Memories of Eldest

I’ve written here before about my current view of this blog as a sort of a ‘Pensieve’ where my memories and thoughts can be chucked in and hauled out in silvery snot-like threads at some later date.  One might say, “why not stick it in a notebook?”  Good idea but it’s not me.  Although fewer and fewer people read this stuff, I tend to need at least the possibility of an audience in order to do something with the appropriate level of care.

So here I am.

Today I’m looking at my Eldest Son, who will be fifteen next week and who, to my delight, is now considerably taller than I am.  My memories of him, from now, will be of this clever, gentle, considered guy rather then the bump, baby and toddler who came before and who filled our lives so completely.


Perhaps it’s time, then, to chuck something into the Pensieve, lest it get lost along the way.  Perhaps when I am old and my mind has gone, someone might read this page out to me and I might smile a moment, imagining these things really happened.

Three memories of J:

When he was a toddler, we had a date every evening, after work and before bedtime.  We used to wrestle.  We’d meet up on our bed and square up to each other.  Toddler would employ sophisticated Half-Nelson techniques and invariably dad would be chucked off the bed and onto the floor.  Three falls were sufficient to win the battle and toddler never conceded a single fall in all the time that this violent and giggle-ridden rendezvous was kept.

Every evening, once tucked in, a book was read aloud by me to him.  We read very little every night, perhaps only a page.  In this way, we read all the Harry Potter books (except that last one which he was old enough to read himself), all of Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, Watership Down, Swallows and Amazons, Witch and the Wardrobe… it is truly amazing how much can be read, one page a night, over the steady trickle of a childhood.

Finally, almost Benjamin Button-like, we sneak back to the earliest moments.  The tiny baby.  At weekends, I used to take the night feed.  I would watch half of some video movie and leave the second half for the middle of the Friday night.  There, in the insular twilight of the living room, Dad and bottle-suckling infant, lay on the couch, wrapped themselves up in a patchwork quilt and watched Candyman together.

I couldn’t ever forget that, could I?

Just in case I do, perhaps it’ll be here.

11 comments:

Claire said...

I liked this pensieve moment a lot. My dad read the hobbit out loud for my sisters and I. It was the only book that I remembering him reading to us, so it will always be a favourite of mine.

Does J remember some of these moments?

Sam said...

That reading thing is amazing - I always avoid the long books! You've inspired me to start one, instead of churning out the same old faves every night.

It's encouraging what you remember - I've just about stopped being terrfied of my babies becoming grown-ups. I'm determined not to waste the glorious present by worrying about the future.

Jim Murdoch said...

Notebooks are so last millennium. And I’ll be here to the bitter end, that I can assure you. My eldest (and only) will be thirty-one this year. In fact she will be married this year and I’m still not sure how I feel about all that even though she’s been living with the bloke for years. I have four photos of her in the living room, in one she’s only a day old, in another she’s about ten, in the third she’s maybe sixteen and the in the last one she’s in her late twenties and it’s almost like she’s four different people because at each juncture our lives were so different.

Travelmaus said...

Your son is now "this clever, gentle, considered guy" because his wonderful Dad spent time with him and read him stories ! What a great way to grow up !

hope said...

And if Jim leaves me room on the couch, I'll be sitting here too, reading with a smile on my face.

Just make sure you have a "backup" copy for the kids...you know how technology likes to eat the stuff we love. :)

Anonymous said...

You brought a tear to my eye, Ken. As you so often can. Some of my happiest memories of my dear, departed Dad involve *exactly* those kind of memories.

The games of cricket in the garden, with Dad always losing to me.

The games of cricket indoors, using a big encyclopedia as the wicket, when the winter meant the garden was out of action.

And the reading. I have a book, called Prester John, that my Dad read to me. Once he'd finished it, I asked him to read it again.

When I emptied his flat, after he'd died. I found a copy of Prester John. And it's one of my most treasured possessions.

Cheers, mate.

Simon Ricketts

Ken Armstrong said...

These comments have meant a lot to me today. Thank you.

Claire: The Hobbit is a lovely book to read. I've read it aloud twice now, to my younger son too. I know J remembers the reading and not 'Candyman' (which is prob for the best)... I must ask him about the wrestling - it was *such* a laugh. x

Sam: Do. Try a longer one. I found the original Milne Winnie The Pooh books to be wondrous to read aloud, if that's any use. :)

Jim: My constant companion in blogging. I really must send that thing to you. I'm terrible...

Travelmaus: What an Oasis of positivity you are! Bless you and bless you again. x

Hope: How long you've been coming to read and encourage. I appreciate it very much, I really do.

Simon: Thanks mate, you're a good friend now and long may that last. Your comment shows the other side of the coin for me. Someday, my boy will hopefully remember me as you remember your Dad. That would be quite enough.

E-J (EmmaJaneR) said...

My dad used to fall asleep reading me my bedtime stories. I would prompt him to continue, and he'd chuckle that he'd merely been "resting his eyes". Those interruptions weren't important; what mattered was the routine, the knowledge that no matter how tired he was, I would always have that time close to him at the end of my day.

I feel so lucky that as a modern-day parent, I have a blog and a digital camera and easy ways to store and organise my photos and scribblings, that through as many words and images as I like, I might freeze my little girl in perpetual infancy ... To some degree, it frees me from trying to cling to that stage (and the next, and the next) in real life. Xx

Anonymous said...

well done Ken and good job as you always do love Mar

catswiththumbs said...

Does he still wear pearls? Nothing wrong with that - they're quite fetching:)

Jena Isle said...

Such a cute story Ken, Kids with loving fathers are lucky. Yes, it is hard to believe that some fathers today just don't have enough time for their kids. God bless.