Age is a number, they say. Age is a mental concept, they say. You’re only as old as you feel, they say. Well “they” can go and f…ondle themselves on a highway. “They” are walking around with their head up their ass because growing old is inevitable but ridiculously hard to get used to. I’ve gained a newfound understanding for how age can creep up on you and then jump and throttle you like a facehugger.
We spend our annual holiday camping at a family resort, which is basically paying a lot of money to live like a homeless person. I used to be very anxious and actively involved in setting up our camp site making sure everything is done in a proper way because camping becomes a lot less fun when the wind blows your tent to the next country. The resort we stay at has people who are more than happy to set up the site for you, at a fee of course. Being who I am, I didn’t oblige because I have slaves working for free, my two teenage kids. But this process of getting them to do what I want them to do, implies an increased high blood pressure for yours truly, due to my method of giving them instructions. Wife says it’s just me barking random comments but I disagree. They don’t listen. (Maybe they don’t speak canine.) And contrary to what some of you might think, a raised blood pressure and two annoyed teenagers, does not a happy holiday make. This year I paid the fee, not because my kids didn’t want to help, but because I didn’t want too. It’s less effort.
In my younger days I would have blasted Britney without any consideration for retaining my own ability to hear, never mind the objections or feelings of those people around me. Music sounded better when it was loud, until it doesn’t anymore. The entertainment crew of the resort were playing music at the pool, blasting some atrocious shit at the volume of a missile launch through the speakers. Wife and I unconsciously migrated to the furthest point in the pool. We just drifted away from the source of the noise, to find a quieter place where we could have a normal conversation without having to spit in each other’s face from pure exertion to make our voices heard.
And don’t get me started on the utter bull shit they were playing. I mean who in their right mind listens to this shit? No wonder millennials are all set up for failure, just look at what the poor sods have on their playlists? I still believe that every time you hear an eighties song, it makes you a better person.
I normally could make quite a splash when I entered a pool, whether it be diving, bombing, falling in drunk… This time I refrained from any physical activity whatsoever because I had a very tough year. I resorted to hang around the pool like a hippo on a hot day. I turned out to be an annoyed hippo because this one little brat kept jumping in the pool, then he got out, then he jumped in, then he got out, then he jumped in, then…well you get the picture. All happening within two feet of my face. So instead of running the risk of me screaming at the toddler “For $#@!* sake dickhead, do you mind?” my Wife simply guided me to calmer waters.
I know if given the opportunity, I could be an Olympic athlete, if they make sleeping an Olympic sport. I do pride myself on being an excellent sleeper, especially lately. I never used to be very good at it, wasting my effort and time on things like partying until the sun comes up, hanging out with mates, watching movies and/or studying. As I grew older I developed an appreciation for the gift of sleep and even though it’s not official, I’ve started my training just in case they do elect sleeping as an Olympic sport. I now take naps as often as I can. Anywhere, anytime. I’m so focused that I would wake up in the morning and mentally schedule my next nap, before I even get out of bed.
Henry Ford invented a car (or stole the idea) because he got tired of walking from his house to McDonalds. Hence, we don’t have to do it anymore. Walking in the South African summer makes me sweat (which is not a good look for me) and besides, it takes much longer than a quick drive. Every time I walked from our camp site to the pool, I felt my fat cells withering away, crying sweaty tears in agony, as I was killing them slowly. I’m not a sadist and believe that every living thing has the right to live, their own little place in the sun. What kind of person would I be if I continue with the genocide of my own fat cells, even if there is an overpopulation of them around my midsection, a direct result of an unexpected escalation of their birth rate, over the festive season? So I used my car a little more than I normally did. To protect the innocent.
Getting out of bed or a chair or any position for that matter used to be easy. And without noise. During this holiday I realised my body is making more noises than it used to. Even if I had to move for a very good reason like getting a beer. Surprisingly these “noises” were not only created by the joints in my body, or the occasional fart, they also escaped from my mouth. Grunts and moans and other extra-terrestrial sounds that I’ve never been able to produce before. It’s like I learned a new language overnight.
Getting older is less fun than most other things in life, even though it’s bound to happen to everyone, irrespective of how many creams you slap on your face everyday.
