When Julian found out we were having a little boy, he was so thrilled to be given the opportunity to have someone he could teach not only about life, but also his favourite sports. We had big plans for James. He was going to go to a GPS school and play rugby. Julian was going to teach him to surf, snow ski, and play cricket. But Julian also had a dream to grow old and play golf with his son. It was a simple dream, one that many men have when they become father to a boy.
And then the diagnosis came – Julian’s beautiful son had a muscle disease. Suddenly, those dreams flew out the window and Julian had to come up with new dreams. Dreams that didn’t involve playing sport with his son. James wasn’t interested in playing any sport, though he dearly loved to watch it from the comfort of the sofa. This was Julian’s Holland, even though he dearly wanted it to be Italy instead. He loved his son, he would do whatever James wanted and he would be happy doing so.
However, sometimes life surprises you. Patrick was our surprise. After becoming a dad twice more, to two beautiful little princesses, we found ourselves expecting another baby boy. And it wasn’t planned at all. But it has been an incredible blessing.
Patrick came into the world on August 13th, 2009, and I swear he came along already kicking a ball. Unlike his older brother, Paddy didn’t have muscle disease. He was a bundle of energy, happiest with a bat or club in his hand, or a ball coming off the end of his foot. The house became filled with balls and golf clubs and cricket bats, strewn from one end to another. Patrick would spend all day kicking or swinging, always with a smile on his face. The golf clubs that we bought James a few years ago, which sat mostly in the closet, started making regular appearances in the park across from our house. Here was a child who not only breathed sport, but lived it.
And whilst Julian adores our oldest child, who is forced to spend most of his time sitting on the lounge, watching sport or playing on his iPad, Julian does love to have some special time with his younger son, teaching him how to kick a ball or swing a club. Patrick is a talent and, whilst we don’t want to push him into doing anything he doesn’t want to do, his dad is certainly in his corner, encouraging his son to be the best and to love sport as much as he does. And it brings him such joy to do so.