David Moseley

I am become dad

2014-10-17 11:32

David Moseley

I suppose we all try and avoid it, but at some stage you end up, if not becoming exactly like one your parents, displaying symptoms of hereditary inheritance you’d rather not have – the ticks, twitches and weird habits you previously mocked.

For instance, my friend Justin has lately developed a severe dislike for sitting in traffic, driving long distances (which to him means anything over 5km from his front door) and mumbling quietly to himself during rugby matches – traits that he now shares with his father even though he denies it.

Normally, I would mock him about these midlife developments, but people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  

When I was kid my dad would spend endless hours toiling in his garden, attempting to get his one pitiful rosebush to flower. The soil was not conducive for flourishing roses, but he did his damndest to get it going.

On Saturdays and Sundays he’d fuss with his sickly plant all day, taking great pride when one pathetic bud appeared.

To celebrate he’d wander off to the kitchen and return in nothing but his running shorts, holding a cold beer in one hand and a box of firelighters in the other. The fire was lit for the braai and he would sit down as the sun set to take in his day’s gardening endeavours.

Without fail, at that exact moment, as my poor long-suffering dad surveyed his flowerless kingdom, the cat would be chewing on the lone bud, or the soccer game that had been raging in the garden all morning would culminate in a dramatic finish that included my brother storming through the flowerbeds, my chum Gavin diving in for the tackle, and my dad’s face crumpling as he realised his rosebush was about to be crushed yet again thanks to a powerful garden soccer challenge.

Steven and Gavin would stand up, dust themselves off, walk over to my dad and say, “Hey Trevor, what’s up? When’s dinner?”, as my dad stared blankly at his mangled plant.

And wouldn’t you know it, but history does repeat itself in a way. A few weeks ago I decided that my garden needed some colour.

I declared emphatically to Robyn that I was off to the nursery to get some plants. She raised her eye above her iPad, looked at the dog, looked at me and offered a dry, “good luck.”

I came home with bright purple plants, red plants, yellow plants and started digging. I carefully placed my colourful collection around the edges of the grass with the dog watching dispassionately from the patio. “This is going to look great,” I said to Rocket. “Bark,” came her knowing reply.

With the sun setting and the garden resembling at the very least a 1996 edition of House & Home, I went in for a shower, came back out and stood to survey my handiwork.

At that moment I realised I was standing in nothing but my running shorts with a fire just lit behind me. I had beer in one hand and the dog was tearing into the freshly laid flowerbed. Rocket looked up, gave a wink and barked, “This one’s for Trevor.”

My dad turned 60 this week and, short of a physical gift, there’s nothing better I could give him than finally admitting that we are a little bit alike. Which isn’t such a bad thing.

Happy birthday, old man.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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