The best thing would be to embrace the reality and make fun of yourself whilst you still have the mental ability to do so. And that’s also the reason why I’m back in the gym again because who are you calling old?
The third website I found, after googling “most dangerous countries in the world” as part of my research for this post, listed South Africa as number 17 on their list of 20. It has to be said that the list was compiled by someone in the UK and we all know they’re just a bunch of scaredy cats. The first two sites were a little more kind and listed as somewhere in the forties. Based on this reality of living dangerously, I also own a semi-sophisticated security system that allow us to sleep at night.
Or more importantly, a system that allows us to wake up in the event of an intruder on our property.
In order to make this happen, I’ve installed a house alarm as well as four beams on the garden perimeter, that not only sets of an alarm (turning your heart into a glazier) but also automatically notifies an armed response company when it is breached. If the company is any good, they will phone home just like ET and check if everything is in order, before they arrive with sirens and bullet proof vests and guns blazing. An alarm is a fickle thing, anything can set it off. Like a bat, a bird, an elephant, a lion chasing a gazelle, a drunk husband or a sleeping child wanting to go for an innocent piss.
So they call, to check, before they crash.
Fortunately, we have not had the face-to-face confrontation with a burglar, as my waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night look will likely scare the poor burglar to death or scar him for the rest of his life, at the very least. We have a different problem…
We like gardening. Or more accurately we like paying someone else to do our gardening. We’re more the landscaping type, telling other people where to plant what. We like sitting outside, sipping wine and watching other people work the work of others. We have birdfeeders and fountains and green grass and luscious trees. It’s truly magical. And the birds agree.
Stay off our lawn. Or suffer the consequences. And that goes for your whole damn extended family.
I understand that my friends up North, near the Wall, are currently freezing their asses off but down here in the #17 most dangerous country of the world, it’s spring. The sun is shining, pools are sparkling, flowers are blooming, people are braaiing… It’s also the time of year when birds do what birds do best, they sing. And mate. Like bees. Early in the morning. Let’s define “morning” shall we. Morning is when the sun peeks over the horizon and the first lights cracks the night sky. Or if I want to be frank, five’o clock. So it might be lovely if you hear the birds talking for the first time but it becomes extremely annoying when you hear it everyday at five. But this is still not the problem…
We have a wide variety of beautiful, fantastic birds frolicking in our little garden of Eden. And there we have a flock of hadedas. These birds hate us. They arrive every morning and scream like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert. They certainly don’t make, what some would call, a pleasant sound. It’s just a loud cry for help from a drunk woman in Wallmart, who can’t find adult nappies. But this is still not our problem…
Being the size that they are, the flock of spiteful creatures breach the outdoor beams of our alarm system EVERY time they arrive or depart from the grass. And this sets off the alarm. At the crack of dawn. And this wakes up Wife. With heart palpitations. She checks the time and realises it’s not a burglar because criminals do what most people do at that hour. They sleep. Wife then waits for the call from the security company to tell them that there’s nothing to worry about as it was just the f……….. birds. Again.
She never actually swears, even though I know she’s dropping f-bombs like it’s the second world war, if only in her mind. Because, and herein lies the problem, wife can’t fall asleep again. This happens every morning. You may wonder what happens to yours truly during this time and the answer is very simple. I take my sleep very seriously. I don’t fuck around. When I sleep, nothing on earth can wake me up, not even this…
Animal Sound No. 11 - Hadada Ibis - YouTube
Wife is not that lucky. For those single people out there, I have one life changing piece of advise, one must never wake a sleeping woman unless it is snowing. For if you do, as per wisdom of Yoda, “Sleeping woman you wakes, not a pretty picture it makes.”
It’s not my fault I don’t hear a thing. It’s not my fault that the hadedas prefer our grass to any other house in the neighborhood. It’s not my fault she is the first contact on the security company’s list of numbers to call. It’s not my fault we had to install beams…. But apparently it is. My fault.
I’m just here warning every bird out there, if I’m getting it, so will you. If you continue to wake my lovely Wife at an ungodly hour and I get the rap for it, I will kill you. And then make pie.
