NZ Woman's Weekly
Colin Hogg on Christmas

Colin Hogg on Christmas

We’re having Christmas with the whole family together, which is a first for a few years and, as a result, we’ve all been getting a bit excited about it. Though one of my daughters – I won’t say which of the five – did mention to me that maybe we shouldn’t all spend too much time together. “It gets a bit crazy sometimes,” she said, and I know what she means. It could be explosive, though it would be a great explosion.

In fairness, we should carry a health warning: “May cause temporary loss of sanity and hearing.” But better a noisy family than a silent one. The silent ones make me nervous. Having said that, my latest granddaughter is a bit of a silent one – though she doesn’t make me in the least nervous, even when I’m holding her and her eyes glaze over and I feel her nappy rumble.

As I sat looking at her looking back at me the other day – with unglazed eyes – she seemed as transfixed by me as I was by her. If she could have said anything at that moment, it might well have been, “What’s this all about then?”

But while some of my grandchildren are tiny and hardly touched by the world, my children are all huge and worldly wise. But sophistication can have its drawbacks. My son – the lonely only boy among six children – has problems staying totally cool in my company because there’s a little issue we’ve never quite sorted out. It’s nothing major, but it is an issue – though in name only.

Which is to say that we have issues over what he should call me. When he was little and – like his new niece – hardly touched by the world, he called me Daddy, just like his sisters. As the years went by, his sisters never stopped calling me Daddy and I doubt they ever will, and I wouldn’t want them to. But boys apparently don’t want to be calling their fathers Daddy after they pass a certain age – at least, mine didn’t.

For a while, he managed to get away with not calling me anything at all, but that couldn’t last and, without consultation, he decided to start calling me Pops. At least, he started trying to call me Pops, but I wasn’t happy with it, though I had trouble explaining exactly why.

It sounds like a goldfish farting, I told him, but he ignored me, and the emails and texts and birthday cards all started coming, calling me Pops. He had the decency to be more wary about calling me that to my face – which means that when we’re together he’s back to not calling me anything.

I’ve considered pointing out to him that it’s not necessarily all that uncool for a chap to call his father Daddy. After all, Prince Charles’ boys call him that. I’m not going to win this one, but maybe we can compromise. He might settle for calling me Father. After all, it’s good enough for Father Christmas.

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