Max Benjamin Randall, this Saturday, after the longest time and the shortest of years you’ll be nine. These days have flowed over us, like rain. They stretch on and on, and this makes me glad.
I love how you see our dogs Buddy (Chubby Kid) and Angel (Angela Merkel) as your siblings. Some mornings you emerge from the bedroom: stiff-legged, sleepy-eyed and with your beautiful hair bouncing in a wild, sunny animation, and go straight outside to the puppies, give them a hug and see how they’re going. It’s a sign of your boundless affection, and says many cool things about you.
Your bed is the top bunk above Alex, and near your pillow is a teetering stack of books. Like your dad you tackle multiple titles at once and sleeping, enjoy the proximity of these paper joys.
Good luck with that lovely Road Dahl box-set Nanna and Poppa bought you for Christmas. I think you’ll like it, and have a life-long relationship with stories as both a reader and a teller. I reckon you just might.
Next season I hope you’ll play cricket. It’ll be fantastic if you can be in the same team as your brother. You love this game and enjoy some excellent competition in the backyard with Alex. I’m reassured the fights are typical and a predictor that neither of you will be unassertive types when older. This appears likely. It’s somehow comforting.
As it’s one of the sporting world’s most specialised skills, we must keep working on your leg-spin. In a decade or so, Australia might be ready for another blonde leggy.
Speaking of Alex, my favourite moments are when the two of you do something constructive together. Whether it’s building Lego or making a fort I love to see this. While these are punctuated with incidents that are, shall we say, less than constructive, I know as you both make your way through school and beyond you’ll be fierce supporters of each other. In the best possible ways you’ll be warrior-brothers.
Such is your shared competitiveness that only last week you were both riding home and of course, it immediately became a race along the mean streets of Glenelg North. Hurtling along Winx-like, it was superb until in what would’ve otherwise been a photo finish you clipped handlebars. Oh, no! Then it became horrific, but also if we could watch again in super-slow-motion, quite balletic, as you simultaneously somersaulted over your bikes.
Cue kilometres of bandage and gallons of hospital-strength antiseptic.
Pleasingly, neither of you is like me in that there were no tears. I’d be happy if this is the last of your stacks, but confidence is not especially high given your combined broken arm count in Singapore was four. In two years.
Another wonderful contrast to me is your encyclopaedic knowledge of cars from a crusty Corolla to, as you suggest, a lit super-car. We now take weekly excursions to various car-dealers to check out the McLarens, Bentleys and Lamborghinis, and just last night when in bed you said, “Dad, if you were a car you’d be a Ferrari.” I asked why and you replied, “Well, it seems like the sort of car an old Dad who had millions of dollars would want.” One of these is true.
So, have a great day. Saturday birthdays are always special.
Last weekend cruising about Alex commented how he couldn’t wait until he was older and could live in Victor Harbor. In a sign that your world will surely open itself up you responded, “Yeah, I’m going to live in Clare.”
After a pause you added, “But also Utah.” You deserve so much, and to see and experience all of which you dream.
Happy, happy birthday dearest Max.