A collection of magic moments between fathers and their kids.
(These stories are printed exactly as they were submitted, so no apologies for errors in grammar).
First, let me set the scene a little. My youngest daughter started school in August 2004. She had been going for a few months, had settled in really well, and couldn’t wait for each school day to start. The days really took it out of her though, and she wouldn’t be capable of much from the moment she got home until bed time.
Often it was just “damage control” to get her safely through to lights out. We would keep asking her how school was going, but, in retrospect, I don’t think she really had the energy to tell us (even if she wanted to).
One day during the school holidays, I was stacking wood. It can be a fairly tedious job as many of you could attest. Sometimes I find it good for testosterone levels however, as I get in touch with my primate lumberjack heritage.
There I was hauling armloads of chopped pine around the section, when an inquisitive young person came wandering out. She had finished the activity she was doing (my eldest daughter was at a friend’s house), and without big sister around, she was naturally a bit bored. She immediately wanted to help, as any five year old would.
I fully expected this enthusiasm to last fully one minute for each year of her age. However, she got into quite an impressive, systematic routine. One carefully chosen log at a time would be carried with great determination from unruley pile to ordered stack.
As time passed, she began to talk. Four months worth of thoughts and observations about her time at school came pouring out. Classmates, friends, parents, playgrounds, lunches, teachers, buildings, concerts, events, bikes, scooters, sharing time, Friday fun day. On and on it went until hunger got the better of her and afternoon tea beckoned.
The conversation continued indoors, uninterrupted, over tea, juice, biscuits and fruit, until big sister arrived home. It was one of the best afternoons of my life (if not the best), and made me realise how precious uninterrupted one-on-one time is with each of my children.
When you work Monday to Friday, you don’t get to spend daytime with your children ‘til the weekend and you often come home to stories from your partner about some of the amazing things your children have done whilst you’re at work.
He is usually the one that’s up spending time with dad before I go to work. As he is used to my daily routine, he always tries to help Dad get ready for work in the only way that a little boy could.
He grabs my bag out of the bedroom and hands it to me. Then he will sit on the couch as I have a coffee and we watch the children’s programmes together. I Feel so lucky to have such a wonderful family.
They are always there to see me off before I go to work and with hugs and kisses and I know they can’t wait ‘til I get home.
It’s all the small things that my children do that let me know they love me dearly, like trying to wear Dads shoes or hat, to sitting in Dads chair simply because it is Dads chair. Whether I can save the world or not, when I look into my children’s eyes I can tell I’m their Superman.
Have Motorbike-Will Travel
In the first months after my first son Liam was born, I recall reflecting that despite the reading I had done, and the ante-natal classes I had attended, nothing had really prepared me for the adjustment to parenthood.
It was both more rewarding and meaningful than I imagined, and more difficult and stressful.
I now have two sons (Liam 3 1/2 and Finn 1 1/2), and I can’t imagine life without them. I find it difficult to recollect what my wife and I did with our time before they arrived. I value the relationship with them both enormously, and often feel a wrench when work takes me away from home.
Liam sometimes says that he wants to come to work with me. One day he was sitting on his motorcycle at the garage door ready to accompany me cycling to work.
Recently Finn is starting to say the odd word. I just have to begin putting on my jacket for him to say “bye-bye”, and wave in a manner that really melts the heart.
The early years pass so quickly.
I am conscious that I want to enjoy them to the maximum. Too soon planning begins for the boys schooling. I deeply appreciated being present for both Liam and Finn taking their first steps. They seem wired to grow and learn.
Little moments such as them succeeding to feed themselves, or linking two pieces of train track together for the first time have a special quality about them.
There is humour, like when Liam was talking on the telephone, nodding in agreement and waving goodbye, assuming the person on the other end of the ’phone can see him. Being a father is an awesome and fulfilling experience and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to share my life with my children.
My wife went to Australia recently to visit family, leaving me at home with two small children. It was by far the longest amount of time that mother and children had been apart, and quite a large part of me was dreading the day of departure.
When that day came, it was the kids cue to both get sick. We all muddled through the weekend though, but my youngest child was too sick to go to school on the Monday, so I kept her home. I remember lying in bed, not wanting to get up, trying to come up with answers to the question “what the hell am I going to do with a sick child for the rest of the day?”.
However, the day passed (in a bit of a blur). Near the end of the day, I was starting to struggle, with both kids quite tired, grumpy, and still feeling the effects of being sick. I was missing my wife terribly, and not just for the extra pair of hands.
Just before bedtime, as chaos was reaching its peak, I went down to check that they were indeed getting ready and tucking themselves in, when I noticed that one of them had got out all the pens and paper (which we had just tidied away), and was drawing.
I stood there, feeling my temperature rising, unsure whether to laugh maniacly or cry, when she handed me the piece of paper she was working on.
When I read it, my mind was made up. I asked her kindly to get ready for bed, went to the lounge room, and had a good cry. That note had just gone right through my heart and out the other side!
PS. Translated from 5 year old speak, the note reads-
“Dear Dad, I hope (you) are having a good time with me. Love from Anna XXOOO. I love you”.