Matthew Munson: My role as Bryan’s social secretary

Bryan and Matthew

This weekend is a quiet one, as we’re about to enter the final few weeks of term at both Bryan’s “normal” school and dance school. As Bryan’s social secretary (a prestigious role that I got after an intensive recruitment process), I’m having to organise it all; making sure he gets to the right place on the right day, and making sure he’s got everything he needs, is a job in itself. He deserves all this fun, so I’m not going to argue that one.

Summer holidays are fast approaching and, like parents throughout history, I’m having to juggle my working hours and time with my son. I can’t be off work for the entire six weeks; to be fair, I don’t think I’d want to be, and neither would Bryan – he likes more company than just me all the time, and I like to keep my mind active. He has a holiday camp that he enjoys going to a couple of times a week, as well as spending time with his nan and granddad – oh, and me, of course.

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time in the holidays with my nan and granddad. I was raised by two parents, and they spread their time across the year as carefully as they could – we always had time together in the summer holidays – but, like me, they both had to work, so a lot of my time was with my nan and granddad Munson during the day. I enjoyed it; they were loving, kind people, who treated me with utter love – it was the simple pleasures I enjoyed; going to the shops with my nan, listening to my granddad complain if anyone unexpected came to the door, listening to Terry Wogan on the radio (hey, it was part of my routine – don’t knock it).

I suspect Bryan will have similar memories of his childhood when he’s an adult – and, I hope, I’ll be able to help with his children if he decides to have them. The simple pleasures of spending time with his nan and granddad, going to mini-golf, the arcades, or the bouncy castles with me, and spending time with his friends. He’s going to Thorpe Park soon, and I suspect that will be a core memory before the day is out.

I’m quite content with a simple, quiet life, but I also respect Bryan’s love of activities – it’s brilliant that he likes things like dance, and that he’s channelling his energies into things that he’s passionate about. For as long as he loves dance (and it could well be a long time), I’ll be his courier, supporter, and cheerleader; that’s the very least I can do.

But first, we’ve got a simple weekend ahead; on Sunday, we intend to potter – there’s not many opportunities to do that, so I’m making the most of it. It’s fun to just spend time together, although as he gets older, those reduce slightly. I’m going through a period of adjustment as that happens; he doesn’t seem to want to pull away completely (thank heavens) but needs his own time. Who am I to judge? That’s healthy, but if he also chooses to spend some of his week with me, then that can only be a good thing – something I’m thankful for,

Being a parent is hard; am I spending enough time with him? Am I smothering him with too much attention? I hope the balance is okay; I’ll make mistakes along the way, but I’ve learnt all too recently that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. Children can be more forgiving than I realised, and when I’ve made a daft mistake, it’s often Bryan who is the first to notice – and the first to forgive. I’m lucky to be related to such a young man, and it certainly makes me determined to strive for days when it’s good and fun. For us (thankfully), it’s always good and it’s always fun. I love being a dad.