Tuesday, 25 November 2008


At Mass this Sunday we crept in late (girls night, just got back) and sat on the crap seats at the back. They are crap because one's back becomes unbearably hot due to radiator right behind the seat, and one person at the end of the bench has to sit with head constantly bowed (looking very holy) because, inexplicably, there is a lectern stowed there, forcing the devoted one to lean forward 45 degrees in a prayerful pose.
We settled down to the usual quiet cacophony of 'Shhh.'
'Will you be quiet and sit down.'
'Take your coat off if you are hot.'
'Leave your coat on if you're cold.'
All spoken with skill and dexterity of experienced ventriloquist; through side of mouth, with sharp expulsion of air, and minimum of sound. I am a master, or rather, mistress of this skill.
Kick off with a Resounding Hymn. My husband sang Very Loudly. He didn't really know the tune, but had a really good go.
We stood, sat, knelt, and did all the right things. Only a limited amount of Bottom Scratching (why do boys need to have a good scratch in public?) and Persistent Whispering going on.
Then it was time for the sermon. We settled ourselves down. Children swinging legs and picking noses. Their own. My daughter and I noticed an utterly sweet little girl, a couple of rows ahead, asleep on her father's lap.
'That is so sweet,' whispered my daughter.
'You were like that' I tell her. She looks at me and you can see her thinking.
'Oh,' she says. And does that little shrug she does when she's pleased.
We sit and listen.
Two rows down, where the little girl is asleep, the father slowly gets up, turns around and grins maniacally at all of us. We grin back. Not really getting the joke. He lifts the little girl high into his arms, and does the 'Excuse me, sorry, so sorry,' thing all down his row. We all look. He gets to the end and starts up towards us, still with the rictus grin. We all grin back, our facial muscles starting to ache.
Then we see it.
His entire left trouser leg is soaking wet. And steaming.
He staggers past us with little girl slowly waking up. With his grin still plastered to his face, now red with exertion and embarrassment, he sidles past us and out of the door. I try to show him my total support and sympathy in my returning smile. I hope I didn't look horribly scary, like Matron in Carry on Nursing. You know, all pursued lips and mascara.
We looked at the door from time to time as we heard signs of a cleaning up process going on outside.
'Look darling, let Daddy wipe his leg.'
'Yes, we will change your pants but Daddy needs to make his trousers less wet.'
It was fascinating. Just a little more fascinating than... golly, what was the sermon about?
Back came Daddy. We all craned our neck to see what he would be wearing.
The same. But just a little less steamy.
A huge, Europe shaped gash of damp all over his left leg. It had even seeped round the back. Child with bare legs and clean pants. We know because she didn't like the colour. We heard through the door.
He grinned some more. We grinned back.
Down the row he went. Sorry, Excuse me, so sorry. And sat down.
And cuddled his little daughter close.
What a hero.
I love being a parent now. Because you get men like that. Totally there for their children and totally up for all the embarrassment that goes with parenthood.
Just like my husband.
My Hero.


Kitty said...

Awww, what a lovely story. It makes me feel all warm and slushy - a bit like the man's trouser leg. It's lovely to see people enjoy being parents isn't it? I was sat on the bed with my two earlier - they were fresh from showers, with wet hair, and were larking around. I thought 'this is sooooo lovely' just being there, all together, laughing and 'being'.

Not that you needed to know that, nor that it's particularly relevant. Just sayin'.


Ladybird World Mother said...

Kitty - I so need to know that. I love that feeling and we are lucky, hey, to be able to have it. I so agree, so nice when people enjoy being parents. Thanks for lovely comment.

Lois said...

Yay for good daddys! You wouldnt have viewed that scene you wrote about years ago. Not that daddies werent good years ago, just seems that nowadays daddies can be so much more (like you say) 'there'.
My kids had one of those, and now I see my son carrying a diaper bag of his own changing his baby girl right out in the open with not a hint of embarrasment. It is good, but I couldnt have said it better than you did. Great post!
Off to check out the rest of your blog.

Exmoorjane said...

