Opinion: Matthew Munson -Micro-moments of laughter, calmness and love

The latest journey for Matthew and Bryan

It’s easy to forget how much subtle influence you can have over your children sometimes. I don’t mean in the sense of the more obvious stuff – what hobbies they have access to, where they live, and what school they go to – but with softer things; how they speak, how they talk to people, and the expressions they come out with.

That often passes from generation to generation, and I suspect I’ve picked up nuances from my own parents that I don’t even realise have happened. Bryan has started picking up some of my expressions; on Friday, he was looking for something to show his sister over facetime and asked her to wait in precisely the way I would – the same expression, the same words, everything. Children can be excellent mimics, without even realising it, and I find myself wondering what else he is picking up of mine – I’ve suddenly become even more self-critical than usual, trying to analyse all my bad points to see if Bryan is close to copying them. So far, so not.

I must also confess something to you all now (I feel like this is something of a confessional, and you’re all very good listeners) on Saturday just gone, we left Thanet for a few hours using public transport. Let me reassure you, however; it was to Herne Bay, and the train was almost entirely empty (except for one lad nearby who had clearly been smoking very recently, and not cigarettes either).

I wanted to expand our small routine just a little, and just for a couple of hours; it was a blissful time, playing in a park we love with our tennis rackets and ball, and then some football practice (I needed the practice far more than he did, although neither of us like the game in the slightest – it’s more the time spent to together that matters).

It was odd, going on the train after so long; I had to remind myself how it all worked, and I was looking around carefully as I know it will all look different in a couple of weeks when face coverings all become mandatory on public transport. I am not looking forward to that, although Bryan has asked if his could make him look like Thor. I promised to look into it, and now I have to hope he will accept a small black square of cloth instead. I don’t think he will.

No-one could have foreseen these strange events would happen in an already odd year, but here we are – we must deal with it as best we can. For me and Bryan, it’s cemented our bond even more, helping us to enjoy each other’s company … as well as helping us understand each other’s little foibles and see where we irritate each other. But most importantly of all, it’s given us the little moments; micro-moments of laughter, calmness, and love, where we have just savoured being together without needing to be doing something.

We do miss many things that we can’t do – professional haircuts being the least of our worries – but I’ve also discovered for myself (as well as showing Bryan) the joys of slow moments in the park, on the beach, and just in the street. I’m blessed with my little family unit, and that’s what I am taking from all of this lockdown craziness – that we have spent time together.