Matthew Munson: Jubilee fun and back to routine

Matthew and Bryan

So how was it for you? Are you all jubilee’d out? We certainly are at Casa de Munson; going back to the routine of work and school will be a welcome diversion, I suspect.

It’s been quite a lovely week; we’ve kept it simple, and I like simple. I’ve worked for part of the week, so Bryan had a couple of options, and he chose a three-day football camp in Ramsgate. He’s got into football a little bit over the past year or so, as he’s played it with his friends at school; he’s not a fanatical supporter of a club, following their every move and desperate to go to a match every weekend (good job – I’d need to sell a kidney for those tickets), but he does like the social aspect of playing the game, and has been rather drawn to the role of goalkeeper.

So off he went to this camp, and he came home each day buzzing – he had learned some new skills, spent time in goal, and met some new people. He was happy, especially when he got a medal at the end of the three days, and also got a special water bottle as a reward for being kind to another child at the camp. I, of course, was very proud of him; why wouldn’t I be? He has a genuinely kind heart, and I love that about him.

For the rest of the week, we’ve had some time together and with friends; we visited the Ramsgate and Broadstairs jubilee celebrations (lovely – the volunteers who gave their time in both towns were amazing), and left Thanet on Saturday (I’m so sorry) to Dover Castle. It’s nice to have opportunities like these on our doorstep, and now that things are opening up again, it’s refreshing to get out more during the summer in particular.

2020 and 2021 have, in some ways, changed me; I’ve become more appreciative of the small things, and am more confident in finding interest in the small things. Having big adventures – a day trip to London, or whatever it might be – is lovely, but the day-to-day is even more lovely; spending time pottering around in our local area, meeting people, and just finding little moments of joy is so much fun. Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t go back to the days of lockdowns for love nor money, but some of the little moments I discovered during those strange times are ones I intend to keep keeping.

I look at Bryan and wonder sometimes what he will remember about his childhood when he is grown up; will he remember much from his life before me? I hope he remembers times with his foster carers, as that was where he and his siblings got to experience security and love, and I hope he also remembers these little moments as well with me. It’s odd to think that we’re living through times that will be studied at schools and universities in the future – a pandemic, Brexit, and so on. I wonder if my grandchildren will turn round to me and say, “Granddad, what was it like when …?” That thought alone makes me wish I’d kept better notes of my experiences!

Next week, we get back on the routine of life; Bryan starts his last term at school, and I suspect both of us will be emotional when it ends; quite rightly, as Bryan has emotionally invested in his time at Bromstone, and I’m glad he’s been able to. His final year has been particularly poignant, as it’s the only academic year where he’s spent the entirety of it in the classroom – he joined half-way through year 3, and the following two years were impacted by covid, so this year is extra special, and I’ve been encouraging him to savour his experiences for that reason.

Bryan is occasionally curious about my columns; he knows I write this regular piece every week, and he’s peered over my shoulder as I wrote the last paragraph. I asked him if he had anything he wanted to add, and he pointed out that I should also be telling you that he wants to do well at school because he wants to be a cashier when he’s older, and you need to do well in his exams to become a cashier. If you see us in the street, back me up on that, would you?