On Dad, then?

With Tom and Harry home from Cleveland and the Holland’s back to full strength, a recent evening was a simple affair and yet one for my fatherhood diary.

Not that it will endure for very long, I suspect. Not if first steps, words or even my boys births are anything to go by as my advancing years wreaks havoc with my memory.

And not such a momentous night anyway. Not a meal out for us all to a favourite eatery or a trip to the theatre. It wasn’t even all of us; just Tom, Harry, Sam and I and down to our local pub for a few beers. With Tessa also (our dog for new readers), while Nikki and Paddy stayed home and most likely argued over a film to watch and then settled on nothing I expect.

Not very long in the pub either. Only an hour or so – or two pints (nearing my limit, these days) but nonetheless, a poignant evening for me and for many reasons.

I spot some friends in the pub already who bid hello but don’t join us – which creates a sense of community and belonging, albeit this is undermined since because I now wonder why they hadn’t invited me?

The sense of occasion hinges on Tom and Harry’s long absence; away in the US making a film called Cherry. A departure for Tom’s acting career and an important film being directed by the Russo Brothers but even so, it is quickly recapped and dispensed with for golf travails and stories. The three of them taking their turn to recount golfing anecdotes in places far flung like Bali and China which I am happy to listen to and I don’t bother countering. As always, Harry has to phone to hand – loaded with videos of his ‘stinger’ over water which he is determined we must all watch.

And it is Christmas as well, of course – that most wonderful time of the year. The one time of the year when practically all families reunite (with everything crossed) and hoping for the best.

Not to mention the end of the year, that is looming too. A time for reflection and a wistful look ahead. The annual watershed for us all. The new start. The new you and the new me.  All very exciting and eventually, so disappointing and familiar.

The pub was quiet and Tom was not bothered by anyone. No photos or even the odd bemused look. An upside to his unusual haircut, perhaps? Just a dad then and his three boys having a quiet beer and catching up.

‘Shall we have another one?’ Someone asks, Tom, I think, but I’m not so keen and Harry too, is dubious. Jet lagged and out of golf videos to share, no doubt. A sedate ending then to a lovely evening and my favourite part is yet to come.

I go to the bar and I pick up our tab – surely, the job of any self-respecting dad?

Even though, at least two of these sons of mine have significant means of their own, but letting them pay would feel wrong and might even have ruined things for me.

And somehow my boys must have picked up on this as well – and presumably why none of them even blinking well offered!







28 thoughts on “On Dad, then?

  1. Paul says:

    timely and poignant. It’s these seemingly unimportant events in life that are so worth remembering, You will always have these blogs remember (and if not, you’re sons will always pull out the video evidence). And keep picking up the bar tab – kids remember even if they don’t blink at that moment.

    Cheers and Happy New Year.

    • Lauren says:

      This is not about your blog, which I enjoy but about your faces which precede them. I think I enjoy theses the most, shaved, unshaven, serious, happy, confused, glasses and on glasses. They are funny and entertaining. I have also watched your comedy routines, though not long enough on you-tube, also hilarious. Thanks

    • Karol says:

      I love your blogs so much! Hope you have an amazing new year and say hello to Tom, Sam, Harry, Paddy and obviously Ms. Holland ❤️ Love u so much!❤️

  2. Ingrid says:

    How lovely spending time with your family and of course you paying for the pleasure of their company!!
    Having girls myself, our treat of choice is shopping, leaving my husband to wish for boys to take to pub, but as our girls will tell him he can’t handle the drink anymore! Thank you for the book for Christmas (I, Gabriel) my husband is learning to pick up on my hints before Christmas (it’s only taken 16 long years!) happy new year to you and your family! X

    • Karol says:

      I love your blogs so much! Hope you have an amazing new year and say hello to Tom, Sam, Harry, Paddy and obviously Ms. Holland ❤️ Love u so much!❤️

  3. Rody Molenaar says:

    I always enjoy a story about a father enjoying a great day with his sons, but this one is special. Knowing how well your sons are doing and how they are able to spend quality time with their dad, lights my heart. I wish you lovely days, but don’t forget to tell a bad joke every once in a while.

