Hi! <Waves>

Funny and honest tales from a made-to-work Dad of three, wobbling, graying, and laughing his way through parenthood. Armed to the teeth with Nerf guns, full of pie, fighting a chocolate addiction, but genuinely honoured to be at least half of Team Parents (yay!).
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3 December 2017

When Ten Years Have Got Behind You...

I find myself making a herbal cup of tea.
Redbush. No really I was. Because I know caffeine this late will keep me up.
I've picked my favourite mug from cupboard. My Pink Floyd - Dark side of the Moon - mug.
And as I get the tea bag out of the cupboard.
I sort of notice myself and stop.
What the hell has happened to me?

(Warning: May cause serious self reflection…
and evaluation of life choices, whilst drunk)

Firstly.
I am quite drunk. Not now as I type. But then.  
I had organised a night out with a Dad from Miss6's school.
And without anything else really to do whilst we got to know each other.
The pub was chosen...

Library?
OtherDad: <Shakes head>
Salad bar?
OtherDad: 'Yeah... but no...'
Good shout... The steak house?
OtherDad: 'They shut at nine. We'd have to go home. It's eight now...'
Hmmm... How about... ? Well...
OtherDad: 'What?'
Well I know it seems a bit strange, and maybe even unusual... But we could go to a pub!
OtherDad: 'Oooooo interesting...'
I seem to recall I used to frequent pubs when I was younger...
Before we had children...
OtherDad: 'You know what... I think I used to too!'
to too?
No way!!!
OtherDad: 'Yeah!'
Let's go! Have a sensible and grown up evening, discussing high brow thingys and culture and stuff!
OtherDad: 'So no football then?
OtherDad: 'Let's make it a one pint limit!'
Good idea!!!
[Four pints later]
[Last orders bell rings]
OtherDad: 'Going home shot?'
YES! <Stands with huge arm gestures>

We had a fun night.
And that's all you get to hear about that.
<Hic>

I manage to stagger home.
Finally get my keys in the lock and stumble in the door. Into complete darkness. Which does in some way explain why I had so much trouble lining up my tiny key to the tiny keyhole.
But why are all the lights off? It's late (post chucking-out time) so everyone else is asleep in bed. But normally Mrs. Amazing leaves a light on for me. (I do the same back).
And failing that we have a perpetual glow from nightlights scattered through the house.
They aren't glowing either.

The power is off.
Which could mean a power cut. But it’s a lot more likely to be the swine of a dish washer machine. Which has suddenly decided that it doesn't want to clean dishes and cutlery. And so instead is tripping the trip-switch five minutes into a wash.
I actually don't mind washing up. Years of K.P.ing (Kickarse Person Kitchen Porter) as a young man (I am, and was) mean I do not fear the sink.
But I hella hate having to empty dirty stuff from the dishwasher. That I had only just filled with. And then wash everything up by hand.
Why have the smegging machine?

I balance on a stool.
And by balance I mean wobble around really dangerously in the dark, on my own. Drunk. Reaching up for the main trip switch.
POoooW! Beep! Beep! [CD player starts up somewhere]

Lights back on.
And I'm glad I'm in the right house this time.
I go let Mrs. Amazing know I am home. And I am not a burglar.
Years back that would have meant finding Mrs. Amazing on the sofa watching a film. Maybe asleep.
Now a days I KNOW Mrs. Amazing will be in bed and asleep. It's past 101pm.
Unless of course one of the troubles is up and Mrs. Amazing is looking after them.
Then it all gets a bit awkward.
As turning up drunk to a calpol party is never good.

I let Mrs. Amazing know a good night was had by all.
Through operatic puppets. She is thrilled to be woken by this news.
In my spot in bed I find Miss6 totally zonked out. Making my side all Miss6 smelly. ew.
I go to pick her up. But at some point over the last few months. Miss6 has been stretched,  and now picking her up is difficult. As there's arms and legs all over the place.
Hitting doors, getting whacked on cupboards...

Shh shhh... no need to wake up... Daddy's got you...
[BANG]
Sorry...
[BANG]
Sorry same leg again
[BANG][BANG][BANG]
Miss6: 'Ow.'
Sorry... I'll be more careful...
[BANG]
... from ...
[BANG]
... now...
[BANG][BANG][BANG]
...on…
[BANG]
Miss6: ‘I’ll walk…’
[BANG]

(Like she’s been stretched? Like elastic? Hmmm…
<Crosses fingers really tightly for at least
one of them to have super powers>)

Next I check on BabyBoy3.
Last I saw of him. He had thrown all his bed sheets onto the floor. And decided to sleep on the floor. Where he will get cold and then wake up during the night.
Best move him off the floor now. Except he's not there. He's in his bed.
Mrs. Amazing must have moved him. Which is good news as I am not feeling uber stable at the moment and moving BabyBoy3 always seems to wake him.
BabyBoy3 snores away. In Buzz lightyear jammies. So hella cute.
Oh bacon I hope he sleeps in tomorrow.
So I can.

Poor Boy10 has a nasty cough.
And I hear him coughing away in her sleep. But he doesn't wake.
And I don't check on him either. As the cough has told me all I need to know.
He lives!

