I don’t know any parent who thinks that they’ve got this parenting business sorted. The people I surround myself with are perfectly flawed and mostly just 30 seconds away from mayhem. MM and I are making it up as we go. We aren’t always on the same page when it comes to our parenting technique. Shit we don’t even have a technique. But our son is loved deeply and irrevocably. Even when he’s being a tiny dictator.
We don’t always need to be on the same parenting page but it helps if we are reading the same chapter. We’ve got our own thing going on, trusting each other to make the right decision at any given moment. Having a toddler in the house is a bit like having a needy co-worker. The type who is the first to complain about the brand of biscuits that are on offer but will happily and easily scoff the lot. So for MM and I there’s plenty of occasions when we are so far off the map that it’s a bit “whatever works.”
Since it’s Father’s Day and because I couldn’t find a hallmark card that said what I wanted to say, this is what I want you to know.
I know that Charlie has transformed you in ways you didn’t expect or even think possible. I remember when the yearning I had for a baby consumed me. I was often derailed by the reality of it all. At the time you were happy to go through life without a child. This could have been a huge thing for us, a conflict that could have divided us but instead you chose to do something for me because you said that my happiness was important to you and that although you couldn’t think of a reason to have a child you couldn’t think of a reason to not have a child. Little did we know that we had years of IVF ahead of us and yet you continued to support my crazy head and messed up heart. For every failed cycle, you hugged me and supported the decision to try again. Holy shit you could have called time on this but you never did.
Three years into parenthood, this is what I know. There is no better father that Charlie could ever have. Ever.
At three, I don’t know how much of Charlie’s childhood so far he will remember. I’m hoping he will look back on it and not think we completely screwed things up for him. I’m quite sure there will be plenty of occasions that he will hate you, hate me, hate us. The thought terrifies me but I’m not that naïve to think it won’t happen. I told him the other day that it was Father’s Day soon. Daddy’s day when we give daddy a present and tell him how much we love him. I probably shouldn’t have opened with the gift giving bit because Charlie’s wanted to then go straight to the toy shop and buy you a present. Not ideal. I suggested Bunnings but he wasn’t to be convinced.
Of late, I have been watching Charlie watch you. As he continues to grow into the little boy he is, I see you in him. Like you, he is curious and questioning. He is stubborn and rebellious and funny. He has not yet learnt to be sarcastic but I suspect it’s coming.
You should see his eyes light up when he hears your car pull up. DADDY’S HOME. Those big eyes widen with sheer joy as he tries to decide where to hide before you come through the door. Even on days that he appears nonchalant that you’ve walked in the door, make no mistake that this is bullshit. He’s just pretending.
Because of you he says “bless you” whenever someone sneezes. I may have taken credit for this when the lady at the park sneezed.
Because of you he does a great imitation of a “bull.” Life skills and all that.
Because of you he thinks he can fix stuff, including wayward shopping trolleys. A recent trip to Coles required us to change trolleys thanks to dodgy wheels. Charlie was quite certain that if I had a screw driver he could fix it. I questioned him on this to which his response was that “he fixes things with daddy in his shed.” He seemed disappointed that I couldn’t produce a screw driver from my bag.
I know he puts you through your paces when it comes to bed time and song selection. You should seriously consider a career in song writing for all that you have in your repertoire. There’s the rubbish truck song, the song song, the good night song, the shower song, the duck song, the dinosaur song, the tractor song and your favourite, the nothing song. My heart skips when he sings the “you are my sunshine” song.
Because of you he knows to wash behind his ears because that’s where the potatoes might grow.
Because of you he knows to brush his teeth up and down and round and round. I think that stupid La La show might have given you the inspiration behind this. Because of you, he has a liking for having a hankie on hand. I cannot keep a straight face when I watch him use it in the exact same fashion that you use yours.
Because of me he might learn that life is a little bit glitter and sparkle but because of you he will learn that it’s really all just rock and roll. He will know that at his christening it was me who chose Somewhere over the Rainbow and you who chose John Lennon.
Saturday mornings use to be for listening to music or watching Rage. You now watch Blippi truck videos. You deserve an award for this alone. Saturday nights were for going out for dinner, going to a gig or watching sport. You now watch Shaun the Sheep. I’d hazard a guess that you’ve seen every episode. I wouldn’t be guessing when I say that you enjoy it too.
I’m pretty certain that he learnt the word “boobs” from you.
You know last week I heard you tell him that it’s okay to cry. I can’t remember in what context it was, but you told him that it was okay to cry, that it was good to cry and that crying would make it better. You win at fatherhood for this statement alone.
It’s because of you that the essence of his childhood will be one where he knows it’s the little things that are in fact the big things. He will know a childhood of lessons, love and adventures. He will know right from wrong. He will know that we won’t always get it right but that making mistakes is part of the deal.
Because of you he will have a childhood that he will look back on and feel properly grateful.
Happy Father’s Day from us to you.