My children had faceless Waldorf dolls when they were growing up, lovingly made by my late mother-in-law.  They never liked those dolls, so finally, I relented and bought them Cabbage Patch ones which looked like little babies.  Those Cabbage Patch babies of my children’s childhood – Scraggie, Helena and Simon – are still here with us today, lovingly preserved for memories’ sake.

Last night, watching a rerun of ITV’s Morse from 20 years back, the little girl in the story was carrying a Grandpa doll. I thought that was sweet: my father and I have never had the easiest of relationships, though in later years, we both have settled into an equilibrium of sorts as we discover the facets of each other that we like and admire, that had been obscured by our youthful angst.  But the greatest thing I had done for my father was giving him grandchildren.  He has a lovely relationship with his grandchildren, full of pride and tenderness for them.

Where I had strict laws and edicts from my father, my children had advice and words of wisdom. He jests with them, whilst he had demanded formality from I. They adore him, and he, in turn, looks forward to their visits. I think it benefits children greatly to have a close and loving relationship with their grandparents.  And seeing the little girl on TV with a grandpa doll did make me smile  – it’s good knowing that the world over, there are grandpas being given a second chance at fatherhood and finding the contentment that they perhaps never had from their own children.

Grandpa dolls, anyone????