Here’s that rain again. Inspiring sure, but not today…okay.
Not today because there are things on that could do without it. The rain will advantage others, or so it is said by those supposedly in the know.
Not today because this is the weather that should have me in the mood to write. The thing is, today, I am tired.
I woke up in a panic. Two things can stress me when I wake. The phone, and not knowing where the fuck I am.
A ringing phone stresses me because, more often than not, it means my dear wife will have to organise her shambolic morning head into some form of order and shuffle out the door at some ungodly hour. And boom, there goes my time off!
But let’s be honest, that doesn’t bother me as much as it troubles the Wee-Man. Arlo can be quite put out doing the crusty eyed roll over thing, only to discover the nipples he is clamoring for, are covered in curly, graying hair.
Ram some food in his gob and he is all good. A Wee-Man after my own heart. Though naturally, he captured my heart right at the outset.
The bigun’s will have an indoors day; reading, movies and whatever. All good until the noise escalates, as it will, and then it might be gumboots and raincoats.
Personally, I am going to need to get out and about at some stage. This is going to be one of those can’t sit still days. The pacing will begin soon, something my damaged knee will not enjoy, but is going to have to put up with. Neighbours new to us might pop down tonight, because we have Sky, and they will be enlightened about the fervor with which I follow my rugby…Claire will goad me with ‘It’s just a game’, the kids will tune in for the Haka, then lose interest, not batting an eyelid as I jump about yelling at the television.
Hopefully I won’t be so tired then.
Crawling into your daughters bed at whatever hour, beckoned by the warbled cry of ‘Daddy I need you’ tends to throw your slumber into chaos.
Unusually, it was Kenny calling out, our eldest. At nearly twelve, she is and always has been, the soundest of our charges. Not like her to wake in the night at all, let alone be driven from her sleep by her dreams. Kenny is the one that snuggles beneath the duvet, no matter the temperature.
A cozy snuggle with one of my crew is always welcomed and in Kenny’s case, the activity comes complete with a sprawling queen-sized bed. Sure, it is too soft for me and my back takes days to straighten properly again, but it is better than fighting that feeling you are about to plunge into a darkened abyss.
She is wearing her mothers shoes. She fits her wet weather gear. The same blonde sheen in her hair. Damn near the same height.
At a glance, one of those out of the corner of the eye moments you get when either I am entering a room or she is, Kenny looks just like her mother. Especially from the back. It is a realisation I have come to recently and it petrifies me.
Nearly 12. Not a child any more, still a kid. Not a women, not even a teen. Not a kid? Hell, I don’t know, but whatever it is, I am scared.
Scared because she has mentioned ‘cramping’. Scared because there are sports bra/crop top thingies in the washing I hang out despite the threat of rain.
I am frightened. She is growing up and I am beginning to wonder if I can grow with her, or will her Dad be left behind. Kenny is not going to mature into the world that I did. Things have changed. For the better or worse I do not yet know, but I fear it is the latter.
And just when does a Father stop snuggling? When is it a bit off for me to be crawling into Kennady’s bed, pulling her close and giving her the ‘there’ theres’? Is it ever going to be the wrong thing? Is it too late already…
I would hope I can cuddle, snuggle, kiss and tickle and giggle and roll around playing silly buggers with my daughters right up to the age they out-muscle me. Then I will pull the pin, the shame would be too great.
Is there a point where that behaviour is frowned upon? Do I even need to care, or do I care, about what the ‘norm’ might be? About what ‘society’ dictates?
In truth, the moment any frolicking and wrestling and general tomfoolery will come to an end is when the subject matter, namely Kenny, frowns down on her silly old Dad, no longer wanting to participate.
Perhaps that day is overdue. Perhaps it is a long time coming. When it does eventuate, I think I will be sad.
Briefly, to those that think the All Blacks will be troubled because it is raining…HA!
Good luck with that theory. We have a tight five that will man up, ball handlers across the park that will back their skill level regardless, a playing surface that can take it, a ball on a string wizard in Barrett-provided he gets the time and space-and the stamina to go the distance and beyond if required.
I, for one, am supremely confident.
Bring on the rain.
There is a tension in the house and it is my fault.
How much of how you are feeling reflects on how your kids are feeling, do you think?
I reckon your attitudes, feelings, emotional output, has a huge and powerful effect on how the children feel about their day.
