The children are very excited today. Grandpa arrives this evening. Mike is my father-in-law and it’s odd to realize I’ve known him for over 20 years. It shouldn’t seem odd as that’s how long I’ve known MM* and Mike has been a constant in my adult life, and a tremendous influence on me.
Firstly I am entirely indebted to him for raising the fabulous man that I married. His curiosity for the world at large and his fearlessness have certainly rubbed off on both his sons. Secondly I owe him much for helping MM and I retain our sanity while we were impoverished in London. He often visited us and filled us to the brim with indulgent meals at London restaurants that we could never have afforded on our own. He even took us to France a couple of times, along with my brother-in-law, where we wined and dined. From day one he has always included me in the family clan and showed no hesitation in introducing this bird from Bury to the rest of his family. I certainly felt welcomed into the melting pot of eccentricity that I married into.
Mike makes me feel like nothing is impossible – another trait inherited by his sons – and probably one of the reasons MM pursues his entrepreneurial projects. None of them like to conform and it is that maverick style that I adore in all 3 of them. It’s odd to think of Mike as a maverick when he spent most of his working life in the British Civil Service. He can’t tell me what he did – he’d have to shoot me – but I’ve guessed it must have been pretty important stuff that allowed him to travel and raise his family for a time in Cyprus before it was divided in two and they were airlifted out, and then later in Hong Kong. Mike’s generosity was again displayed when he gifted us with tickets to Northern Cyprus for our Honeymoon to allow MM to show me why this beautiful place is so important to them.
Mike’s wife and soulmate, and my would have been mother-in-law, Pat, passed away after a short illness back in 1991, about a month after I met MM. I never got to meet her but I often imagine us getting on like a house on fire. I like to think I am like her in some ways – maybe not, I’ll never know, but I do know she liked a party and was extremely social. After all these years we talk about her more often especially when the children ask why they only have one Nana. I love listening to MM tell them stories of his childhood that include her. I no longer feel like I’m walking on eggshells and I always learn something new.
When Mike retired early instead of tending his garden and picking up his pipe and slippers he decided it was time to see more of the world and he put his backpack on and set off on his own. Inspiring stuff especially considering the countries he traveled to. I often imagine, like some le Carré novel, that he already had contacts around the globe. What I know for sure is that when he returned he had made friends in places as disparate as Japan and Bali and he still travels often now, though he is probably a little more cautious.
So although I don’t always agree with his opinions regarding politics or football I am eternally grateful to Mike for opening my eyes to a world full of opportunities and excitement…it is what you make of it and regrets are pointless.
Mike and MM celebrating Mike’s birthday last year:
Mike in his seersucker with sherry:)
This post has turned into something I wasn’t expecting and it seems frivolous to talk about clothes now! But I have a photo and I’m going to use it! After saying summer is here to stay I jinxed the weather and it is flipping freezing here today. Time for a jumper again in fact so I reached for my Boden Must have jumper in radish over my Boden Breton, along with my faithful Hudson Collin jeans and Tory Burch Eddie flats in Tory navy. I love this radish color more than when I first bought it. Maybe it is the fact I have a bit of color now after the beach, but I’m definitely going to trawl the site to see what else they have in radish.
*MM – My Man
I got a bit teary just now reading about Mike’s wife and soul mate! I hope you all have a wonderful visit. And… p.s. nothing frivolous about the outfit. You look terrific!
I was teary writing it! Sometimes you just never know where these posts are going to go!
Yet another great blog, thanks. Very beautifully written of him, lucky you having him in your life!
Thanks Annika – I enjoyed writing this post…made me appreciate some things more:)
Great blog again Joanna, I agree the jumper is fab, I have the other 3 colours and wear them non stop, wish I’d got the radish one too now! X
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