Over the summer holidays, I’ve had a lot of fun with the twins. I’ve made a couple of videos to document two of the best times. I also explain why they call me Sparkles!
Last year, it felt like I was working all the time during the summer holidays due to staffing issues at work, and circumstances meant I missed a lot of time with the twins when they weren’t at their dad’s house. I wanted to make sure that, this year, I got more time with them when they were at home, and also that we did fun things together. I made a couple of videos, one with each of the twins, to capture some special memories so that we can look back on them and smile. I’ve already shared both of these videos on my social media channels, but I wanted to add them to my website too.
The first one is with my partner’s son. His sister was going horse-riding with my partner, my mam and my nieces, which gave us a day together to do something really special. He loves pirates and ships, and he’s always wanted to go fishing, so I took him to Glenridding for the day, bought a little fishing rod for him and booked us two hours on a powerboat. It was a really wonderful day, with the sun blazing down and getting to spend it in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. This video is filled with loads of photos of incredible scenery, as well as loads of video footage of us having a great day on the lake, fishing, going for a walk in the forest and getting an open-top bus. I hope we get to do it again next year, with my partner and her daughter coming along as well.
The second video is a bit different, as it’s one from home. My partner was at work in the afternoon, so the responsibility for getting tea ready fell on my shoulders, and my partner’s daughter wanted to learn how to cook Yorkshire puddings from scratch. This was a very daft video to make, and we had a whale of a time, with lots of silliness and some good cooking advice for making Yorkshires! I don’t think a YouTube cooking channel is in my future, but I’m really glad I made this video and the roast dinner we made was absolutely delicious!
For anyone wondering why I am referred to as Sparkles in the videos, well, it’s my partner to blame for that! What it was, when we first started seeing each other, we were having a beer with my cousin in the Agricultural Hotel beer garden, the summer sun was shining and my partner said the grey hairs starting to come through in my beard were sparkling in the light. She wouldn’t stop referring to the ‘sparkles’ in my beard, to the amusement of everyone. A few weeks later, when I met the kids for the first time, she introduced me as ‘Sparkles’ and refused to call me by my actual name the whole time. Of course, the kids loved it, and in my eagerness to impress and make a pair of five-year-olds smile, I just went with it.
I thought it would fade out of use over the next few times I met them. How wrong I was. Three years later, and I can count the number of times I’ve heard them use my real name unprompted on the digits of my left hand – which, of course, is the one without an index finger!
Honestly, it started off as a bit of a joke, but it’s actually come to be very special to me. I think it’s become almost like a title to them. There was one time they were playing with my nieces, and my eldest niece started calling me Sparkles, and my partner’s daughter got rather defensive, telling her, “he’s not your Sparkles, he’s my Sparkles!” After realising that’s how she saw it, I’ve come to love the name. It’s made it easier for them to adapt to the change in family dynamics, and it’s made me feel really special. I’m sure, as they grow older, hit their teens and become all rebellious like all teens do, they’ll stop using the name Sparkles. I’m sure, when that time comes, I’ll find myself longing for the days when I wasn’t boring old Andrew, and I still had a name that implies such happiness and joy. Until then, though, I’m going to embrace the silly nickname that has come to be so special to me.
Though I am very much looking forward to them going back to school, seeing their friends and telling me all the things they learn from their teachers and all the fun they have with their pals, I will be sad when the summer holidays are over. We’ve had so much fun, and I’m glad I’ve been able to capture some of it and make these lovely videos of two wonderful young people having fun with their Sparkles. I’m so blessed to have them in my life, and I’m so grateful to live the life I do.
Thank you for reading this, and for your ongoing support. I hope you’ve had as good a summer as I have.
Song of the Chapter:
‘Schools Out’ by Alice Cooper
Quote of the Chapter:
“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
"One of the most insightful works I've read on mental health problems in men ... very well-written and a real page-turner. I would recommend it to anyone.
Dancing With Disorder
"It communicates a deep understanding of troubled individuals who suffer from the challenges of mental disorders ... Courageous, wise, humorous and thought-provoking ... an easy-to-read, surprising and subtly moving chronicle.
Follow Andrew Lawes on Social Media