09 May 2003

Kidz (2)

09 May 2003

Arriving home from Exmouth, at around seven on the Friday evening, I'm greeted by cries of "Hooray!! Felix is back!!" There's something very humbling about the unrestrained, unconditional love of a child. Liam, now five, is staying the night while his parents go out; Richard is off on an unaccompanied six month posting, shortly.

I shall be leaving early in the morning, so I shall see little of him (and Jan will carry most of the load). So, instead of taking off my jacket and shoes, I ask if he would like to go for a walk with me? He looks up at me and says, very solemnly, as if he were the adult and I the child, "We can't go for a walk at this time of night!".

I look out of the window, at the warm golden flood of sunlight still bathing the trees and houses. Sunset is nearly two hours away - and even after that, it will not be dark for some time. I think of how reluctant I would have been, when I was his age, to stay inside for even a moment on such a day.

Liam's definition of 'night' seems to be anything after his evening meal.

A few minutes later, after humorous chiding from Jan, he changes his mind. I put my shoes back on. We walk through the park, along the beach, play on the swings. He enjoys it with unreserved enthusiasm. And yet, recounting his doings to his parents the following day, he doesn't call it 'a walk'; he says "...and Felix took me on a midnight adventure!"

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