19 June 2011

Father figures, family, fraternity

I was tidying the kitchen this morning (and possibly singing. I refuse to say), when a 5 yr old leapt through the door, a massive grin on his face, and his hands behind his back.

Everyone who has ever met this 5 yr old would immediately go into high alert. My hand was halfway to my belt for my baton before he'd stopped moving. (Not to hit him - to protect myself against what ever spider/bug/pigeon/chemical experiment he had.)

And then he produced a brightly coloured piece of card, with a large, sparkly, spider on it, complete with furry pipe-cleaner legs. And 'Happy D.I. Day' written on the front. With more glitter.

Got to admit I was sort of speechless. I mean, it's not a situation I ever imagined I'd be in.

"It's fathers' day and you're not my father but we made them at school and you're my DI and I made you this", was the explanation. And inside it said 'You're the best DI in the world'.

So clearly, I had to pick Sherlock up for a hug, because who wouldn't? Sometimes, he can be breathtakingly sweet. He's just got such a simple, straightforward view on life. (Although I think his sample size for good or bad DIs is rather small.)

And now I've spent the past couple of hours sitting on Mycroft's bed, with him. Because he didn't think Sherlock's actions were appropriate.

I feel terrible for Mycroft sometimes. He's been through so much, and he's so grown up, but he's still just a boy.

He was clearly a bit upset when he saw Sherlock's cards (I'll let John tell you about his). And headed off to his room. So I took him some tea up and asked if I could stay.

He doesn't talk easily. And I know just what that's like. Clearly he remembers his Dad, and it's very hard for him to see Sherlock accepting John and I in that role, when Mycroft respects his Dad's memory so much.

I suppose we're both the same in the respect that we grew up without a Father, but quite different in that I was glad mine had gone - not that I didn't have one. I'd have loved a Dad to do things with, but glad my particular one left - and he really isn't. And we both grew up too fast - although he's still a lot more grown up than I am.

So it's an odd day. Four blokes in the house and only one Father between us. And I'm not entirely sure John's speaking to his.

(Mycroft did say I could mention all this. I wouldn't have otherwise.)


innie said...

Oh, that's lovely of Sherlock to do, and I'm glad you got some proof of how much he loves you.

But Mycroft - Mycroft, I'm just going to speak directly to you for a moment. It's hard, isn't it, when you know it's good for Sherlock to be willing to love new people and be able to express that love. And you love John and Lestrade too, and you know they're good for you. But it hurts to feel like the only one who remembers, and I'm so sorry that you're going through this.

It's not the same, but I do have a comparable situation - my parents had an arranged marriage and never got along, just made do because they'd been brought together by their parents, and I'm sure it didn't help that they were thousands of miles from their family (they lived in America, the families were back in India). I'm their older child, and from the time I was quite small, they both were confiding in me about how unhappy they were being together. Somehow we all kind of entered an unspoken pact to shield my little brother from all of this, and while he couldn't have missed that they didn't really speak to each other all that much, he also never grasped how desperately unhappy they were. I'm glad he never knew, but it also made me lonelier, knowing it was just me dealing with all of this.

It's very hard being older and having to bear so much of that weight alone, and it can hurt to know that what you've done will never be fully appreciated (because for your little brother to appreciate it would mean him understanding in just the way you want to protect him from). All I can say is that I know you're strong enough to not begrudge Sherlock his new joy, strong enough to remember your dad, and strong enough to love your new family too - all of those are tremendous, and you're a wonder for pulling them off.

crankybookwyrm said...

Sherlock: I hope that Lestrade scans your card so he can share it with us. It sounds wonderful.

Mycroft: I can only imagine how hard that is for you. Perhaps you could tell Sherlock some of the good things you remember about your father. And show him any pictures or other momentoes you might have.

There's so many things I want to say, but I don't think any of them will help. Do you think he'd be happy to know that you have two men in your life trying to give you what he would if he could?

Either way, I'm sending you, and everyone in your family, hugs.

Nicky said...

John, Orio, a friend just posted this on their FaceBook. It made me think of both of you:

"A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child."

You may not be fathers, but you've stepped in to help, and it seems like you're both doing the very best you can - and no one can ask more than that.

Mycroft - I think I understand a little bit what you're going through. And I'm sure Sherlock does too. And I know Orio and John would never want to try to replace your Father, but they will be there for you if you need them, and they do love you - both of you.

It must be terribly hard for you, and I hope you have some good memories of your Dad. I'm sure he would be so proud to see you now. You're a fine young man.

piplover said...

Sherlock: That sounds like a lovely card! I'm sure Lestrade loved it very much!

Mycroft: You are so very strong and brave. I don't think grownups always understand how difficult it is to have your world turned sideways. I'm glad you were able to talk to Lestrade about it. Sometimes, even though it doesn't always make it better, just knowing you can trust someone enough to discuss things with them is helpful.

