For my sons on Fathers Day.

It’s a beautiful summers day here. The birds are twittering away, filled with joys of life and the demanding cries of little beaks, poking out of nests everywhere.

I have moved my hammock closer to the house and the puppies and ducklings have decided that I offer the best shade. They have moved in below me and lie quite contentedly beside each other, digesting lunch and probably sharing their fleas. 

When they wake they will chase each other about, no maliciousness, just little furry and feathery babies having fun. The mother duck and Mararmar, the pup’s mum, lie close by, keeping a wary eye. They too, get on pretty well. It reminds me of mums watching their kids play at the park. 

The duck will wonder up later on and peck insistently at my one foot, which is hanging off the hammock. She knows who feeds her and will peck until food is produced. 

In a country where animals, inluding the dogs, are all pretty​ much viewed as fair game for the menu, I am considered a bit of an animal whisperer and a little baktit (crazy). The clincher was the duck, waddling up to me and seating herself between my feet. 

The thing is, although I love animals, I am probably the only one here who has shown these animals any affection. They feel safe and cared for and recognise that I will not harm them. I have become a foster parent.

It’s Father’s day today and I am thousands of miles away from my sons. I have been for months now and I think in many ways the animals fill this huge void in my life. For now, they have become my surrogate children, each of us benefiting from the relationship. 

It is immensely hard as a parent to be away from your children, particularly when they have become your friends. I am acutely aware of their absence and miss their easy, fun loving company tremendously. 

On a day like today, which is really no different to any other save for the label we place on it, fathers are being celebrated in many different countries 

I would prefer to use the day to celebrate my absent sons. 

You have brought me so much joy, so much pleasure and so much pride and will continue to do so. It has been an absolute priveledge to watch you grow, from small faltering steps, into confident young men.

Without you I would be a ruderless ship adrift in a stormy sea of humanity. You have given my life meaning, direction and purpose. You are my sons, my family and my life. 

Without you I would not have the priveledge of being able to celebrate today. Know that you are loved.

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