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Suddenly all the bed-side grief seems a lifetime in the past. Now it's laughter not tears coming from up ahead. The gentle susurration of wind through the trees opposite our house, the aroma of cooking from open front doors, the faint sounds of lawnmowers, of birds tweeting, of TV's and weather men and women informing us of the beautiful conditions we're basking in. Overhead, the droning of a plane chalking a line through a sky so cloudless and blue it hurts my eyes to look at it.
Ha! There's my beautiful wife, Eleanor waiting at the door. She's holding that huge mug with the chip on one side. I never could bear to throw that one away. "Best dad in the world" it says in time-worn, thoroughly used, print. It's full of hot, steaming tea, like it always is, though the vapour is barely visible on this beautifully clement, summer tea time.
She nods toward the hedgerow, reminding me that I must remember to pretend I don't know our Michael's hiding behind it as I come through the gate.
Ah! The sound of a clarinet floating through an open window. Aker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore; my beautiful little Mo.
And there she is, my little granddaughter waiting with her grandma. There's something in her hand, I notice as I get out of the car and stroll up the garden path.
"I love you grandad" her little note says next to a crayon drawing of me.
"I love you too, sweetheart," I reply, ruffling her dad's hair as he leaps from behind the hedge and grabs me around the waist. "I love you all," I say, hoisting up my grandaughter and kissing my wife's cheek, "you're my world."
Someone once said that life is a roller coaster, full of all the ups and downs you'd expect on that adrenaline-fuelled blast. Well, I couldn't have put it better myself, though sometimes I think we make a lot of those "ups" ourselves. We lay our own tracks. They're built by the choices we make, our considerations, the way we care for our families.
The downs? Well, I'm not gonna think about that on such a glorious afternoon; I'll leave you to ponder that one.
But I know one thing as I step through my own front door into a light so bright and welcoming I can barely contain my excitement, I've had a beautiful ride!