Many years ago when I was young and sprightly and heavily pregnant with my first child, I had nowhere to go. I was 17 and knocked up – lovely!
I was the last of my crowd to dabble in the realms of nookie and the first one pregnant – my life lessons have always been up close and personal!
The folks were not overly sympathetic – I had told my mom in the middle of a crowded lift while on the way to the hairdressers – my attempt to prevent a shitstorm!
Of course a few minutes later I was sitting in the chair having my hair done while mom was yelling out my shameful state on the phone to my dad. Heavens I was popular – the whole room was staring rabidly at me!
Anyway fortunately before bedding his son I had started to get to know his father. On hearing about my pregnancy he immediately offered me a place to stay with him and baby’s dad. Looking back I think if he had known what he was in for he would have run a mile. I was a teenager having a baby, hormonal as all hell, constantly hungry and constantly fighting with his son. The poor man, seriously, the poor man. There he was raising the youngest of his brood, alone and without help and still providing food and shelter for a manic baby carrier and his very confused son.
I can’t think of a time when he complained, I guess he must of, I just can’t remember. Of all the wonderful men I’ve met in my life, Grandad still stands head and shoulders above them all. All through the years he has stayed close, always there to catch me and always there to accept me as I am – and believe me, during those years it was no small thing! Heavens but I was a selfish and foolish cow!
Years later again when I was struggling it was him who offered myself and my eldest a place to stay. The house was already crowded with his own kids, but still he was willing. Everything one could expect from a ‘real’ dad, he gave me. Food, shelter, love, encouragement, wisdom – you name it, he gave it – willingly.
I think the thing that truly seperates him from other people who do good is the fact that he did it despite the fact that I was an ungrateful swab. I appreciated his help but I don’t recall doing one damn thing to make HIS life better. Secretly I adored him from the moment I met him, but through those years I don’t recall ever telling him that or saying thank you for all that he’d done for me.
More recently after my youngest was born and he had moved continents he was still involved. Without missing a step he promptly ‘ adopted’ The Diva as his grandchild and began the loving process all over again.
He sends her presents, chats to her on skype, writes postcards and generally plays grandad to perfection.
When he came to visit recently The Diva had just lost her grandpa and was a little uncomfortable calling my ‘father outlaw’ (never married his son), grandad. She thought that Grampa would feel sad and think she’d forgotten him, so we discussed his role in our lives. He was like an uncle and very much like a grandad, so we put the two together and came up with his new name and title – Gruncle!
When she met him in the flesh for the first time it was love at first sight, for both of them. Gruncle was supernaturally patient with her particular brand of Diva, and she recognised his love and joy and wouldn’t leave him alone for a second.
I have now learnt to tell him how special he is to us all, but in case I didn’t do a good enough job, here goes:
You are one of the kindest men I have ever had the honour of knowing.Your loyalty and generosity over the years has quite honestly rendered me speechless. I appreciate your friendship, your love, your patience. Your sense of humour is second to none and your intelligence has provided many an interesting learning experience over the decades.
Thank you for all that you’ve done for myself and my girls. I’m truly sorry for the times I didn’t show my love and appreciation.
I consider you my friend and my father all in one and I’m so proud to know you.
I love and respect you, always have, always will – you are a wonderful man, thank you