The countdown had begun to our son Timothy’s return from Australia, after being away for nine months. February 23rd, 23.10, at Dublin airport, was embedded in my mind as the date, time and place where I’d pick him up.
Yesterday’s ‘story’ was that my eldest daughter, Chloe, was on a days leave and was planning to spend it in Dublin since her husband, Stephen, would be there on business. The arrangement was that they would call in for a ‘cuppa’ on their way home since they’d practically be passing our house. Nothing unusual about that!
In the afternoon, our youngest daughter, Clara, sent a message to let us know she wouldn’t be home for tea since something had cropped up at work. Nothing unusual about that either since that sort of thing was a regular occurrence.
Evening came and we received a text from Chloe, “leaving Dublin now”… Sure enough the couple arrived at our home as expected, and we relaxed and began a chat about how their day had gone in Dublin. Just a few minutes later, Clara arrived from work and joined us. It wasn’t long before the conversation centred around the fact that Timothy would be back in a couple of weeks time. Clara then took orders for teas and coffees and went to leave to put the kettle on. But as she opened the door to leave, who was standing at the other side? Yes, to our disbelief, Timothy.
To say Sylvia and I were shocked is an understatement. We were stunned and speechless for a minute – the pictures didn’t match. The others had a good laugh at us as we tried to discern if this was ‘reality’ or a dream. Eventually the confession was made, there was no ‘day in Dublin’. Chloe had picked up Clara from her work and the two of them had driven to Dublin airport and collected Timothy. Sylvia and I had been well and truly ‘had’.
All in all, as parents, Sylvia and I are grateful for a number of things with regard to our son’s return. (1) That he has returned safe and sound. (2) That he enjoyed the experience of the past nine months and didn’t have any accidents or nasty incidents in spite of lots of travel. (3) Now that he has the experience behind him he can concentrate on settling down and putting his University degree to good use. But in addition to these more obvious points for gratitude, I can’t help but feel grateful that my wife and I have such a good relationship with our grown up children. There’s actually something nice about the fact that they were willing to go to the extent that they did to pull such a prank on us. In a funny way, it tells us that we’re held in high regard, and we hope that won’t ever change.