Happy Birthday Parker

Jul 12th, 2014 | By | Category: Laurie's Blog

Allow me to be a little indulgent in celebrating my grandsons first birthday.

Dear Parker

Firstly may I wish you a very happy first birthday and I hope by the time you might read this that you have celebrated many more. And this letter is really intended for the man you will become rather than the adorable little boy you are now. It’s a little bit about me and what I know and I hope not the only place where I will get to talk to you about some of these things. But you never know what the future holds and so I write them here as a type of time capsule for you.

This is largely about your Joyce family because it’s the job of others to teach you about those other branches and I’m going to begin a long long time ago in a land far far away where a man fathered a son. He was likely born on the shores of a lake that provided plenty for the small family group he was a part of. Then, like now, the world could be a dangerous place, but it was also full of wonders. He too would have looked at the night skies and seen the same stars we see today. He would have known that the different seasons brought different weather and different foods. He would have told that son stories and that son would have passed them onto his sons.

He was not the only man alive at that time but he holds a special place in the story of mankind because he was the only man who fathered sons whose sons have also had sons across all of those 60,000 years that brings us to your birth a year ago today.

His sons were blessed with a great curiosity that saw them wander out of Africa across the grasslands of the Middle East and into the Steppes of Russia. All that time other descendants of his wandered away seeking wisdom and knowledge of what lay beyond the next mountain or around the next headland. Eventually, as the great ice caps released their grips on Europe these descendants moved into the lands that came to be Italy and Spain and following the retreat of the ice north up into Scandinavia.

It seems from what I know now in 2014 that you have the blood of Vikings in your veins and one of your ancestors continued that rich vein of exploration and eventually found himself in the Emerald Isle. It was there that one of his descendants adopted the name Joyce. We don’t know yet who that was or when and we may never know. However we can say that your great-great-great-great Grandfather Michael Joyce left Ireland because he was forced to.

It was a time of great hardship when families were struggling to find food to eat, when the harsh politics of the time forced many people into a life of crime simply because to steal was to live. And so Michael found himself a convict on board a ship to the farthest ends of the earth where in Hobart he was indentured to a farmer at New Norfolk. It was a long way from home and from family if he had any who were still alive and we don’t know the answer to that question either. Sadly Michael died at only 26, younger than your Dad is today.

But we do know that like myself and like your Dad, he too fathered a son and I have no doubt that he too looked in wonder at that miracle and found himself totally overwhelmed with love as I was and as your Dad is. That young baby John Henry Joyce also had sons, one of them my Pa Bill Joyce, who also had sons, one of them my Dad Allan, and now the chain goes on with you.

You will have a life very different to any of those ancestors who have come before you. If I look back at my own life, born in the shadows of World War 2, when TV had only just begun, before Man walked on the moon, and I realise how much things have changed in my own 57 years, I cannot begin to imagine the changes you will see in your lifetime. But you are privileged to have been born in the best country on this earth at a time when you have the knowledge accumulated across that 60,000 years all the way back to Africa at your fingertips.

The world can still be a dangerous place, although in different ways to then, but it is still equally one of wonder where the frontiers of learning continue to expand. I hope your life is a good one, I won’t say easy, because it is the hard things that make us better people, the struggles and tribulations at school, in sport, at work, in relationships, that teach us to be better tomorrow than we are today.

As fathers we all hope that we can make our children’s lives easier, that we can somehow ease the burdens and deflect the pains, but it is only when we get older that we realise that is not always possible. You will love and be loved, you will make mistakes and regret them, will have triumphs and have pride in them. You will think at times that your parents are fools and don’t know what they are talking about, but that’s only because they want the best for you. You may be hungry at times but will probably never starve. You will have bouts of sorrow that will pass, and I hope share bonds with friends that will never pass. I hope the world and life is kind to you and more importantly that you grow up with compassion and kindness but with the strength to endure and crash through barriers if it is not. Embrace that inner Superman.

I wish many things for you but will mention two here. Firstly I hope that you and I will share a bond that only a Grandfather and Grandson can share. I know you will probably always think of me as an old man, but I hope that you will welcome the talks you will have with your Obi and that I can impart a little of the wonder that I found in things as I grew up.

I hope one day when you look back you will realise that there is still a bit of the little boy in me, as well as all of those other things that came together to make me what I am today. I wasn’t always a crotchety old man Most of all I hope one day that you get to experience the thing your Dad did a year ago today when he held you in his arms for the very first time, and some 25 or 30 years after that I hope you also experience the same feelings I did a year ago today when I held you, my first grandchild, in my own arms for that very first time. There are still more mountains and more headlands and I hope that you find and pass beyond them.

Happy Birthday dear Grandson

Love always

Obi xxx

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