Cake and Candles
Wee-man has turned one! A mighty milestone and its killing me.
I don’t play favourites with the kids.
That is to say, I try not to.
I have three girls and a boy. My Wee-Man. Even the dogs are bitches and my wife, well…
For years I have been outnumbered, out hormoned and it has gotten increasingly prevalent as time, and breeding, has gone by. When they are little it is pretty much irrelevant. Really young, and the differences in genders are very non-specific.
Toys are used for whatever purpose, most often nothing to do with what the toy-maker might have had in mind. Cartoons are this or that and as long as they are bright, colourful and fun, then they will be watched regardless of the targeted demographic. Little activities like drawing and building blocks and excursions are all the same; just go ahead and get stuck in.
There is no emphasis placed on what the little ‘uns are into. Number One and Two have an influence on the play-time of the E-Bomb, the three-nager and will undoubtedly do so more and more for Wee-Man. If his big sisters end up tucking him into dresses and skirts, doing up his hair and touching up his make-up, so be it.
Most likely, the day will come when he just will not be into what his sisters are. His attention will be drawn to trucks and diggers and power tools and rifles and fishing rods. And rugby. Wee-Man will be into rugby.
Until that time I have no favourites. When my boy makes his own calls, starts to express his own interests, shuns his sisters, then I will swoop, envelop him under my wing and make him my own. Not a carbon copy, not his Father living vicariously through his son’s deeds.
Then he will no longer be Wee-Man. He will be my man.
The simple reality is, there will soon be things going in the lives of my eldest children, my girls, that are pretty much beyond my comprehension. They are growing and developing and changing and all those horrible words that signal it is time for their Mother to step up. I don’t believe I am being weak when I say there is just so much I can handle. And I am sure, only so much the girls are going to want me attempting to handle.
Good. I am a spectacular Dad, which in turn makes me an incredible bloke. We all know that. But I have two feet and pretty soon I am going to have to start putting one of them down. Make my stand. Draw a line.
Throw in the towel. Wave the white flag.
When that time comes I will have my buddy, my support, my back-up. My man. Whatever it is he and I do, to fill in the time we spend together, father and son, we will do so out of earshot. My Dear Wife will be there for her girls, just as she always has been, just as I have always been.
But right now it has been all about another birthday. The actual date has passed but the party is not going to be until this weekend. Such as it will be for a one-year-old. I mean, how carried away do you have to get? Not like he is going to remember a thing, though we are not one of those families where the birthday celebrations become more of an excuse for the parents to have a leer up.
There will be another round of cake and candle blowing and gifts wrapped and we will laugh and sing and eat junk food and it all signals the passing of yet another year. Wee-Man will blow out those candles on his own, or at least give a good impression of doing so. He will feed himself at least 40% of his treat lunch. 40% will be devoted to the floor in an attempt to feed the dog, that will have already been booted outside and
I’ll struggle to piece together his gift, following the woefully inadequate instructions, while Dearest stresses herself out in the kitchen baking another incredible creation that no one will properly appreciate until it is cut up and stuffed in our gobs. Fun for all.
I will smile and I will sing in my best baritone (I have no idea if that is my singing voice or not…wounded water-buffalo is more accurate probably) and I will clap and laugh along. None of it will be forced and yet I will be dark on the inside.
Another moment gone. another blip, another monumental occasion, never to happen again.
I don’t mean to get all maudlin on it, I don’t mean to wallow and I certainly won’t be that guy at the party everyone mutters about when they think he isn’t looking. ‘What a drag’.
It is just that every step my son takes, literally, he moves things on ever further in my life. And it isn’t only him, they are all doing it, or have done it. Some of the craziest things too, that suddenly strike you, or creep up on you later.
Number One won (say that five times quickly) her first cross-country event today! Beat out a bunch of other competitors, even some boys. One proud dad.
Number Two broke her first bone a couple of years ago. The first and only so far among the kids. And yes, I was a bad Dad because there were a couple of days of ‘you’ll be right’ before we finally got her wrist x-rayed. She sprained it in a fall just the other day and there I was reminded of that originally injury. The first decent knock the kids have had.
The letting go of the bike seat, the first dive off the edge of the pool, the first solid feed, the first teetering steps, the first words and all the other obvious ones.
What about the first hug…do you remember those? The first time they reached out for you, not as some automated need for nurture or warmth, but because they wanted a hug. I do.
So while my cholesterol sky rockets and my ever increasing weight holds me firmly on the ground, while my hair line recedes from my scalp but finds other patches of bare skin to colonise, while my joints creak and groan and my muscles atrophy, I sit and think of all the things I will never see happening again.
I am thankful for each and every one of those very special moments. Cherished moments of wonder ad joy. The type of stuff that keeps the cynical at bay, the grumpy subdued.
The love stuff.