Something very special happened yesterday, I became a grandfather for the first time. I didn't really expect the depth of emotion that came with knowing that the baton passes again and that new life carries on the unbroken chain that reached back to that man who stood on the shores of Lake Tanganyika 60,000 years ago. He whose descendants spread around the world with the sons of his sons passing on that YDNA right down to young Parker Alexander Joyce yesterday.
I was unprepared for the overwhelming feeling of love as I held my Grandson for the first time and realised that for me another entirely new chapter in life is beginning.
Welcome young man. You don't know it yet but you have many people who love you and will look after you. Your journey through life will be full of ups and downs but we'll do our best to make sure the ups are great and the downs don't last too long. I don't pretend to be wise but my knowledge is yours to ask for. I look forward to reading to you, to telling bad jokes, to the laughter and the tears. I will be there for your first basketball game and football match, should you choose to play, I'll give whatever support a grandfather can in whatever way I can.
I joked yesterday with your Dad about your name and the connection to Peter Parker who was burdened with the wisdom from his uncle that "with great power comes great responsibility" but I realise now that it is my great responsibility to love and support you. Not alone, but with all of those other people who will share your life and watch as you grow.
I hope I am around one day when you too become a father just like I was for your Dad.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Plenty to be grateful for on Australia Day. Let's celebrate our diversity, remember that we have a responsibility to protect the weak, look after our aged and infirm; we have the right to work hard and to accumulate wealth not just for the sake of it but because it is one symbol of success.
But we should remember that wealth is not just reflected in money or possessions, it comes with the respect of family, friends and colleagues, with the knowledge that we live in a place where we don't need to go hungry, or sleep rough, where despite the odd harshness there is always a sunny day ahead, despite flood, the rains end, and after the fires the bush comes back.
I am proudly descended from Irish Catholic convicts, from northern Irish Orangemen, from English blacksmiths and Scottish farmers, from Welsh Normans and before them Vikings. In this country one branch of my ancestors has been here for more than 40,000 years, and 10,000 years before that my father's fathers line was in Tanzania. My connections with this country and with people around the world are growing daily and I thank whatever God there is that I had the good fortune to be born in this land at this time.
Thank you friends and family for your connection. Thank you to those who are absent and away from home - you know who and where you are - and know that I'm thinking of you. Let us all never forget that we are the luckiest people born in the luckiest country and hope that however we choose to celebrate that we can do it in peace for many more years to come.
Keep safe, stay true, be loved.
Happy Australia Day