Dad came to collect him and democracy was restored. I went from a co-starring spot to a supporting role in double-jig time. Once the UN building had been built, all focus was on what time Dad’s plane was landing. He even started packing although they wouldn’t fly for two more days. We have that in common. I like to start packing to come home days ahead of time yet I don’t pack to leave until the last minute. Wonder what the shrinks would say about that?
Tuesday was shaping up to be a groundhog day. He wanted to take Dad to the Goatherder to have some lemonade, and then to the zoo to check up on the seals. But it was raining and not a zoo day. I’d suggested the Planetárium but it didn’t fly. And had I been on my own, I’d have caved and gone back to the zoo – again. But Dad was there. And democracy, as I said, had been restored. He was outvoted, 2:1 and we headed to Népliget to see the stars. I felt a strange sense of guilt mixed with satisfaction – for once I’d gotten my way and as my negotiating skills are severely lacking, this was a first all week. Indeed, who is the bigger child.
[They’ve a wonderful TWAN photo exhibition that’s really worth checking out – and English-language 3D shows scheduled twice a week. And it’s cheaper to bring a child than to go as an adult – can’t quite work that one out – but hey – it was worth the money, regardless.]
They left yesterday. The place is very quiet without the echoing calls of ‘May-ree?’ My hearing is slowly being declassified from RED ALERT to NORMAL. I don’t have to listen out for him any more, or think about eating, or wonder what to do today. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad to have my flat back to myself – I like my space – I like my silence. But there’s a hole there. And it’s an odd sort of hole. One that will take a little thinking on.
This was my first adult experience of responsibility, of dependency, of unconditional affection and all the things that are mixed up in adult/child relationships. I liked the constant stream of consciousness, even if jumping from Irish beef export sales to our Taoiseach Enda Kenny being a muppet to the origins of coffee did take some getting used to. I liked the unfettered displays of emotion – the sulks, the smiles, the rants, the belly laughs – all spontaneous and pure without thought or agenda. I liked the future talk – what I want to do, what I want to be, where I want to go – as yet devoid of cynicism and not limited by conscious expectations. I liked the fact that everything was possible; if it could be imagined, then it could happen.
Most of all though, I liked the fact that I’m an aunt, not a parent. My responsibility ends here. This time. And yes, he can come again. Next time, I might have a better idea of what I’m doing. I might even be a little more relaxed about it all.