ChangingDad

Making the most of a new life


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Father’s Day #2: My Boys

Last week was an exciting week. There were many whispered conversations between Karen, my wife, and Jake, my four year old son. These conversations were not necessarily secret because Jake hasn’t really perfected the art of whispering yet. Nevertheless things were at fever pitch. Just why did he need to take in four milk carton tops into nursery? And why was I getting knowing looks from his carers? Clearly something was afoot, otherwise Jake wouldn’t have been desperate to go into nursery on Thursday afternoon despite having to go and see the doctor that morning with his usual breathing troubles (more on this at a later date).

The answer when it came was so very touching. Jake had made me a car for Father’s Day. I think it’s a great car. It was made by Jake and he put so much work into it. Yes he’s brought pictures home for me before, but this felt different somehow. It was more deliberate and another step in his development, and our relationship.

I’m noticing the same with Sam (my other son, who has just turned two), who is at that amazing stage where he is noticeably achieving new things everyday: new words, new shelves reached, more sophisticated play, and more of a mind of his own. Our relationship is developing all the time too, but in a different way than happened with Jake: which in itself is amazing. They are VERY different.

Father’s Day felt different this year then. Not just because it was the first without my Father, but because it reflected the new things that I am experiencing with the boys. However, when the festivities were over we went off to the park and it became a ‘normal’ day again. But normal in the sense that everyday is different, and change is constant. Routines come and go, certainties disappear and new certainties arise. That is the essence of what I’m trying to do with this blog, reflect on change, think about how I manage it, and to celebrate old endings and new beginnings.

So one thing is for sure. Father’s Day will never be the same again and I find that very exciting!

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Father’s Day #1: My Father

Father’s Day was something of a bittersweet occasion for me this year since my own Father passed away in November last year (2011). At the time I posted on my Facebook timeline that he was “the best Father that anyone could have hoped for”. He was always around and very committed to his family and, after my Mother died (in 1988), to my Stepmother and her family. I know that it was something of frustration to him that I spent most of my late twenties and early thirties as a student (for about ten years by the time I’d finished), but his support for me was always steadfast, once saying to me: “Whatever you want to do with your life I will support you”. He did not mean financial support but a moral and loving support which, to me, was priceless. I’m sure that this was not an easy thing for him to say, but it was an extraordinarily liberating thing for me to hear; giving me a real sense of freedom and ultimately helping me take risks which, in the long run, paid off.

Having children of my own has brought me many things, but perhaps the most important has been coming to realise what it means to be a parent, and in turn to appreciate what my parents went through: what they gave up and the extent of that unconditional love that only parents can have. Sadly I was never able to fully appreciate this before my mother died, but it means a lot to me that I was able to say ‘thank you’ to my Father. And I said a quiet thank you to him again this Father’s Day.

I still miss Dad. I miss ringing him up and telling him what the boys have been up to, and sharing a joke on the latest frustration of modern life (he loved stories about administrative ineptitude); and there is rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of him. It was important to me that he was part of this blog since he was so influential in many of the things that I have to say. That is why his memory is enshrined in the picture on the masthead, which is taken from the spot where we scattered his ashes on Derwentwater in the Lake District, Northern England earlier this year.

As you can see it really is a beautiful spot and I hope that it gives him the freedom that he so selflessly gave me.


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Happy Father’s Day!

When I think back to the birth of my first child nearly five years ago it seems that my life has changed so much over that time; sometimes for the better, sometimes in ways that frustrate me, and often it is just different. I love being a Dad and wanted to write this blog to help me to reflect on this change, and share it with others. I wanted to think how it has affected other parts of my life: family, marriage, work, friends, interests, as well as myself as a person. So this blog won’t just be about me, it will also be about the people and places that I have experienced and how they have shaped who and what I am.

I hope that over the coming months you will build up a picture of my life, my experiences and what interests me, but to do that you need to know some basic details. I have been married to Karen since 2006 and we have two boys: Jake (4) and Sam (2). We live in West Yorkshire; although we are shortly going to be moving to South Yorkshire (change!) with Karen’s job. I took redundancy from my job at the end of 2011 (more change!), and am doing a postgraduate course in Executive and Business Coaching. I will no doubt be reflecting on what got me here in future posts, so watch this space.

Since this blog is about my life as a Dad, I thought that it would be very appropriate to launch it on Father’s Day. I very much hope that you will enjoy it, be inspired by it, be entertained by it, and contribute to it through your comments, which will be gratefully received.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!