Then I've a choice.
I can either go straight to bed. As quickly as possible. And hope not to yip from the darkness and lying down. Which if I manage I've got a fair chance of being alert and awake tomorrow morning, ready for taking BabyBoy3 and Miss6 to school and nursery.
I just need to sleep immediately.

The other option is a bit more self indulgent.
I could put on the latest Red Dwarf (which I love) episode. Make some snacks. Drink lots of water. And then although I'd defo be knackered tomorrow.
I may not be hung over!

I flip a coin.
Drop it, lose it totally and whilst searching realise I’ve started making a sandwich and am missing the start of Red Dwarf. Which I must have just put on.
Decision made.

It's then.
I have my moment of ‘seeing’ myself. It's as I am making my herbal tea to go with my sandwich. That I somehow manage to look at myself.
But from the outside (yes quite drunk) like a out of body experience.
And no I didn’t die.

It’s hard to explain.
But I saw me. Doing what I was doing. And who I was.
Some part of me, probably a memory from a long time ago, didn’t like what it saw. It was pretty disgusted to be honest. It saw this old, safe, urghhhh, tired man, an adult, making his herbal tea. In his stupid Pink Floyd mug.
And that young memory really hated him.

Yeah. Weird I know.
I probably went for a wee next. As the next thing I remember was looking at myself in the mirror. It was pretty ghastly. I really looked.
I’ve learnt that my self image. The image I think I have, that everyone else sees. I think that me still looks about twenty five. And gets regular sleep.
The old bastard in the mirror, with huge panda eyes, frowning and glaring at me begs to differ.
<Swears at mirror>
<Is offended>

Sigh.

And yeah.
Right then I could of happily wandered off down the drunken blues path that night.
I’ve been there many times before. It’s not great to be honest. Kinda wrecks any sleep. It’s less fun. So instead I kept on staring at the mirror.
Start a staring competition.

Ironically.
Or ceramically if you prefer. As I am struggling to match my staring competitor, I’ve some Pink Floyd lyrics rattling round my head.
The song is about getting older, and madness. It’s called Time. I love it.
I suppose the lyrics are rattling about because of their aptness...

“And then one day you find ten years have got behind you,
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun,
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking,
Racing around to come up behind you again,
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death”



Bugger!
That’s what’s bugging me. Ten years! I’ve a Boy10! And I’ve been Dadding for ten years!
I am sure that isn’t just a coincidence. I reckon those two things are connected.
<Gives self a golf clap>

I know for me It’s a mixture of things that bug me.
There’s the dreams that I didn’t make time for. I’m not quite where I wanted to be.
<Moves slightly to the right, is a lot happier>
I’m not quite who I wanted to be. Future me always had hair. Long glorious hair. And future me’s belly was considerably less jelly like?
<Considers belly issue whilst eating pie>

Right then those lyrics feels true.
Ten years have got behind me. They’ve pretty much flown by. And that sucks.
A life eighth gone. Super quick.
There’s not much I can do about it either. I’m ten years older. Suck it up.
My self image is now WAYYYYYY out from reality.
And I’ll deal with that. Denial.

It’s one of the funny things about kids.
For me anyway. I find I am so busy and tired. That it’s easy to forgot all the good things. The brilliant bits. The daily grind and rush just seem to help push them out of my head.
And in my moment of self reflection, alone and drunk. I know I need something to help out of the nose dive I seem to be running face first into.

But I have a plan.
To combat this situation I take a lot of pictures of my monkeys children. Just whenever I see something I like. Click click. And then I’m back in the room, engaged. Nothing fancy. Rarely poses. It’s a quick thing. And a bit of me knows that probably I will never come back to those photos ever again. As they are a bit crap.
But I’m really glad I don’t listen to myself. What?

As those photos can be very powerful.
Whenever I feel like ten years have got behind me. Scrolling through those photos reminds me of what I have actually been doing for the past ten years. Playing in the park, cooking cakes, LEGO, hide and seek with the worst hiders in the world, building train tracks, hospital visits, cakes, parties, Christmas, racing cars, bath times, tiny people falling asleep on me… etc… on and on!!! So much LIFE!!!
No wonder I look so… er… middle aged parental now a days.

(BabyBoy3 ran at me for a hug whilst I was trying to take his picture...)
(SEE!)

Every single out of focus picture.
Every eye right up to the lens shot. Every picture where they ran out of the frame before the camera clicked. They may look crappo. May be useless to everyone else. But for me they can really spark the memory of what we were doing. And what I’ve been over the last ten years.
And that’s hella important.

Because I need that.
When I feel I haven’t done anything ‘worthwhile’ for the last ten years. I’ve no best seller book. My album isn’t being pirated world wide. Where I live isn’t named after me. #TheDreams!
When all that sneaks up on me and attacks. I’ve got something to fight back.
Even if I can’t remember, my pictures show me I’ve been really busy doing brilliant stuff for the past ten years. That no one else could have possibly done...
<Points at Boy10>
<Points at Miss6>
<Points at BabyBoy3>
And luckily I got to do it all with her… <Points at Mrs. Amazing>
Mrs. Amazing: <Blows me a kiss> <Also has my wallet>
[Cat walks by, feeling left out]

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