Oh you tell a good story, m'dear....beautifully written and very dear. Only time we went to proper (Catholic) church with our son he writhed and squirmed and we convinced the entire priesthood and congregation that Damian of The Omen was in the front pew.....they nearly threw holy water on him.
Anyhow, I digress. Big thanks for your lovely comments. If we are dollelgangers we must never meet because then, allegedly, we would die and leave our children motherless (which in my case would probably be a blessing to the poor mite).
Have come perilously close to Giving Up Blogging (yes, I'm fond of inadvertent Caps too) on many occasions but now manage to spit out the odd one now and then. Truly you are too too kind.

imbeingheldhostage said...

THAT is a sexy guy. Seriously, move over Hugh Jackman, there's nothing more attractive than a dad being patient with his child.
What a great post!

East Anglian Troy said...

I changed a nappy. Once. Does that make a hero?

Zoë said...

Cute story - and agree entirely that the man is a HERO. we need more Dads like him.

My two are off at Uni now, costing a mint, and having a wonderful time. Assistance usually involves phones calls along the lines of Mum ... there's a trip to Paris, New York, San Franscisco .... can I go? (delete as appropriate and translate it as will you pay?)

Thanks for your comments on my blog, I do worry about Xmas, I always want t get it so right for my kids albiet they are 19 and 20 now - but I havent the energy just now and they have promised to understand if we get the streamlined version!

I'll be back to read more , I enjoyed your words.

Zoë x

Vodka Mom said...

that was a great post. thanks!!!

The Dotterel said...

Yeah, let's hear it for the dads! I'm delighted we've now got permission to be full-on parents; I'd have hated it, years ago, if I'd only had a minor role.

Tattie Weasle said...

Know so many variants of this story and each and every man in them is a hero - until he leaves the washing up for me to do after he's been 'helping' me in the kitchen!
Thank you so much for you comments! I have had a lovely break from work perusing your blog - brilliant!

Ladybird World Mother said...

Lois - how brilliant it must be to see your son doing the same... down to some good mothering too, I would say, girl!
Exmoorjane - have just read your post and seen my lovely award! Thank you hugely. Dont you dare give up blogging, not now I can go to your blog for cosy time with cup of tea, and then need rest after stomach so sore from laughing.
imbeingheldhostage - you are so right. Dead sexy! This guy in church was attracting so many admiring looks from all the mums! So funny. Wife was sitting there too, looking peaceful, despite wet legged husband.
Troy - you are my Blog Hero. Who else was there to teach me emoticons?
Zoe - you cant streamline love, girl, and I bet those big kids of yours will just love what you do anyway. Save all your energy for the good bits of Christmas.
Vodka mom - thanks for dropping by!
The Dotterel - must have been awful in old days for dads who wanted to do more but it was deemed women's work. I reckon we live in a good time, despite shit happening around the globe. Parents can do it together, and that makes fab children!
Tattie Weasel - thank you for your lovely comment... and glad you have a hero... despite lack of washing up involvement! Lets hope he's a brilliant cook and its worth it...

Suburbia said...

I love that he's still your hero :)

Ladybird World Mother said...

Just. Clinging by his finger nails... No, not really, Husband is not just my hero, but my rock too. I am very lucky.

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia.

Loved this post.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Very well told story! I especially like the remark about your own children picking their own noses...how impolite if they would have picked each others! LOL That Dad you observed is indeed a special man:)

Ladybird World Mother said...

david mcmahon - thanks so much for dropping by, liking what you read, and saying so on your blog!! How nice is that. Thank you.
far side of fifty - the thought of nose picking is bad enough, but other people's....YUCK. So had to clear that up in post. He was very special dad... no sign of him this week...we all trooped off hoping for a replay. Most disappointing.

Louise said...

I love to hear about a good hero. Sometimes I think I have the only one. There are at least two more! Hurray! Well-told.

Over from Authorblog.

Anonymous said...

Great story. What a Dad.

Sandi McBride said...

Oh my...our boys had such a dad...lucky me.
Here from David's
Congrats on the Post of the Day comment!

Ladybird World Mother said...

Louise - how nice to see you! Glad to hear you have a hero too. How good is that. They make life good, eh?!
Moannie - Truly a great dad. We looked for him again this sunday but no luck. Think he was just visiting. Shame!
Sandi McBride - this is so nice... seeing how many people have such a dad/husband. Thank you for lovely comment!