic with Grandad Parker
Then there’s Grandad David (he doesn’t want to be Grandad Bryan – that’s MY Grandad!). You will never know work ethic like my Dad’s. He works for God – was a vicar and now teaches people to be vicars (among a lot of other things). He generally works all day and night and some weekends. And he’s a published author. But despite not seeing him as much, Reuben still thinks he’s great, which is proven by the fact that he wants to snuggle up on the sofa for supper. This is not Mr Independent’s style!
Supper time with Grandad David
Then there’s Uncle Isaac, “Ike” as he calls him. ‘Uncle’ Isaac is my 14 year old brother. What a pain in the bottom he is! I may be 31 but he’s still my little brother. Guess who thinks he’s the bomb? Reuben. Isaac will spend the majority of his time while we’re there shouting at a computer screen, then come down, jiggle Reuben about and then he’s the favourite. Unjust but true.
Playing the piano with Uncle Ike
Then last week we met with my Grandparents for lunch. We don’t see them enough, it was before Christmas when we saw them last and yet Reuben acted and felt like he knew them. You can’t make a kid that age do anything he doesn’t want (believe me) so it’s all truth. It melted my heart to see him holding Grandad Bryan’s (Great Grandad to him) hand as we walked back to the car. As I said in Friday’s Mums’ List, he doesn’t like holding hands!
Walking with Great Grandad (my Grandad Bryan so my Dad’s Dad)
And those are just the photos I have in my phone. There’s more uncles who he also loves! He’s literally tripping over fantastic male role models. Apparently, the root to being happy is to be grateful and I feel so grateful for this.
I don’t know if you saw it but last Friday night Joanna Lumley met Will.i.am. It was an amazing documentary. What a fabulous pairing. Anyone else and I wonder how genuine it would have seemed. It also showed what a gentleman Will.i.am is. I’ve never been his biggest fan or anything, just thought he was an incredibly talented oddbod! Anyway, during this documentary, Joanna Lumley talks to Will’s mother. She was a single mother and in one sentence I was blown away. When asked if she was a strict mum she said something along the lines of, “My mum raised 8 kids alone and none of them went to jail, so I knew I could and, yes, I was strict.” Did you hear that? NONE OF THEM WENT TO JAIL. In that time in their neighbourhood, that was a big deal.
I thought/worried about a lot of things when I was pregnant but I didn’t think about jail. I can’t imagine having a baby knowing that the odds were stacked that he would end up jail. I feel so lucky that that isn’t really a concern. It’s there obviously, but not like for Will’s Mother where Gangs were rife and males went to prison.
It has brought back memories of some people I grew up with, albeit briefly. When I was 10 my family moved to Birmingham. I went to an inner-city school for a year, where the crime rate was high, and there were probably no more than a handful of kids in my class who had dads in their lives. I don’t know the statistics about linking crime with a lack of positive male role models but I do believe there is a connection. I wonder what happened to some of those kids?
Anyway, hats off to Will.i.am who hasn’t forgotten where he came from and is doing loads of great and interesting work with underprivileged people. And, I hope that some of the money you helped me raise for Sports Relief can help people in similar situation.
The other side of this is being a single mother. I’ve only had a week and a half of it and I’ve been a mess. Leaving my phone 30 miles away. Leaving the backdoor open overnight. Leaving the buggy out overnight in the rain. There’s been a lot of leaving going on and Mike is normally the one that makes sure I don’t leave things. I’ve realised that I need to get my shit together and stop relying on Mike for so much! There are some incredible women out there raising children and doing a wonderful job without a full time dad.
Last week I was feeling sorry for myself. I just needed a new perspective. As I take a moment to see how my son has grown before my very eyes (we’ve been having the discussion on the Mums’ Days Facebook Wall about how new pyjamas make us realise that our babies have grown!), I’m just grateful for these men in my life and my son’s life. We both have a lot to learn from them!
New PJs! (I love them – a 2 pack was £7 from Sainsburys for anyone interested, although it looks like you have to go in store to buy)