DEAR CHAP

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I love you but I don’t know who you are.
I hope to see you in 17 weeks.

My wife at 20 weeks, Crete, August ’12.

Dear Chap,
I love you but I don’t know who you are.
I hope to see you in 17 weeks. Please be prompt, but not too prompt. That would be rude to your mother.
You feel pretty feisty though. Feisty is good.
I know you’re a boy, and you look healthy on a screen.
I try to prepare myself in case you’re ill when you arrive or if you don’t make it.
That’s a lie. I’m not thinking about that. You’ll be fine. How do people cope? But anyway, you’re fine. Everything is fine.
Your Mum loves you very much too and is very happy.
She radiates motherly strength and I stare at her when she doesn’t know I’m looking.
I think of you both and I feel the pain of wanting you two to always be happy and healthy and knowing it can’t go on forever.
You’ve been kind to her so far, and I’m thankful.
I just get scared because I’ve loved your Mum so long. I hope you’ll understand one day.

There was a time I never thought I’d fall in love.
Hell, there was a time I never thought the Action Man stickers would arrive from Kelloggs. I have to wait 28 days??! MUuummmm!
Never get rid of these NHS specs.
Never thought I’d not get picked last in footy.
Never kiss a girl.
Win a (plastic shiny) trophy.
See boobs. Real ones. Big ones.
Pass my exams.
Leave that beige angry village for the indifferent city.
Take drugs.
Get a job.
Man up.
Have a gun put to my head.
Wear a suit.
Get a job I liked.
Buy a house.
Wear a suit that fitted.
Get married and say it was the greatest day of my life and mean it.
Start my own company.
Have a baby.

You put one foot in front of the other and somehow dreams become real. Mistakes happen but you get over them.
Those stupid domestic aspirations of others become yours, and you realise we’re all the same and those stupid aspirations are wonderful.

I’ll try not to live my dreams vicariously through you.
Your beginnings are your own and your mistakes yours to make.
Just make them count.
You might turn out bigger than me, stronger, weaker, wider, better, harder, fearful, hateful, loving, musical, mathematical, problematical.

I just hope you’re ok little fella.

Everyone laughs and says I’ll turn you into a cyclist, now I know its a boy.
I hope I never turn you into anything.
And anyway, I’d get you on a bike as soon as you could stand if you were a girl, or boy!
You’ll be surrounded by cycling. You won’t be able to avoid talk of lugs, tales of swashbuckling on the cobbles and sad sad stories of the time we had mechanical gears.
Your Dad lives off it. It’s his nectar and joy.
Humour him. The old fool.
You may end up reacting against the two-wheeled yawnfest and do something weird like rugby or playing the harp or throwing chips at passing buses.
You might ride with me and we might laugh and sprint for signs.
I’d like that.
I hope I can keep myself healthy so I can pass on what I know and love your face as you squint against the wind, smiling and gulping in the pleasure of effort.

But most of all I hope you find love and become a passionate, genuine, kind-hearted man.
I will teach you to define your masculinity by your moral strength.
I hope pride won’t cloud your judgement.

To never give up.
To take the hard road where others are weak, and to help them.

Look, I want you to be strong of will, not of quad.
Then its up to you.

There’s a bike waiting for you if you want it.
See you soon.
Stay safe.

Love Dad. Nearly.

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