Friday, 8 March 2013

cats in the cradle

In 1984 had you told me that I'd love nothing more than having a good old chat and hanging out with my Fantastico Dad, I'd have shot you down in flames. I'm not going to lie to you - things weren't always so good. Let's just say Fantastico Dad was pretty strict. Homework as soon as I got in, early bedtimes, not allowed to watch soap operas (this was at the dawn of Eastenders and Neighbours was riding high!), relentless curfews, and no posters of white bands on my wall.  That is so another blogpost. Believe. Dad was the law and DadLaw won. Everytime.

My life as a teenager didn't compute with FD - I knew what I wanted (to play football, marry Bryan Robson, and hang out with my bezzy all day), he wanted me to be the first Black orchestral pianist, the female Daley Thompson, and to be the first one in our family to go to University.  Well 1 out of 3 ain't bad. I go to Uni...I know, dull, right. ages 14-19 I don't think I was easy to be around, especially for ma and pa.

Then of course mater disappeared. Please don't think I'm being crass about the passing of my mother - she is (I presume) creating merry hell somewhere, just not on this side of her life. Yeah, that's another blogspot too...someday.

But as always with Mother Nature playing her generation game tricks, along comes motherhood and suddenly I get it. Raising the 3G I'm already planning the curfew talks, installing security lights all around the house - especially outside upstairs bedroom window exits, and hasn't anyone invented the child microchip yet?  Short of buying a shot gun, I am well prepared for horny trouser pests in the form of spotty teeny boys.  It's not just being a mama; I was a teacher first and those kids need reigning in. I'm all for developing confidence and independence, but they have no idea what scents they give off at all.  And that's where the trouble starts.

So now I get it FD, I get it. My heart sinks when MiddleS tells me she wants to be Barbie when she grows up - not the brown Barbies I hunt across eBay to find, oh no the thin, blond, sapphire eyed, pouty, too much leg on show Barbie.  So out come the brown dolls by the barrel. Suddenly the Caribbean heritage that I had shunned in my youth is now paramount our family life - in conjunction with GeordieLad's Northern roots, I appreciate and understand why we need to know who we are.  The plans for world domination with the 3G are being drawn as we speak, maybe this is where I pick up where FD got down?

My fight is a little different though. The world is more culture savvy now. London can handle a bit of mixed heritage and the 3G will grow up with role models who look like them. And best of all, they have 3 Grandparents around them who will provide a fortress around the one that we have built. They are doubly loved - something I didn't have.

Every Christmas or family gathering we go to, it sinks in that little bit deeper that we are no longer the playing generation; the generation that get to run around the kitchen table and open the most presents. That's passed on. We are now the hosting generation; the generation who take the coats and make cups of tea when people arrive. And like FantasticoDad, I am trying my best to raise these women - I won't get it right but through talking with GeordieLad and others, we'll muddle through with the understanding that things will keep changing (and probably gonna get worse for a while there).

The big lesson I have learnt from the FD and I hope I can hang on and remember when the time comes is that parents aren't always right, and that children are not ours to keep. And if we loosen the apron strings at the right time, they are more likely to return to the fold more often than if we keep tight reins for too long.

Goodnight London, wherever you are.

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