  4. Carolina says:

    I’m reading this while I’m in a Caribbean beach. Best way to read the last blog of the year.
    Happy New Year to you and your family ❤

  5. Nicole says:

    I am so glad to hear that Tom was able to go to the Pub and rest. Not be.bothered or pestered. I have a boy and a girl, and I hope as they grow older to be able to do these things with them. As both mom and Dad, I find that although my family is somewhat broken we are very close. I hope that you all have a pleasant new year and that Tom.and Harry get the rest they need.

  6. Louise says:

    Hi Dominic.I Love how your sons let you pay the bar tab.I was visiting my sister today in Whitton.It hasn’t changed at all.Happy memories walking past St Edmunds.Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year.Keep The blog post coming.Xx

  7. Debbie says:

    So glad Tom not bothered by anyone what a treat for you all and I’m sure as much as he appreciate his fans it for him and you and his brothers must of been a comfort and old times feeling. Good for you all, I thought about the pictures of dinner and what a comforting thing for him after what looks like a very different role for him I hope to someday get to meet and say hi but for now I’d settle to meet you or your wife I’m dying to know how to make that wonderful looking pork roast! Happy New Year!!!!

  8. Lorraine says:

    What a nice blog to end the year Dom. What’s better than spending time with the boys. It’s lovely to hear that you all had time for a drink together and that you picked up the tab. It’s nice that some things don’t change and dad still rules☺️. Congratulations on the Brothers Trust event yesterday. I wish you Nikki and your fab family every good wish for the new year. Looking forward to the next blog Dom.

  9. Janet says:

    How wonderful Dom that you were able to have this uninterrupted time with the boys! All the best to a wonderful New Year and we look forward to hearing about the Hollands! Also… any New Year’s resolutions?

  10. Stacy says:

    I enjoy reading your blogs. I’m glad you got to spend time with your boys. I do try to spend time with my kids. It seems like I can only do that when they are on break because I work a lot. Taking them to the movies has become our new thing. Cant wait for the next blog.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

  11. Pamela says:

    Loved reading about the special time you spent with your boys at the pub! This was the first Christmas weekend in 5 years all of my kids and grandkids were together! My son is a nurse and unfortunately tends to work over the holiday weekend! Glad to hear The Brothers Trust ‘Spies in Disguise’ was a huge success! I took my grandkids to see it today after a huge winter storm in Minnesota!! What else would we be doing but watching an amazing movie and spending time together!! They loved it and many laughs were heard throughout the theater!!

  12. Darron says:

    A great read and so much real family blues and life in it. It also took me back to you winning on the 17th at Boa Vista. A rare occasion, I know but I was partnered with Lewis. Handicaps never seem the same these days. Lol.

  13. Sara says:

    A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of the Hollands. Wishing you all health, happiness and lots of laughs in 2020.

  14. Lauren says:

    “I spot some friends in the pub already who bid hello but don’t join us – which creates a sense of community and belonging, albeit this is undermined since because I now wonder why they hadn’t invited me?”

    Truer words were never typed. Nice to know my neuroses is not alone.

  15. Amandine V says:

    I love your blog !!
    It’s simple, clear, poignant, sometimes we laugh another time it’s serious.
    It’s just a moment in the life.

    Beautiful words.
    Thank you so much for this.

    I’m a fan of Tom and probably, if i look him in the bar with you or others members of his family or his friends, i don’t want to disturb him.

    Happy new year !!!

  16. Dom (a different one) says:

    So, I now have a life size cardboard cut out of your son Tom in my house, it being a not-so-secret Santa gift to my daughter from her friends. A £30 piece of cardboard that we’ll have to house for goodness knows how long. Fortunately he’s in a suit, not Lycra – I have to say he scrubs up well, and is so far behaving himself though perhaps if he could help out with the dishes occasionally that would be good. Oh, they also decided to take him for a walk around Kingston earlier, so if you hear reports of Tom misbehaving down the Bentalls centre it was probably his cardboard doppelgänger. Thanks for the blog posts, entertaining as ever, and a happy new year to you all.

  17. Beth says:

    I am only in my mid-teens, but stumbling across this when I opened an ‘Open Links’ ad, made me teary- I realised that parents are proud of their children and all of their achievements, but they cherish the small things more than anything. It made me realise how important it is for everyone to remember that the smaller things in life create biggest memories.
    ~Love your family; they’re the best thing you’ve got~

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