Those of you who know me well will, perhaps, be slightly surprised by this news given my evident lack of children. But then, that's the thing about "second time around". Not only are you hopefully a bit better for the lessons you learned from a previous failure (in my case), but you benefit from the experiences of your new life partner.
Apart from the obvious general loveliness that is Ros, there are my two stepchildren, to whom I have become the evil stepfather they never knew they needed. In fairness, they've been generous and welcoming, which is not always how these things go. And now, there is a granddaughter.
And, despite my total lack of experience of small children - and at this point, I ought to reflect that I wasn't the best of uncles to my nephew and nieces (it's a long story which gains little value in the telling) - I have been surprised at how much fun this grandfathering has been.
It is early days, I acknowledge, and having spent six days with her, I suspect that it won't always be quite so blissful, but it is amazing how quickly you feel a sense of protectiveness towards a small person. It was certainly worth travelling more than three thousand miles for.
I even have my official grandfathering mug, designed so that I have tea whilst administering valuable advice on which way up to hold up a plastic star so that it fits through the hole in the top of the box it is stored in, or whether raspberries are more appropriate to the season than blueberries (the answer, by the way, appears to be "hardly ever"). It also has my official "grandfather name" on it, which will remind me who am I as I am overtaken by the inevitable "senior moments".
It is, I guess, a factor of modern life that with families more far flung than hitherto, that more grandparenting is in two dimensions rather than three, something which at least comes more naturally to me, with a family scattered across twenty time zones on four continents. But, it must be said, it's better in person...
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