Saying good bye to Jack probably meant more to me than it did to him. Even when he was in tears trying to follow me crying out “I wanna stay with you daddy” clutching 20 baht I had given him for sweets I knew a reality he didn’t. And when he said “I’m gonna miss you dad” I knew he meant it. But I also knew that whilst he would miss me, I would miss not only him, but having my kids together, being a family. Something that is actually quite difficult to emulate in the UK.
This is a sort of prologue to me expanding on Jacks time out here at a later date. With Jack came happiness, laughter, sadness and a reminder of how things could be.
Jack is an accident waiting to happen and rarely is there a time that he hasn’t got a bruise on his head. So when he had to go to the doctors because he had a foreign object stuck in his foot and I had to hold him down whilst the doctor cut open his little foot whilst he screamed in agony, as awful as it was it wasn’t really surprising. Thinking that he had fulfilled his quota on getting hurt I was soon faced with his face covered almost completely in blood and trying to clean him up as he screamed. I knew he needed stitches and so a quick trip back to the doctors meant I yet again found myself holding down my son as he had his head stitched up without anaesthetic. As I held him down, my 3 year old son was begging me for it to stop, promising me he would behave in future (though he had done nothing wrong) He was petrified and with good cause, each time the needle entered his face he was in absolute agony. I felt absolutely helpless but knew that if the wound wasn’t stitched he faced at best a terrible scar on his face at worst a life threatening infection.
Within an hour he was back to his usual jubilant self. Perhaps it is his age, that he can forget so easily. I will never forget though, the fear in his eyes as I used all my weight to hold him down – The begging for me to help him, for it to stop. I’ll never forget that.
I have many fond memories of Jack out here, probably the best and one which will only really mean something to a parent was watching him with Abi in Koh Samui in his ring. He spent every second in the water simply floating around in his ring. I am not kidding, one day he floated for pretty much the whole day. It sounds pretty un eventful, but how he would just sit bobbing in the current all day did then, and still does make me smile.
Seeing Jack annihilate egg fried rice and then proclaim ‘I beat you Abi’ with a big cheesy grin. Or coming to the toilet with me and saying “lets race dad” not realising his bladder is the size of a golf ball, he was suited with himself every time he beat me, which was, well, every time.
Or when we would walk along and he would just look at a tuk tuk and say “150 baht dad” his “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam” or his quip when I took my book off him, he simply stared at me for a minute and then said “Knob head…Just snatched it off me”
The locals loved him and he couldn’t stand them, almost as much as he didn’t like sun tan lotion on his face.
We would sit down to eat and every time all I would hear from Jack was “Can I have a chicken burger dad” but he loved nothing even remotely as close as he loved Dunkin Donuts. He would be asleep and a mention of Dunkin Donuts would render him from his unconscious slumber instantly as he looked around for his donut.
He got bitten by “Skeetos” and always had the cheekiest grin on his face, well, until you pulled out the camera to take a photo and suddenly his smile turned into a gurn.
I could sit here now and reel off a hundred memories, but most are private ones, ones that you share as a family and ones that to anyone else would be meaningless but to you they reinforce in you your reason for being alive. No matter how tired you are, how down you are feeling, it’s amazing how quickly your child can bring you round and remind that life is great. The morning cuddles, him coming into the bathroom as I’m sat on the loo and asking “what you having dad, a wee or a poo” or him crying that “I got soap in eyes dad” before I even opened the bottle of shampoo. He showed me that finally he can actually have chewing gum and not swallow it and reminded me how much of a privilege it is to be his dad and to have him in my life.
Thanks to Gemma for bringing him out here and for letting me experience, albeit temporarily what it is like to be a family. And a huge thanks to Jack, for being so resilient, warming, loving and amazing.
See you this weekend mate x