We drove down to a wedding. Three hour journey, wedding was at 4.30pm. Of course we left at 9am and arrived hours early. There was a beach, the children played in the sand and created a mound of pebbles and shells. We walked up the cliff and along the seafront. In the actual ceremony Tilly took my hand. She has fond memories of our wedding.
It's not all bad, it's been the first proper day back at work, I'm in a maudlin mood. Last Thursday ended positively, she never did actually say yes but we did the act and I not only actually completed my end of the bargain, I did it first. That has never happened before. So that was good. And, yes, I was able to keep going so she could too. We fell asleep afterward. It was nice. Then preparation, travel, wedding, my father, home.
I have no real problems with my family, I know, plenty of people (Tilly included) have genuine family issues. I just have parents who are a bit strange. The visit was alright but... I don't know. My father showed me the book he had planned to get for my birthday way back when but explained that he liked it and didn't think I would and so kept it. He showed me a poem by Roger McGough, for twas a book of his poetry, about how a father tells his child truths of life (including McGough lines such as "no, son, I don't think deckchairs will work as a unit of currency" and bittersweetness where you're never quite certain what McGough is poking fun at more like "there is no hand out to catch the falling star/and I'm sorry son, I'm really sorry/but it's the way things are."). He watched me read it. Took the book and put it down, nothing more was said. He handed me a £20 note and said "I thought you could get yourself something." And then we were on to his work.
Indeed, the whole visit was like that. Some hints that I didn't get about things I didn't understand related to events I am unaware of and then exposition about my father's situation. Reading between the lines: my workaholic father has passed up a job opportunity he would enjoy to support his wife at her behest, that's quite something, and he's struggling to parse this one. I was taken to task for not getting my children to ring to say thank you to his wife's mother for a Christmas present (we did) and his mother in general (ugh, she used to be good at the manipulation game, now it's just sad - we took her for a meal recently and send notelets every month with photos of our children. And, yes, we rang on everyone's birthday, fuck that game). I feel like I missed something huge.
The Boy exploded - not unexpected given the long journeys and late night - my father expressed surprise that I would be ready for this. "Why do you expect that?"
"You never did that. Except once, when I did get a bit angry and shout, but you stopped."
Yes, father, I know. We drove six hours for a wedding in Wales, no hotel to stop in, and I was sick because I ate banana. Yes, I was ill and tired and grouchy and about four. I exploded. I'm sure I did. It was the only time we ever went so far afield for such an occasion. I imagine my temerity to explode and vomit a lot was part of the decision-making process that meant we never did it again. I do not recall the telling off. But it doesn't surprise me. I said none of this.
I did not get stressed about work, that's good, right? And now I am tired and maudlin.