Despite both of my offspring being in adulthood for a few years now, like most parents I still attempt to make myself available for guidance, mentoring or just a good old fashioned chat where we rip the p**s out of each other.
Over the twentysomething years Jonny and Rachel have resided in this dysfunctional universal portal (incidentally, that’s planet Earth not chez Strachan), it’s given me immense pride to see them flourish into adults who greet people with a trademark smile. Bright young individuals whose existences make time for humanity, humour and selflessness.
In times of reflection, I occasionally mull over what my legacy to them will be. I’d hope they’d judge it to be a happy/secure childhood, support during adulthood and teaching them that whistling languages needn’t be irritating. Although the latter might be an objective too far…… Saying that though, two outta three ain’t bad, I suppose.
I think it’s fair to say my whistling language is an acquired taste. To clarify, since they were very young until the present day, I’ve tried to ‘entertain’ them by occasionally reverting to a speaking style where I whistle through my teeth every time I pronounce the letter ‘s’.
It’s a strategy that has not always borne fruit, in fact if I’m honest neither Jonny or Rachel have ever been enamoured with my specialist tooting skills. It never had the success of making them laugh in the way it did when I started speaking words of two syllables while simultaneously belching…… It’s not easy, try it!
To my wife’s chagrin, our primary school aged kid’s loved my uncouth novelty act. She found it particularly galling that Jonny and Rach would regularly attempt to replicate my feat.
I developed this odious skill while mimicking a work colleague. A man who would buy four cans of coke on nightshift just so he could to hear his raucous burps resonate around the predominantly empty building. He was so adept at the act could say the word university in tandem with belching. As I could only manage two syllables in parallel to burping, I was truly in awe of this.
Unperturbed though, I refused to be discouraged. Holding onto my aspirations that with practise, one day I’d have the ability to say longer Welsh railway station names than Rhyl, whilst simultaneously bolking. My key motivation for the hard work required was the knowledge I’d be a hero to the kids if I could achieve that level of unrefinement.
Conscious of the high sugar levels in the soda, I was under a lot of pressure to become adroit at this art before my teeth rotted…… Or I ended up with diabetes….. Or indeed both.
Sadly, I never got to the heights of achievement I strove for with the art of my belching/talking mashup. My interest dwindling after a hair-raising incident during an intense practise session. A fraught experience, where I got the breathing out of kilter, causing me to choke so violently I coughed up a fur ball.
Consequently, I never got to see the same look of admiration displayed on my young kid’s faces on meeting my colleague, The Belchmaster. The youngsters were spellbound to be in the presence of somebody who possessed the wherewithal to utter the word university in tandem to burping raucously……. It turned out to be a costly day for my workmate, spending over £5 on soda to repeatedly demonstrate this gross skill to Jonny and Rach.
If nothing else, my wife Karen was relieved when I drew a line under my inappropriate new pastime. She was even more elated that the kids soon forgot the uncouth act I’d taught them.
As I alluded to earlier, my whistling language never floated the kid’s boat. Or to be honest was embraced favourably by anyone, apart from garden birds such as huffinches and sea budgies.
They had a greater appreciation for my art, often congregating on our patio table to converse with me; even extending an offer for me to become their leader. It was a proposal I politely declined though, as the wage of as much millet spray as I could eat didn’t appeal.
What will be my legacy to my children? ……. Only time will tell, I suppose.
One thing for sure though, I’m going to make sure they avoid becoming the leader of our garden huffinches and sea budgies…… Unless, of course, they acquire a taste for millet spray!
2 kids who've flown the nest, 1 wife whose flown with Jet2. Born at a young age in 1960's Leeds, the author became interested in the literary life when his wife bought him a dog. Having an allergy to dogs, he swapped it for a typewriter. Being unable to train the typewriter to retrieve tennis balls, he reluctantly turned to writing...... Website - www.writesaidfred.org