I’m not a parent and have absolutely no intention to be, so I know I can’t really judge other people on their parenting skills. But I worry about my brother’s relationship with my nephew.

James provides everything Marcus needs: shelter, food, clothes, school, glasses; some things we wants: books, toys, lots of ice cream; and some things he comes round to, like his bike. He works hard to be able to pay for all these things, because his mother does sod all, except buy him something every now again for his affection (like a tablet).

But I worry that James gives Marcus a hard time: he gets so wrapped up in trying to raise a well-educated, well-behaved son that he forgets about the fun. Not just that Marcus needs to have fun, but that he does too: that it’s good for adults to behave like kids sometimes.

After I visited in January, James told Mum that I was great with Marcus. And it’s basically because I like the fact that I have an excuse to behave like a child: play, run, dance, skip… basically burn off loads of energy and laugh and smile while doing so.

And every now and again, James does join in (at least when I’m there). But he doesn’t instigate, and is generally quite stoic. And that makes me sad: it’s like he’s forgotten what it’s like to be a child. I hope that with time, some of my young-at-heartedness rubs off on him. He needs to loosen up.

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