I write this at some godforsaken time of the morning this weekend, as we’ve left Thanet for a couple of days – what a shocker. It’s not something we’ve done much of this last eighteen months or so, but we’re visiting family further along the south coast, so it’s lovely to make a short excursion.
The planning side of any trip is always intense – I’ve been organising the logistics of washing clothes, getting all the toiletries together, and times of trains for the past few days. Bryan has been very helpful (he likes being involved), although I’ve obviously done some parts myself for ease! The other day, he smiled at me and said, “This is easy, isn’t it, Daddy?” A part of me wanted to cry into my cornflakes.
I can’t believe that it’s been well over two years that Bryan has lived at home with me now; we’re coming up to our third summer holiday together, and this one feels like the … easiest, I guess the word is (I don’t like to tempt fate). Last year, pandemic restrictions meant that we could only do so much, and this year, being sensible and reasonable means that we will also be doing things in a careful and safe way – but also meaning that we can do a little bit more and explore a little bit further.
I’ve been lax with planning some days in our social calendar, but I don’t feel the need to micromanage every day. We’re going away for a couple of short breaks, and that’s going to give both of us some lovely new experiences – but we also enjoy just being at home and going where the mood takes us.
There are so many things on our doorstep that are good to do; Quex Park and the multitude of activities, beaches, cinemas, arcades, parks (we spent 2020 exploring them a lot, and that helped me fall in love with them yet again), and so on. I am so fortunate to be raising my son in such a lovely area; it’s beautiful and fun, and Bryan – who wasn’t born locally – has clearly fallen in love with it too.
He has hobbies which will be on hold for the holidays, as they’re term-time; swimming and dancing. I am particularly in awe of him doing these, as I can’t dance and I can’t swim (I could correct the latter, but will never be able to correct the former, I suspect). I get vicarious pleasure watching Bryan being so natural in the water at the leisure centre, but he’s developing his sense of pride at his dance class; they’re planning to show off their dance to parents (hopefully) next week, so he’s refusing to show me any of the dance until I get to see him in the proper routine with his friends. I like that he’s asserting himself like that; he’s taking ownership of something that’s his, and that tells me he has settled into his home and his community.
I occasionally get memories flash up on social media of what we were doing this time last year, and I compare our life in 2021 to our life in 2020; it was strange and unusual back then, as we all collectively navigated our way through unfamiliar waters. We’re still doing that today, to a degree, as we collectively discuss what we want our society to look and feel like now; I start a new job in a week where I’ll be in an office more, and that’s going to be an interesting experience. Bryan will be exploring his final year at primary school in September, so that will be a new experience too. We might be looking to move (locally) next year; that will definitely be a new experience.
But in the meantime, I focus on my family and guiding my son through life so that he feels confident and able as he grows up. He will look back at this time of his life with interest, that much is certain, and so will I; life is certainly never dull being a father.