Rogan was only 6 years old when we did our first road-trip together.
Perhaps I should just point out that a road-trip in the UK isn’t on quite the same scale as the Great American Road-Trip, where you can travel for thousands of miles in the same direction. From where I live, nowhere in mainland Britain is more than 519 miles away.
However, it was a road-trip in that it was just me and him, travelling down from Scotland to the South coast of England, which entailed spending quite a few hours in the car together (anyone confused about the difference between the UK, Great Britain and England should watch this video - http://youtu.be/rNu8XDBSn10).
This first one was not under the best of circumstances. I’d just discovered my mother had a rare cancer of the ear (who knew such things existed?). Knowing I had to travel several hundred miles in a highly emotional state I decided to take Rogan in order to keep me grounded. When you have a 6-year-old dependant with you, falling apart completely is no longer an option, no matter how much you might want to. It also meant he got to spend a bit of time with his Dad on his own, and was in charge of doling out the sweets (candy) on the way.
Despite being only 6 years old, he was extraordinarily good company, and it became one of those father-son bonding things.
7 months on, the 2 of us went down again for a few days. We got to meet my new one-week-old nephew, but it was the last time Rogan would see his granny, who passed away 3 months later.
When Rogan was 13 I was chatting to him about things he might like to do, and he suggested another road trip for the two of us. It had been 3 years since I’d last seen my brother and sister down in Devon, so it seemed like a good excuse.
Last year we did it again. Now aged 17, I thought this would probably be the last chance for us to spend that kind of time together.
But I was wrong.
There’s a 30-year reunion thing going on with some of the people from my old school. I missed the 20-year one but thought it could be quite fun. Maggie thinks I’m completely insane to want to go along – she can’t think of anything more torturous than being stuck in a room of people she hasn’t seen for decades out of choice.
I was humming and hawing about it, then mentioned to Rogan he could come with me if he liked, and he said yes. That sealed it, so tomorrow the two of us are heading off for a week together again.
This probably will be the last one: he's now 18 and in September he heads of to Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh to study physics. I’m going to miss him terribly.
However, these road trips have become a defining aspect of his childhood and our relationship, which will always stay with us. And in many ways, I don’t think they would have happened, had it not been for the tragic circumstances of my mother dying from cancer. If I choose to look at it in this way, then it could be said these trips, and the particular level they have allowed me and my son to connect on, was an inadvertent but powerful parting gift from my Mum.
Meanwhile, our road-trip wouldn’t be complete without also taking the opportunity to call in on everyone’s favourite blogger, Pat. We’ve met up with her the last 2 times we’ve been down that way and are delighted that she’s agreed to meet up with us once again.