It is true that I must simply learn to accept situations and move on. Allow people such as my father to bed down in their chosen roles, as limited and disappointing as they may be. I will, I am.
The undue focus on grandparents and expectations derives I think from my concept of this as a formative period for those relationships, where certain unknowns (the relationships of each grandparent, or other close relative, with my children and with us as a parental unit) are being shaped. There is a vague analogy with that early period in the lead up to our wedding, where I was determined to do my best to iron out any bugs and get things settled well before the big date. In that case it largely worked, the entire familial constellation came on board and things went well.
Now it's on a far larger scale; we, and the various grandrellos, are building this new set of relationships that will carry forward for decades.
My mother has given my father a bit of a bucketing, but ultimately it will be up to him to decide whether he digs himself into an isolated rut. When he sookily suggested she visit us on her own for Christmas, she responded that she might not come home, a threat that, which although a concerning prospect from our end, was a very reasonable response from a woman who has put up with a hell of a lot over the years.
We will survive and move on, putting time back into those who are willing to put time into us, and in particular the kids. It's just inevitably sad if some choose to be disengaged.
On our recent visit, there was a moment when his barriers were at their lowest, when my father and Bear played on the grass, he was blowing bubbles for her to try and catch, she ran around in circles, giggling and flailing about, they did this for several minutes, she loved the game, and the attention, he clearly enjoyed it too, and it was like the curtain at the back of the stage tore and behind was another scene, the alternate possibility, a grandfather opening up and having fun again they way he once did with me.
The man who taught me to catch a fish, to climb steep cliff walls in Kakadu, to bowl a leg spinner. Letting go and allowing the simple joy of playing with his grandkids to take over.
I know I can't force that but it's just sad. A tear opened in the fabric that day, I saw another possibility, then it closed again, and now he seems determined to sew it up again for the long haul.
A new New Deal? - I’ll be talking to the Fabian Society in Melbourne on Wednesday night, looking at the failure of neoliberalism and options for a new “New Deal”.
3 hours ago