I hope you all four have a wonderful day!

Anon Without A Name said...

Sherlock - what a lovely gesture (sounds like a wonderful card, too). I can't wait to hear about John's card.

Mycroft - It must have been disconcerting for you, seeing the cards that Sherlock had made. Try not to be too upset or angry with him, he probably doesn't realise it would have been difficult for you. I don't know how much he remembers of your father, but I'm sure you know, deep down, that the appreciation he's showing John and Lestrade doesn't in any way diminish who you father was, or his role in your lives. Of course, that's easy to say, but what we know and how we feel are often two very different things. I'm very glad that you were able to talk it over with Lestrade. I hope that helped you.

There's two of us in my household, and both our Dads died years ago, so Father's Day tends to sneak up on me. Which is always a little bit disconcerting, even after all these years.

Sometimes you guys collectively break my heart a little bit; I hope your day became less odd, and that there were plenty of hugs to go around.

Trills said...

Mother's day and Father's day can be hard on children without one or the other of the 'standard' set of parents. Especially when school activities are specifically geared towards the event. Can't you just picture it? All the kids in Sherlock's school sitting down and making cards and Sherlock wanting to take part but feeling that he couldn't because... well he doesn't really have a dad anymore. Maybe the teacher actually prompted him, asked him whether there was anyone else he could make a card for. Usually the suggestions in this case are to make a card for a Grandfather or even just make one for Mummy. Then maybe it occurred to Sherlock that there was someone he could make a card for. Or someones.

I'm sure Sherlock didn't mean it in the way that John and Lestrade are replacements for his father, just that they're special to him and there aren't exactly 'Nanny Day' and 'DI day' in the calendar, are there?

A lot of Step-dads and life partners of people with kids would probably sympathise right now

Sherlock said...

We were allowed to make cards for whoever we wanted, and some of the others don't have Fathers so made them for their Mummy or their Step-Father or anyone else they wanted, and I wanted to make ones for Lestrade and John. No one else has a DI. And Mrs T said they would like them very much.

I didn't know Daddy ever, and he never even saw me, because he was gone before I was born. So I didn't even meet him like Mycroft did. It's not fair.

Ann E. said...

Oh, Mycroft. I'm sorry you're having such a hard day today; it's totally understandable but that doesn't make it easier.

I think the very best thing that you can do today is to pick someone you trust and feel comfortable with and tell them some of your good memories about your father, or maybe do something special in remembrance of him today. You have lots of people around who would be happy to help you with this, I'm sure. If Sherlock, John, or Lestrade feel like uncomfortable choices today, then maybe you could reach out to Mrs. Hudson or Anthea (especially if they knew him) or even your mum if she's in reach. Any of the adults around you would be honored if you chose to confide in them, I promise. You don't have to feel like your dad is forgotten, and one of the best ways to cope with that is to share his memory today.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Sherlock, mate, none of it's fair - Mycroft knowing your Dad and losing him, or you never meeting him. It's just not fair in different ways, that's all.

And I'm honoured you chose to make John and I cards, and I'm very happy to be your DI.

But it's also fine that Mycroft just wants to remember your Dad and all the ways he was special.

Maybe, if you ask him nicely, Mycroft might want to talk to you about him? I know he said he had a photograph of him that you've seen before, but you're a bit older now, so you might want to look at it again? Just be nice, and don't be mean to Mycroft just because he remembers your Dad and you never had the chance to meet him, right? Lots of people are sad on days like today, when their fathers aren't with them anymore.

Sherlock said...

Your Father isn't with you anymore, and you're not sad. Why don't you find him? You're a DI, you can find anyone.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Yeah, bit different, Sherlock. He chose to leave. And he wasn't very nice. It's a different situation. I'm not sure I want to find him.

Bronwyn said...

It's not comparable at all, but of all the children in my generation, I'm the only one who's old enough to remember my great-grandfather. He was in his eighties when I was born. Thus, all of my memories include how frail and thin he was, but by God, I adored the man. Immensely. I thought he walked on water. He was sick for years before he died and was on a special diet that he hated. He would sneak me the food he didn't want to eat and I would smuggle him the things he did. Probably not the best thing for him, but we had such fun. And not one of my siblings or cousins could pick him out in a photograph. The don't know that he hated chocolate, or loved almost anything with butter, or that he perpetually smelled of Swisher Sweets and the mothballs he kept in his closet. It's hard being the keeper of memories. It's even harder as I'm old enough that my grandparents have started passing on and I can look forward and see the day when there will be no one left who remembers my great-grandfather except me. But despite that, I'm glad I did know him and do remember him. It's only right that someone should. And my siblings at least know him as much as they can through me and the stories I remember from when they were babies.

Be well, Mycroft. I'm certain beyond all doubt that your father is incredibly proud of you and all that you are. Any father would be insane not to be.


Mycroft said...

Thank you, everybody.

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