Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Happy Endings

Waiting for coffee in the cafĂ© at Fremington Quay I had a sharp sense of finality, of leaving behind, that reminded me of other occasions I couldn’t quite place. The windows were laced with steam, and an elderly man with uneven stubble in baggy trousers and a fishing jumper drilled holes in the wooden door, fixing something. Staff passed between the till and the kitchen. There was a calmness that I knew I would miss. As I watched the workman Mr Bojangles played quietly somewhere above:

I knew a man Bojangles and he danced for you
In worn out shoes;
With silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants…


That’s the problem with holidays. You have to come back. Back to the grey and the rain. But city grey and rain is not the same as country grey and rain. When I listened to the cockerel crowing at the farm I was sure it sounded different in the rain. Or was it just me?

As he spoke right out
He talked of life, he talked of life,
He laugh-slapped his leg a step.


We arrive back in London, push open the grimy front door and pile all the bags in the kitchen. My wife sits on a chair looking unhappy to be back. Our daughter sits on her lap, thumb in mouth, gazing across the room. I sit down too. I feel completely certain that we are all thinking different things, but share a sadness that we will be going our separate ways in the week ahead: work, nursery, home.

Later when my daughter is brushing her teeth she realizes that she no longer needs the plastic step that has been accompanying her around the bathroom for the past few months. She is overjoyed. I am not convinced. I’m not sure I’m ready for all these endings.

22 comments:

Greg said...

I am a New York Times bestselling author working on a new book about father-daughter relationships and thought you might want to contribute. Please visit my page for details about submitting stories for Daddy's Little Girl.

Gregory E. Lang
Author, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

The Good Woman said...

Came here to comment (somehing about endings being beginnings - a bit naff really), but wow! Just got sideswiped by the other comment. Not that I'm surprised that someone wants you to write for them, but rather that it actually does happen in blog world.

Hope to see you in print soon. (or is this where you tell me you're actually a best selling suthor?)

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Good woman. Yes you are right about endings and beginnings. The beginning of what isn't always clear though.

Yes I am a best-selling author, several times a day in my daydreams! I would draw your attention to one of the criteria for submitting items for this book: "No writing skills necessary"!!

Greg, thanks for your post. I will certainly take a look.

mutterings and meanderings said...

SAHD, methinks it is time for you all to up sticks and move to the country...

Go for it on the book front, I say. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think you have a real talent...

Stay at home dad said...

It's a big thing to do though isn't it. But deserves serious thought. The move I mean, not the book, on which subject thanks for your continued support!

Stay at home dad said...

It's a big thing to do though isn't it. But deserves serious thought. The move I mean, not the book, on which subject thanks for your continued support!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

You capture the post-holiday slump brilliantly...It's miserable to come home, your house felt cold to me, was it cold?

Exciting about Greg, whatever happens I imagine it bought a grin to your face? It did to mine on your behalf.
Pigx

Stay at home dad said...

Thanks Pig. Yes it did bring a smile, until I investigated further. But that's the way things are...

Yes it was cold, mainly because the boiler had gone off again!

Sahd

david santos said...

Thanks for Madeleine!

EmmaK said...

Sometimes I feel like you when I get back from holidays...depressed to find that all the letters piled on the mat are bills.

But sometimes, like last year when I spent the summer in vienna with my mom (we argued a lot) and two small kids in a one bed apartment, it was such a blessed relief to be back among my totally boring daily routine, away from the chaos of living out of a suitcase, that I actually felt grateful to be back.

Stay at home dad said...

My pleasure David. You're doing a great job.

Hello EmmaK, thanks for the visit. Yes exactly right. Routine can be very reassuring.

@themill said...

No endings, just new beginnings.
Your writing is wonderful so go for it and agree with M&M - Time to upsticks to the country.

Elsie Button said...

Yes, move to the countryside! My husband and I moved from London almost 4 years ago, and we have had such a brilliant time here, no looking back. My husband was able to pursue his love of writing, in the peace and quiet of it all, amazing views, walks, comedy locals, sheep etc. he is now getting things published - it took a few years but he is getting there! I spent 10 incredible years in london but it got to me in the end. in fact, that reminds me, i wrote a silly little story one horrible grey afternoon when i was sitting in my office in white city staring out over the A40, about my ideal life in the countryside... might post it up.

Elsie Button said...

by the way, i love your writing! it's really thoughtful (is that the right word?) not like my mindless b***ocks!

Annie said...

We're just gearing up for our holiday next week - stress! But you've just reminded me of what it'll feel like when we get back - so I'll savour every moment.

Thanks for your kind comments on my blog post yesterday :)

Stay at home dad said...

@TM, thank you, such a nice compliment and it looks like the time, yes.

Stay at home dad said...

Hi Elsie. Yes, post it! I know the corner of town well. One thing I wonder about is what is it like moving away from friends (and family)? Isn't that difficult?

As for your blog - it's great and I definitely have more time to think than you currently!

Stay at home dad said...

Hello Annie. Ah yes the stress of holiday preparations. I'd forgotten about that one!

And hope everything goes ok...

Elsie Button said...

yes it was difficult leaving friends and family. we were both really nervous about the move. but it was definitely the right decision. it's lovely though, because we have friends and family coming to stay most weekends - they welcome the chance to get out of london for the weekend. i do love london though. i cannot wait to come down for a weekend soon and see everyone - we are busy weaning at the moment so hopefully i will escape (on my own) v soon!

Stay at home dad said...

Interesting. Thanks. Yes, been reading about the weaning!

Drunk Mummy said...

Go for it SAHD (the Greg thing I mean) you never know whay else it might lead to. Although I hope Greg's writing is up to scratch, or you might put him in the shade!

Stay at home dad said...

Ho ho. But is the NY Times ready?!