Tuesday 2 May 2023

Away with the Birds

I’m dozing at about 7am when my phone buzzes lightly. I turn it over and see that it’s a message from my daughter. She’s in Japan, or is it South Korea? Anyway, she’s been travelling on her gap year. The message says something about her flight back. 

Suddenly the thought of her on a plane, flying back to the UK reminds me of the birds (were they seagulls?) in the playground many years ago. I remember looking up at them then and wondering at their freedom while I stood on the tarmac, pushing my daughter on a swing. And now, like them, she is free to fly wherever she wants. It seems like a moment of change, of shifting. Of reversal. Other things have changed too. I used to help her with new words, now she helps me (who knew O.G. meant original?); I used to push her in her buggy carefully past the many obstructions in the street, now she takes me gently by the elbow and guides me when I’m in danger of bumping into things. 

As I read her message I hope I’ve been an okay father. I hope I’ve given her the right amount of help to enable her to answer the questions that she will be asked in life, and is already being confronted by. It’s been sixteen years since my first post here and I can barely remember that scruffy, bearded man with a bag of books (oh, hang on…). But if I’m unrecognizable, you should see my daughter. I suppose the fact that she’ll be home soon, with stories to tell about the world, shows I might, perhaps, have done something right.