“It’s funny how things turned out, because I was never a brave father in the beginning. I was very fearful. Simon learned to ride a bike the hard way because I was so committed to him not being weak. I didn’t care that he’d fall down and break a bone. In Melbourne especially, there seems to be a belief that sons are made of rock and granite. But soon enough I realised, I needed to raise him like I am: not embarrassed to eat by himself, or go to a movie by himself, or raise a daughter by himself. So I pushed him to be more independent. In 1998 he needed to finish high school so he came to live with me and my partner. He had been in the Caribbean home schooling with his mum. I flew him to Madras via London. He was sixteen. Really brave to do that. He stayed with a friend in London for a week and didn’t leave the TV set. Sort of what he’d been missing. I flew from Bangalore, met him and flew back in a day. Simon was really young. Most kids by then had experienced life but he grew up on his mother’s yacht, and he knew about sailing and spoke very good English. In Mysore my partner didn’t have kids. She was determined to help. After a month in Mysore, India, we organised the trip back to live in Sydney. We found a home. It didn’t work. She was not happy to share our home. During that time his grandparents wanted to get him away from me. They were still at war with me about my divorce with his mum. My son would walk down the gay part of Sydney unashamedly holding my hand and kissing me. He had no idea about shame or judgements. He turned into a man right before my eyes. Not only a man, a giant. He moved to Melbourne to be with his grandma and grandpa. I was broken hearted but it was the right thing to do. I thought I could be a real dad to him but that wasn’t what he needed. He needed food and sport and grandma. I was so freaking worried. I thought I’d failed. But Simon was so energised. He never grew tired. And by the time I got to visit him in Melbourne, everything had changed. He simply wanted to do more. Once time he went back to the Caribbean to be with his mum and step dad. He went alone. Since then he’s been all over the world sailing on maxi yachts including the America’s Cup. It’s his life now. There have been articles about him and his sailing. He was in a textbook marriage and they had a daughter, my grandchild. You know, back when his mum was pregnant with Simon, I had this silly idea that I needed to become a perfect dad. So that my son would be proud of me one day. And he’d tell his friends at school about me. But that never happened. My son is the one to be proud of. And I’m here to clear the way for him. Recently I visited him in Perth. We went kite surfing and he’s a world champ in that too. He taught me with such kindness and love, I suddenly realised that everything I’d dreamed of for him had come true. Even though i had so little to do with it. Simon loves Cross Fit, he’s huge, but that’s not what I see. So I might not be a famous super Dad. But I’m a fucking good father, I love him to bits.
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