Just recently, Dr Dad returned from a business trip to the other side of the globe. When he’s home, he hates to shop. Despises it. To be perfectly honest, as much as the weekly supermarket visit makes me want to bellow “Who died and left me in charge of trivia?!?…” it’s even more painful when he comes to help.
After almost thirty years of living with me, he still seems to think that the shopping list is a complete and total inventory of every item that we actually need/ will probably run out of/might fancy nibbling on at some stage. Nor does he have the vaguest understanding of how two teenagers can stand staring into the expanse of a vast fully stacked pantry and a double-door fridge that is groaning under the weight of stunning seasonal fruits and vegetables and declare disgustedly that there’s never anything to eat. I swear; if you ever hear that the end of the world is nigh, head on down to our place. There’s enough in our cupboards to keep us all going until the smoke clears.
But truthfully, he whips that trolley around the supermarket aisles so damned quickly that on a number of occasions I have had to ask if I had missed the news that the sky was going to fall at 11:13 precisely, or whether he was just shooting for a personal best.
When he’s away, however, if time allows, he shops for gifts to bring back for us. It’s kind of sweet, really. I guess the habit harks back to those days when the kids missed him when he wasn’t around. Way back in the days when they made those ‘Welcome home, Daddy’ banners and knocked him over with enthusiasm as he came through the door. He’d let them rummage through his bag full of random documents and dirty business shirts for their surprises. A reward for each of them for being good while Daddy was away, and a prize for me for surviving.
He has no idea that these days they don’t even notice he’s not around.
This time, he arrived home in the wee small hours. We were all snoring. Even the dogs didn’t stir as he tiptoed in. But he did his wonderful good-dad thing, despite having been travelling for almost 27 hours straight, and before falling unconscious into the bed next to me ( by this stage I was, of course, just pretending to be asleep because surely nobody wants a welcome back kiss from someone with evil bed-breath)…before falling into the depths of jet-lagged darkness, he had begun to unpack his bag.
So that when we got up in the morning, there it was. His London shopping. Spread out on the table in neatly ordered groups so that we knew who was getting what. His way of telling us that he loves us and he missed us.
You won't be surprised to hear that the Bombay Sapphire and wrinkle creams are for me.