There were times they needed me for reasons as obvious as the oxygen we breathe. And the time will come soon that they will leave the nest and it will be me that needs them. But I will stay silent and hope they visit me sometimes.
And I will remember the old times, in between my tea-time coffee and bedtime coffee and readying the hot water bottle. I will remember schoolnight looks of homework despair, weekend chats about things important and not so important, and the unconvincing explanations why the jacket smells of smoke, but its probably my nose is old and infested. But I will stay silent and hope they phone me once in a while.
I fear my silence is a sacrifice to the greater good, for I know that they will have lives to lead, I hope. So I imagine there is real silence, a lack of noise, exuberance, energy, the silence will not only be mine.
Turning the telly on will be no substitute for a boy shut in the room and the annoying ungrateful murmurings of a 'bad'-'sick'-'dope' drum-base beat competing with a telly, my telly. A kettle boiling contentedly will not replace a daughter remonstrations of child labour slavery and that she cannot make a cup of tea because she has despairing homework to do.
I will deep down be happy in my silence, that touch wood, touch my brain and touch my heart, they will be good in the future. I hope they will have followed my good points, the better things I said, the timely jokes that caused a smile of weepy face, good advice on bully posturing that made tomorrow ok, an acceptance that all kids canot get straight 'A's, a cheering to the heavens when a kid gets an 'A', making a nice of cuppa tea to help with the homework that she should have made for me by all things a tea-drinking adult needs by reasons of age and wisdom.
On the otherhand, I hope they have also laid bare my bad and forgiven my odd bad call, or to be honest calls. The days when the wisdom seemed witless, my being human sometimes meant getting it wrong. And I hope silently they forgive me a little and forget a lot.
And when their time comes to be the best Mum and Dad, they will do it better than me and my grandkids, perhaps, do it better than they.
A long time ago, my father of modest means and modest manner, boasted of me to a friend, a colleague, a man walking down a street; I was the boy with a brain, his boy with a brain, about to enter the hallowed turf of a University, see, and he embarrassed me so.
Afterwards I asked why the bloody hell? or perhaps even in less appropriate words.
And he explained it.... I somehow proved he was not that dull boy that became a dull man, that his labourer's hands had suggested and that his friend, colleague, and man in the street had mocked, as labourers do over a tea, a tea break once too often, a pint, a pint too many.
Time to pass on the mojo torch to the next generation.