Is it just me that struggles to reconcile some apparently innocuous actions with good manners? Several times recently I have seen people, upon being asked for their train ticket, present a crumpled mess of paper. I know that ticket inspectors sometimes get a bad press but, for me, this is one of the reasons.
I would reject any such submission since it surely doesn’t meet the request. If I have asked you for a ticket then that is what I expect you to provide and I expect clear, unfettered access. You would not appreciate if the ticket inspector asked for your bag and had a rummage around looking for your ticket would you. No it’s not a big hassle or an unbearable rudeness but it’s wrong and it annoys me.
Whilst we deal with trains let’s tackle the inevitable curse of what is done with the time. It seems to be incredibly common nowadays that the same women who “can’t leave the house without makeup” actually apply it on the train. I have yet to fully study this but I presume that they make a mess of it at home, arrive at the station looking like a scary clown and correct it during the trip. I have no particular issue with the makeup application but is there any need to curse the driver when the train rocks? Last week a woman got on the train and proceeded to style a wig, with two whole cans of hairspray. It’s not like that in the movies, a quick flick and the person is transformed no crowd of commuters choking on lacquer in the background!
My other point for today is fatherhood. I am lucky to have two gorgeous and healthy children, they are my world as I’m sure any parent appreciates. I was reminded today that no matter what age they will always hold the key to this old man’s heart. When we first brought my first born home from hospital it was like carrying a hand grenade. We were the parents that rang the midwife on night one when he wouldn’t settle in his moses basket, everything was terrifying. To be trusted with this tiny form, this fresh new life was almost too much.
The reward of seeing a smile, a gurgle of recognition or just feeling a tiny chest rising and falling atop mine was amazing. Being the person who can stop the sobs and calm the breathing, the little catch of breath as you make everything right in one little persons world. We learn as parents, we don’t know what’s right we are educated by our children as they train us. I used to say when my daughter was born that we hadn’t really learnt anything but then I realised that it wasn’t ignorance it was the sheer importance of the task at hand. No matter how many children you have it can’t become routine each precious and unique life is approached with the same nervous caution hidden under a ton of love.
As the children get older their gift is the giggles and the eagerness to share their day with you. Racing home in the hope that you will catch their sleepy eyes and dreamy smile before they sleep. Being able to creep into your children and see that sly smile as they sleep, almost as if they sense your presence, is a reward that has brought many a man to tears. As they grow you watch proudly and with some trepidation, eager to minimise any risk and to protect your wards.
There comes a day when sitting on daddy’s lap isn’t the only way to close a day. As your children form their personalities and grow into the independence that you have worked for, your role becomes less obvious. Just occasionally there is a bad day, a nightmare or some hidden cue and a ball of warmth is curled up in your lap, you’re still daddy, you still fix everything. And so it goes on, the reminders of how important parents are come less often as children grow older, well they do if we do our job right.
I visited my children today and despite this being probably the toughest time in my life I could have skipped home. Those two people make me more emotional than a woman watching Bambi. The smell of my daughters hair and the strength in my son’s handshake are still fresh in my mind this morning and have reminded me that there is nothing that I cannot do in this world because I am “daddy”