Everyone grows up. Eventually our sculpted sense of individualism forms and shapes from our lessons learned, experiences had and feelings felt. My family always told me that I had grown up too quickly having the life of an average 30 year old man, but I think that some people are just old souls. It was close to summertime and it had been nearly six months since the last time I saw my little Angel, but I couldn’t help but remind myself how much longer it could have been, the circumstances being the best of a worse situation, I now was looking forward to two whole months with my daughter.
As the days to her arrival grew closer I slowly filled with nervousness and excitement as I went through the motions of setting up a child’s paradise consisting of Disney bed sheets, teddy bears dotted around the place, and an abundance of toys neatly arranged waiting to be dispersed around the living room floor. Before I knew it the day had come, nervous and dry mouthed I joined the crowed surrounding the only gate in Kerry airport and waited, then like a person arriving home to find a secret but expected surprise party, my emotions intensified as six months of growth walked sturdily through caught sight of me and smiled.
Adjusting was quick, never being the kind of person to enforce routine it naturally took its own place consisting of a little voice early in the morning requesting breakfast which would be followed by a well structured day. Although the environment was nearly an exact opposite of the concrete jungle of London, entertainment was still in abundance from magical fairy walks through woodland parks to pebble beach walks down the pier and nearest beaches. The occasional trip to the playground was also had but nearly always included an ice cream due to the strategic locating of super value.
The weather was mostly poor for the two months. However there was one day in particular that I reckon my little girl won’t forget, a glorious day at Derrynan beach. We arrived at the beach early as if it was a once in a life time opportunity, appreciating the gorgeous weather whilst respecting it with sunscreen, my daughters face like that of Christmas morning upon discovering soft white sand and blue sea up to the horizon. I started to set up camp whilst distantly listening to the odd remarks from my friend and daughter who then quickly pointed out the full sized dead goat lying just a few feet away.
It was at this point we decided to move to another location. After about fifty instantly destroyed sand castles we tucked into sandy crisps and sandy biscuits, a healthy lunch but what the heck I had grown up on beach lunches and I am still alive. The sea was not too warm as this had been the first day of sunshine in a long time but we still managed to nip in and out of the cool ocean getting the most out of the seaside. Finally the evening was drawing closer and absolutely exhausted, cold, wet, sandy and un-comfy we set off on the long journey back to Kenmare.
Most evenings where spent at my mother’s, a proud granny, I sometimes think that she got more delight from Angel’s visit than me, but then again grannies don’t have to say no to their grandchildren as they’ve been the bad guy already, and over the space of just the two months my little girl had now acquired a set of friends that would appear at different times of the day and enjoy the company of Angelika and her sand pit that I had set up as the most effective distraction device for two year olds.
I often wondered if the parents of the slightly older children ever questioned their whereabouts as they seemed to play about in the sand for hours without hail. As the weeks flew past I slowly without choice memorized the words to many SpongeBob Square Pants episodes, a dozen nursery rhymes and various children’s books. For the majority of my daughter’s stay I am proud to say that the term terrible two’s did not apply as bedtimes and meal times were met with full cooperation with the odd exception of late evenings and other times where tiredness had taken its toll.
Finally the end of summer or an era as it felt to me had come, it was time to make the one day intense journey over to England and deposit the little bundle of joy that had just made my summer the best one to date. There was no time to be upset about it I thought to myself as my mother got teary-eyed saying goodbye as we sat into our chariot awaiting to be couriered to the airport.
I sometimes think children have an amazing power to turn into little adults and ooze confidence as there was not one peep for the whole journey except for little madam comments whilst on the plane informing me of the other baby that was crying, shouting and making a fuss. I was so proud and delighted to be travelling with the most well behaved two year old I’ve ever met. Upon arrival to Stanstead we set of on our mile long walk. My little girl, oblivious to my own choked emotions, gripped onto my head tight as I carried her on my shoulders for what would be the last time for a while, the lack of a buggy an awkward blessing that kept us close.
Once again I got to see the expression of Christmas morning in my daughter’s eyes as she saw her greatly missed mother, and then like some top secret exchange brief and quick we parted ways – one little girl excited to be on her way home and one broken man. Stony-faced as I went through airport security for the second time in just a few hours I kept telling myself how it gets easier every time I have to say goodbye, but it doesn’t.