Humanity really could have done with a manual on just about anything, but in particular the ‘art of parenting’.
Instead we have innumerable experts on ‘how to’ filed on bookshelves and electronic versions of similar on multiple platforms. Serious life altering issues are condensed into column and space allocation in magazines, squished into meaningless grabs on daytime television and are the fodder of the opinionated, disconnected, retired and/or unemployed who listened to talkback radio waiting for a chance to vent or to recount an abridged version of their ‘truth’.
Parenting is complicated and complex, and is like trying to dance on a shifting carpet. Even after the last door has slammed, the last load has been stuffed into the washing machine, and the last dollar has been loaned on the promise of return, it doesn’t get easier. Where else would you be obligated to give whenever, whatever and then be considered redundant until the next time you are in need? It is an emotionally bruising experience or perhaps the rest of you, have just managed to get it right?
My father, God love him, is a media whore. The only reason I can write this, is with complete assurance that he will never see himself described as such, because the internet has passed him by. However I have a scrap book to prove that he is prolific with letters to the editor, feature articles, newspaper editorials and now a spread in a national ageing magazine. I know he is remarkable.
I know this because he openly tells me. He is 99. I guess he has a right. It is just that his dominance in my life in the years since my mother died have taken new directions into the foray of writing. Is no space sacred from his proliferation?
For the uninitiated, my father Reginald is an artist, health conscious advocate and a deeply spiritual annoyingly wise man. He is also egocentric and direct, something that we share. We have not always been close, as for many years he refused to wear any hearing aids. My mother relayed and edited conversation between us. This was highly unsatisfactory and often frustrating. I can only guess what she failed to tell me. Probably saved me from a tongue lashing!
At her passing, with an ankle kick from my Aunt Betty, he conceded to hearing aids, very expensive ‘super dooper’ ones. He invested in a hands free speaker phone and ‘modernity’ of which he ridiculed as the bane of mankind’s existence and a false God of promises, came to the rescue.
Recently Greg and I visited him, and I collected his poetry at his request. I made him a book using Apple Mac software, uploaded photos and paid for it online. I have danced with a technological devil however he conceded that it was a wonderful publication. No doubt he will be bringing it out to show his many regular visitors. I admit to making fun of his opening lines of ‘Oh wondrous earth’…. but the last laugh will be on me, as I am bound to inherit the Collected Poems & Reflections of An English Gentleman.