I traveled back to Scotland for a very specific reason. You see, on Saturday, J turns 60 and I have to tell you his commiserating/sulking at now officially being classed as elderly is at least matched by the exciting prospect of his bus pass which is due to arrive in the post any day (free bus travel for the over 60’s FTW). Now J is not one for parties and a big fuss. In fact, I have it on good authority that he turned down the invitation of a big joint do with his twin sister on favor of a quiet family meal… well family plus me that is. You see, I’ve been J’s “adopted one” pretty much since we met after I became very close friends with his daughter 14 years ago now (wow those years creep up on you don’t they). Truthfully I’m not sure who adopted who, but I know I’ve learned a lot about what happy families can look like from this family. I’d do anything for him and I know this guy has my back. (We’ll call him Adopted Dad,AD from now on ok ? )
Its amazing some of the quiet most unassuming people you meet have the most interesting lives. AD’s career goes from Royal Air Force through light house keeper to groundsman at the local hospital and now an occupational therapist working with vulnerable adults with learning difficulties. It takes a special person to do that job and an more dedicated person to give it everything the way he does. Just watching him with this group of lads who all jokingly call him Dad is inspirational. He takes everyone as he finds them and never holds a grudge if one of the guys is acting out or having a bad day. I notice him thinking about them even in his off time, making sure to wear the obscene number plate sized birthday badge (complete with flashing red lights) to work as it was a gift from his boys also ensuring that a second birthday cake was made specifically so he could share with them. I’d say I’m amazed by his willingness to stand up for those in his care and stick his head above the parapet so to speak when its required but really I’m not amazed because that’s just the way he always has been since I’ve known him. I am determined to learn lessons from this man: to absorb some of his attitudes; to give each woman I care for 100 % effort; to be non judgmental and do my best for every family even if their circumstances are not what I would expect or they make choices that I may not personally agree with. I want to be open and approachable in the same way that Jim is to listen and try to remember that everyone has something to teach you. If I achieve it half as well and this man does I’ll be one hell of a midwife that’s for sure.
Now that’s not to say I’m in awe. Oh no, adopted is just as opinionated as the man she wished she was related to. We butt heads all the time over…well to be honest almost anything. I still remember the look on his face as we engaged in our first dinner table debate on Scottish independence (kind of who the hell does this 13 year old think she is anyway !!??). It’s a wonder he didn’t throw me out and we’ve never stopped bickering since lol. It only makes me respect him all the more. A fantastic sparing partner who challenges the way I think, the things I do… I hope he knows just how much I respect him, that I love him deeply and at the end of the day if I live my life the way he has… if I grow old disgracefully following his example caring for people over things at every turn.. I’ll have rocked at life.
AD (and his wonderful wife , who would be my “Adopted” Mum ) now also have adpoted 2, 3 and 4… having become respite Foster Carers in their fifties. Those are three lucky boys I can tell you!
I have to share one last thing: always making me laugh, AD confessed this weekend that he’s printed out his resignation letter just to have in his briefcase just in case. Looking forward to retirement is an understatement. Of course his boss has warned him she will not be accepting any letters from him in the near future. When he does finally get there I know he will be missed.
The 5 year count down starts now DAD … Happy frikkin’ Birthday !