Our trip to the Dr Who Experience was as wonderful as predicted. I know it seems strange to some, a 300 mile round trip for less than 24 hours away, but for us it was perfect in every way. As parents we can often be accused of ‘feeding’ special interests and obsessions, and I know that we should try and widen the horizons of our young people as much as possible, but sometimes… sometimes with The Boy it feels that getting lost in time and space with the Doctor together is the only surefire way we have to really find each other.
If you could have seen his face when we arrived at the Diner and sat in the booth next to the exact same seat where Matt Smith had actually sat for real life. Or when we drove out in the pouring rain and found Sarah-Jane Smith’s house with the very post box that Mickey stood next to. Or when he discovered you could have as much bacon as you wanted for breakfast in the hotel. I can’t quite put it into words, but during those fifteen hours in Cardiff, I felt like I got closer to the real essence of him than fifteen weeks at home.
We travelled up North later in the holidays to spend time with the cousins. They were all there at one point or another, the whole tribe, terrifying me with gruff voices and hairy chins. And that was just my niece (that has to be the worst joke I’ve ever written in this blog but I’ve been away for a couple of months, I’m a bit rusty, so forgive me). The Boy was in his element. I’m always struck by how much his cousins don’t just accept him but embrace him in every way. The genuine delight on their faces to see him is something that makes every trip worthwhile.
There’s one cousin in particular who The Boy shares a special bond with. TheCousinWhoLovesBeingGinger. I suppose they were destined to be friends, their dads are twin brothers, and there’s only six weeks in age between the boys. He might be younger and a little bit smaller, but TheCousinWhoLovesBeingGinger will forever be the person The Boy looks up to.
It’s difficult to describe the bond they have. When we’re there they spend every waking moment in each other’s company. The Boy forever doubled up with laughter, his cousin often bemused at what the joke is but loving the attention nevertheless. They share a bed, brush teeth, go into shops on their own… all the things The Boy hates doing become possible when his ally is at his side. It’s effortless, their relationship. There’s no need to travel hundreds of miles searching out police boxes and daleks. Whatever they have, it just exists. It’s my favourite thing.
As we left for home, TheCousinWhoLovesBeingGinger flung his arms around The Boy to say goodbye. “Love ya, mate”, he said, with all the casualness of someone ordering a cheeseburger and chips. And then he turned to run up the road, so he could be the last to wave goodbye to our car as we turned the corner for home.
As we drove away and that brilliant shock of hair slowly diminished in the rear view mirror, something occurred to me. TheCousinWhoLovesBeingGinger didn’t wait for the reassurance to hear those words repeated back like the rest of us so often do.
Maybe at the times when it really matters, you don’t have to. You just know.