A girl like Kennady, sensitive all her life, excessively so at times, is old enough to have a bit of a sense about that sort of thing, one that goes beyond a feeling, a vibe she may be picking up on. She has learnt to recognise the signals that I display.
Hazel is a bit more blase, a bit more wrapped up in her own thing. Hazel has always had her own take on what is going on around her and at the moment, there is nothing different about her reaction to me and my edge. That will change. In slightly less than 24 hours from now she is going to be just as fired up as I am. Or at least she will make out she is, for the sake of her old man.
Esme doesn’t get it and I can only hope that in time, Arlo will. The Wee-Man, the prodigy.
Claire gets it. Claire hates it.
She hates the nervous tension, the pacing, the yelling and the excited-ness and the explosive displays of emotion; from anger to shock to joy. There will be joy. Elation.
What the Highlanders did signaled it. The way tomorrow night will be, before and after.
It has started now, already. Started early in the week, was exacerbated by the selection announcement and now I can barely keep a lid on it.
C’mon the All Blacks!!
These are the days you dread. I do anyway, for a multitude of reasons.
A great day for writing. I need it like this, find it inspiring or whatever it is that gets the creativity in me bursting to get out.
It is an easy mix. All you need is a tin roof and some rain, the heavier the better. Throw in, like today, a smattering of thunder and the odd streak of lightening and I am away.
Sounds great you think. Go for it, you say. But it won’t last. Right now I can hear the morning debate taking place in the kitchen as the older two are motivated by a mother that claims to be taking it easy this morning. Translation: itching around the place with not enough to do before her working day begins. A baby slumbers, stirring but not giving in to the reality of a day dawned just yet. The E-Bomb is still asleep too, sprawled upstairs on her drool stained mattress.
She will stay that way for ages, a champion of the sleep in, because her mother and I are bad parents. Kenny and Hazel give us pecks on the check and head up the creaky, spiral staircase around half eight. Esme returns to her slack parents after they have all done the teeth, toilet, pj’s routine.
And there she stays, fussy and cuddling up to one or the other of us and if she is lucky we read a story or two. Otherwise she has to put up with whatever dross is on the television while she vies for attention and snuggle space with her little brother, who is most likely fast asleep himself by this point. Esme will toss and turn, bitch and moan and eventually, thankfully, begin to doze. When she is out to it I will hoist her in my arms and carry her, precariously, up the stairs and into her bed, sweeping the hair of her face so she doesn’t snuffle herself awake.
We are scared of her. It is that simple. The threat of the E-Bomb is petrifying and not something I want to encounter in the evening. Does that make Claire and I a pair of wimps? Are we too soft? Or are we new age, touchy feely, letting our child be the ‘person’ that she is, allowing her to shine and develop as she will. Such a strong will it is too.
None of that. We are pragmatic. It is about us at that point, Mum and Dad, Claire and Mike, Husband and Wife. Man and woman. Or at least, it is supposed to be.
So much for ‘parent time’. It is a term I have been known to throw out there, a mythical time and place, supposed to eventuate at some stage in the late evening. A place without the sight and sound of children, when my naturally inappropriate tendencies can shine, have their time and place. A time and a place when my wondering hands, my lewd comments and salivating eagerness can meet the standard, stone-walled ‘get a vasectomy’ response they are so prepared to receive. And after all of that, the little bastard ends up in our bed!
Just as an aside, Kenny is the only potential bastard. She was at the wedding though, so I am not sure if that counts. Her mum carried her there, across the sands to the sea-ward side of the Island where the ceremony took place. In her belly. Barely a swell. We both wore rings by the time she was born, Kenny’s birth story a bloody good yarn in itself and one I will share one day, maybe the next time it is raining.
The sky is brightening now, the kids edgy to get to school and the bomber still asleep. Wee-Man has rolled into happy smiley existence and the day is off to a good start. Claire will drop the kids off and I will be left to it.
To my frustrations, my ineptitude, by inabilities and disabilities and to back pain and a sore knee and smiles and dog pee and baby poo and dinner ideas I can’t complete and lunches I forget to make and snacks at inappropriate times and too much television and not enough reading and rolling around on unclean floors and not enough layers for treks outdoors to puddles too deep and mud too muddy.
Today, despite the rain setting the mood, I will not get a thing right.
Today there will be arguments and recriminations and fights and yells and screams and bitching. Today there will be yelps and shouts and leaps and lunges and trips and falls and dancing and singing and laughter and more tears.
Today, I can’t put a foot wrong.