Matthew Munson: A new government, dancing, holidays and parenthood

Matthew and Bryan

Well, there you have it; a new government. All change, and what a strange election it’s been. Being the first election where my son has been really aware of what’s going on with politics and the various parties, I’ve enjoyed sharing the ups and downs (more downs than ups, I think) with him, and if it broadens his horizons about politics, then I’ll be a happy man.

If the government lasts for a full five years, he’ll be old enough to vote in the next election. I must have been 20 or so when I voted in my first general election, and I’ve been fascinated by the process ever since.

Tiredness has set in at Casa de Munson just lately. Bryan has a dance show in just a few short weeks, so he’s putting a lot of energy into his rehearsals both at the dance studio and at home. I’m fascinated by dance, as I have absolutely no skill in that field at all. Literally none. I have dyspraxia, so that makes my coordination an art form in itself. My son, on the other hand, is incredibly driven and passionate about it, and I love watching him express himself. I’ll be a proud dad watching the show, and I’ve promised him that I won’t cry with pride when he appears on stage; that would just embarrass him, and we wouldn’t want that.

The summer holidays will help us relax somewhat. As I will still be working during part of the holidays, Bryan will be going to a familiar holiday camp he enjoys. To be honest, that’s a good place for a very active teenager. I am not active, at least not in the same way; I enjoy walking, and I’ve even walked marathons before, so I can do physical exercise when I’m in the right mindset. But ask me to play football or tennis or … well, any sport, and you’ve immediately lost my interest. However, my son enjoys a bit of tennis, and it’s a way of spending time with him, so who am I to argue? That will gain my interest every time.

I’ve got two weeks off during the summer holidays, so we’ll have time together. We’ll visit his siblings for a couple of days during one week, potter around Folk Week, aim to do Go Ape in Battersea Park up in London, and just be together for a while.

When Bryan first came home, five years ago, I took about seven or eight months off work to be there for him full-time. That was absolutely the right decision, and I struggled going back to work at first. I missed Bryan and felt guilty. Ironically, the covid pandemic came along a few months later, and I didn’t have the chance to miss him anymore as we were together 24/7. Yippee for me. I enjoy working – it gives me the chance to use my brain – but I love my son, and it’s taken me some time to work out a reasonable balance. In the future, it would be great to do a number of different things all at the same time, but I need to give that some thought to get it right.

First and foremost, however, I want to spend this time with my son. He is 13 now, and growing fast, and he continues to make me proud. His voice is deeper than it was five years ago, he’s almost as tall as me (and will overtake me), and he’s got a quick brain and great sense of humour. I share my time with school, dancing, his friends, his grandparents, and whatever else comes up every day. This time of his life will only come once, and I want to look back in ten / twenty / thirty years and think, “I made the most of that time.” I have plenty of time to work more when he becomes an adult, but my family will always come first even when I am working more.

I’ve led a varied life – worked in a lot of different roles, finished marathons, and written books – but being a dad is the best title I have ever been given. That role might reduce the time I have to write, do marathons, and give over to work, but I simply don’t care. I’m making the most of this time in both my life and the life of my son.

1 Comment

  1. Following your story is fascinating! Cheers me up when the various wars – especially in Gaza – look so insoluble. Thanks!

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