When I was young, I always had this vision
Of me, in my old age, sitting in a cottage garden,
At a rickety wooden table, wife and children by my side,
And dogs running around the lawn.
As it turns out, I don’t much care for dogs,
Only for cats and people.
That cottage never materialised either,
But the children and the wife did,
Even though, at times, they seemed an impossibility,
And even though I am not now that kindly patriarch
The stories, and my father, told me I should and would be.
It’s best that way.
Just imagine what I would never have learned
If I was always the strongest,
If mine was always the last word,
If women were not equal or more in my world,
If everyone looked up to me rather than just at me.
Just imagine what I would have missed
If we had never shouted or cried or laughed together,
If we had never agreed and never agreed to differ,
And never chosen our own ways and roads,
Our own ideas and consequences,
If we had never been brave enough to lead our own lives.
That cottage would have been a boring place indeed,
A prison and a gravestone,
But never a milestone on the long journey we all should travel.
So I’m glad you’re there,
And I’m here,
Glad you’re at the beginning
While I’m still in the middle,
Finding my way just as much as you are.
For Charlotte on her birthday.