My Dad and Susie’s Dad are first cousins and Susie and I go back a rather long way. I have a photo somewhere of her Dad holding me as a baby, under one arm and my Dad holding her under one arm..quite casually ..as if we were groceries. There are no other parental figures around which is not a good sign as our Dads were constantly ‘up to no good’. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were just about to play some prank where in public they would pretend to be meeting for the first time and then decide to swap babies.
‘What does your do?’
‘Not much yet..but if you feed it it might eventually start talking. It’s a bit expensive though.’
‘Mines a bit heavy…want to swap?’
Once, when Susie and I were about 7 years old, I stayed over at their house in Golders Green in London. In the morning her Dad asked us what we wanted for breakfast. We, having been up all night working on our naughtiness, began to shout lunatic orders at him. ‘We want..apples! And we want..chicken! And we want..coke! And we want…pickles! And we want…..chocolate! And we want ….whiskey!’ This last from me in a true attempt to shock him. A seven year old demanding whiskey for breakfast? I thought he would faint but oh nooo, not Susie’s dad. Five minutes later, without batting an eyelid, he had purloined everything we had requested from the fridge and set it up on the breakfast table instead of our usual cereal and toast. He’d even, to Susie’s mum’s consternation, tipped drops of whiskey into tiny glasses. Then he insisted we ate ..everything. I laughed so much I stopped making any sound….just lay on the floor clutching my stomach in silent uproar. And that was breakfast!
I loved staying with them.
Susie has her Dad’s sense of the ridiculous and her Mum’s thoughtful intellect. Both attributes as I am sure you can see from her posts have been essential in her survival as career mum and blogger.
I flew over the pond from Cambridge UK recently to see see Susie in New York and her folks took the train down from Philly for the day. Susie’s dad has transferred his fabulous and lunatic parenting skills to grand-parenting skills. He and B form an irrepressible ,hyper energised vortex while the serene baby S looks on with her lovely azure eyes. After decimating a seafood restaurant we traverse Chelsea with Susie’s dad haring off with B, shrieking with joy, in the push chair and Susie’s mum trying to guide me (I am visually impaired and use my cane..especially in New York where it doubles as light sabre) and point out relevant architecture at the same time.
Susie’s other half has long since gone back to work..with what looked strangely like relief to me.
We arrive back at the apartment looking as if we have just been battling tornados but there is still something called ‘bath time’ to get through. I am handed a glass of wine and told to stand well back and Susie’s dad rolls up his sleeves and wades in (literally) to douse B whilst Susie tackles the baby.
Half an hour later Susie’s dad is asleep on a chair, still soggy but blanketed in towels. B and S, pristinely clean and fresh nappied (sorry diapered) are asleep in bed and cot, Susie’s mum and the dog are out shopping for biodegradable trash bags and finally Susie and I sit, in the sudden calm, side by side on the couch and sip wine.
‘Have you ever thought about having kids?’ she asks.
I look around at the blasted room littered with towels, clean diapers, pacifiers, toys and snoring grandparent.
‘Not recently’, I say.
‘No kidding!’ she says. ‘More wine?’