Wednesday, 19 June 2013

For Daniel

This morning, my little sunshine boy thundered down the path to your house, short legs pumping, covered in the bruises of a thousand tree-climbing adventures and hair already wet with the heat of today in the way that only you boys seem to be able to manage.

We get to your door and you're almost ready to go bar a disagreement with Daddy about what shoes are going to look best with your trousers.  No matching uniform for you boys today but you carry the same sense of mischief, this is going to be a memorable trip.

It's your first visit to 'big school' and you're going together.  A big deal, a big day.

I walk with your Daddy while the two of you trot on ahead but you are good enough to stop at the road which is frankly amazing given how away with the fairies you both seem to be.  Stop, look and listen.  Good boys.

We go a little further and you stop again, not for the road but to pick up a feather.  You hold it out and say "Look Daddy, here's a feather from Mummy."  Your mummy.  Your daddy's wife.  My beautiful friend.  She saw you and sent you a feather and in that moment she is where she should be, here with us, with your Daddy, walking you to school. 

A second later and you're off.  Running, racing, chasing your friend, your mummy's smile bright on your face.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Daddy Cool

With Father's Day upon us now seems like a good time for a post on fatherhood. 

I have heard that a man out with his children will be viewed by women as more attractive than a man out on his own.  Now this really does depend on the setting; a father in a nightclub with his 5 year old twins, or a man hitch-hiking with a baby might not support this theory.....but with the father and child being in the right place it does have a point.

When I met my husband we were in our 20's and spent our time and money on clubbing, drinking and eating out.  We took our hangovers to work and started our weekends on a Thursday night. We went on long, expensive holidays, laid the foundations for years of 'in-jokes' with our friends and generally did as we pleased for a good 10 years.

You think at the time that it's the best it's going to get.  What more could you want but to have no ties, cash in the bank and weekends dedicated to getting silly and falling over with your mates?

Fast forward to a wet Bournemouth beach on New Year's Day in 2005.  We are married, I am nearly 30 and we decide that we would like to have children.  18 months later it becomes a reality and whilst there are a million other blog posts that could be written on the topic of parenthood, oh what a life affirming thing it is to see your husband hold his child for the first time. 

Seeing your other half comfort and nurture a tearful toddler, wipe up the unspeakable (and sometimes unstoppable) mess that comes from every orifice of a newborn, pull ridiculous faces to get that 'first laugh', mend bikes, play catch, sit through Mr Tumble for the tenth time, tie little laces, learn lullabies and sit on a child's chair at parent's evening with a straight face is, for me at least, one of the most fantastic parts of parenting.  For all the DIY, heavy-lifting, log-splitting and fire making skills a man may have, there is something perhaps even more masculine in being a great father.  Which brings us back to the start - seeing a man who is great with his children is a better advert for masculinity than a man with his shirt off showing you how 'ripped' he is.  Fact.

ps - If you're wondering who the dude in the photo is - that's my dad holding me as a baby.  Long hair, denim flares and silver cowboy boots - he was a great man and a great dad.  A proper 'Daddy Cool'.

Soundtrack: Daddy Cool by Boney M  what's not to like about this?!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

It's Only Words

Right then!  Having finished the first draft of Reasons to be Cheerful, Part One and sent it off to be proof-read I have a little space in my head to write again whilst he covers the manuscript in red pen highlighting my declining grasp on grammar and disregard for the wiggly red lines that signify you have made a spelling mistake.

Before sending it over to him, I did something that is a little bit like giving your house a quick hoover before the cleaner comes - I checked it over.  It comes from the same place as wanting to convince the cleaner that you live in a tidy house when she knows for a fact that you use 'under the sofa' as a storage solution.  I wanted him to think that my work is grammatically great when he knows that I'm far too busy trying to unravel a story from the ball of wool that is my brain to pay proper attention.  

Unsurprisingly there were many mistakes and I was touched that nobody had put a stick in my writer's spokes by pointing these out on the blog.  So thank you for forgiving the extra letters in words like occasionally and necessary (words that I was sure I had right, but definitely did not), the missing letters and the liberal sprinkling of unnecessary apostrophes.  And David, if you're reading this, you now know that I know, that you know, that I know that I'm not great at this.  I await your score!

Soundtrack: It's Only Words by The Bee Gees