“Anything special tomorrow, darling?” I asked my wife.
“Not really,” she said. “Meeting. I’ll have to go early. You?”
“Oh, just the usual,” I said casually. “Finish a client’s blog in the morning. Work on someone’s speech. And then I’m meeting the Archbishop of York.”
“Yeah, right Dad. Have you checked your medication lately?” My teenage son broke off from preparing a small snack – the one that would keep him going until the large snack that would keep him going until dinner – to express his ritual scepticism.
“Thank you for your belief in me, Ben. I am meeting the Archbishop of York. Just after two o’clock.”
“Alright then. Why?”
“Maybe he wants to start a blog.”
“It’s already been done, Mum. It’s called the Bible.”
“For goodness sake, Ben. Try to be impressed. The Primate of England is visiting my office.”
“Like we said. Why?”
“It’s a fact-finding mission. He wants to meet leading members of the creative community – ”
“But they were all busy so he’s meeting your Dad instead!”
“No, not at – ”
But there was no use trying to explain. My wife and son were cavorting round the kitchen exchanging high fives. Really, they can be so depressingly childish at times…
Friday morning arrived. My day with Sentamu Ebor.
Sadly, Doubting Thomas was still at home.
“What are you going to do, Dad? Have a big bottle of water on your desk and hope he can turn it into wine?”
I drove into work wondering why children are never impressed by their parents’ achievements. That’s fair enough when your kids are seven or eight…
“Mum’s been promoted at work.”
“Does that mean we can afford more chocolate?”
…but by the time they’re teenagers perhaps a little recognition might be in order? Sadly not.
“Mum’s been promoted at work.”
“So she’ll be upgrading her gin from Gordon’s?”
“And I’ve been voted ‘Funniest Dad Blogger in the UK.’”
“Don’t be stupid, Dad, there’s no such thing.”
“Yes, there is. And I’ve won it.”
“Well, where’s the trophy?”
“There isn’t one.”
“Cheque? There won’t be one of those either. What have you won, Dad?”
“A badge for my website…”
Teenage daughters could be more supportive as well. If they hear a few stray creaks around midnight the correct response the next morning is a wink and “Hey, Dad, Mum’s a lucky woman…” Not: “I heard this dreadful groaning noise. I thought you’d died. I’ll call an ambulance next time.”
Meanwhile – assuming you survived the night – you’re still whooping and hollering over what your children have achieved. True, the parental celebrations have slackened off – you’re no longer dancing madly round the house celebrating a 25m breaststroke certificate – but academic success demands recognition.
“An A for your essay, Ben? That’s awesome. We’ll open a bottle of wine to celebrate.”
“Dad, I got six out of ten for a test and you opened a bottle of wine.”
Someone knocked on my office door. The Archbishop had arrived. We chatted for ten minutes. “Bless you,” he said as he left.
Clearly the moment was too much for me. It’s not every day I meet someone whose office goes back to 626 and St Paulinus. “Bless you too,” I stupidly replied.
That would be something to tell his wife. ‘Did you have a good day, darling?’
‘Well… Different. An overweight, grey-haired blogger gave me a blessing…’
I went home to share the excitement with my loving family.
Doubting Thomas still hadn’t seen the light. “Did he absolve you of your sins, Dad?”
“Don’t be stupid, Ben,” my beloved interrupted. “Your father wouldn’t have been home until Christmas…”
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and “very, very funny” to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.