Before you call animal welfare, instead of me turning into a violent madman who spends mornings chasing innocent creatures in my pj’s, we decided that we won’t activate the beams anymore. Even though I paid a small fortune for the installation. We’ll rather take our chances with an intruder, whom I will probably put in a mental institution once he sees my half-naked body and bedhair, than risk being woken up by the gang of spiteful, neo-nazis, flying around outside.
And it worked. This morning she woke up at a decent time, all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
This image was borrowed from yellowscene.com because I googled “date night” and then searched for images and found this really cool pic because I love superheroes and shit and now I have to give credit to the site because I don’t want to get arrested for copyright infringement.
Princess was on a boat cruise over the weekend as part of a school tour for the top academic achievers of each grade. She obviously takes after me… Seeing that it was our twenty-first wedding anniversary last Thursday, I knew this weekend had serious potential for a date night. I just needed to get rid of Dude. Which is extremely easy to do. One only needs to move the PlayStation console and plug it into a different monitor at the venue you want him to move to. Like a friend’s house.
And yes I brought flowers because after twenty-one years chivalry and romance is not dead, it only needs a kick in the butt every now and then.
Friday night arrived and we were home alone…
I had a dream. A dream of a wonderful night. Just like when we were young. We’ll drink. (Technically I’l drink because I married my designated driver.) We’ll laugh. We’ll go to a restaurant that requires a booking and high heels. A place where the price of a glass of wine equals three bottles in the store. We’ll celebrate our love. We’ll hold hands and get lost in the nostalgia of our lives. We’ll celebrate not having kids around. We’ll go to a movie and maybe find a place to dance until the sun comes up. We’ll go out and paint the town in every shade of red we can lay our hands on. We’ll remember this night for the rest of our lives.
But like most dreams, reality is kind of exactly the opposite of the dream.
Wife and I discussed the possibility of going to some fancy restaurant where the food is stacked 3 meters high on a square plate, decorated with beetroot and kale garnish. OR going to our favourite family steakhouse because we know the food is excellent. And the wine is cheap. Besides we were still lounging around after our afternoon nap because we’ve reached the age where you wake up and immediately calculate the amount of hours you need to spend awake before you can sleep again. We opted for the steak.
At the restaurant we got a table for two which seemed kind of small but we simply nodded at the waitress as we ordered what we always order from the menu and held hands. We clinked glasses and celebrated our love and reminisced about the first time we met and our wonderful life together. About seven minutes later the conversation turned to Princess on her cruise and Dude at the friend’s house. We were speculating what they were doing and got slightly depressed as this was a reminder of what life was waiting for us once the kids learn to fly and leave the nest for good. We finished our meals and skipped desert because we had steak.
We know the owner, so I dropped a not-so-subtle hint about our anniversary and were awarded for my effort with a bottle of champagne that we didn’t want to drink because I already had two glasses of wine. And our steak was done.
We agreed that the weather was kind of iffy and it would be much better to change into our pj’s and snuggle under a blanket with a movie on demand. We were excited about the prospect of getting home and being able to pick a movie without the grunts and complaints from the kids.
I poured some more wine, rented the movie and settled down under a blanket. The house was blissfully quiet and we were left with our own thoughts. There was no sudden requests for food or us having to drive one of them somewhere. There were no loud music or any arguments about the speed of the WiFi because Princess is streaming again. There was just silence… Peace and quiet…
And needless to say we both fell asleep and never saw the end of the movie.
We had fun on date night even if it wasn’t anything like the dream we had. It was still a celebration. Albeit an imperfect one because for it to be perfect, we required two additional things…those damn kids.
The lucky ones among us get to meet people on this journey through life that leaves a lasting impression. Like a great tattoo. They inspire and change you. People who walk in and accepts you for who you are, with all your flaws, warts, shenanigans, bad habits and everything else that makes you human. The kind of person who makes you want to be better at being you.
And if you’re really, really, really fortunate, you get to marry that person.
My love, it’s been 23 years since we’ve met and look how far we’ve come on this journey of forever together. Your birthday is just another simple reminder of how blessed we are for having you in our lives.
You guide us with your iron fist and gentle touch. You comfort us with your sincerity and hilarious puns. You give us confidence with consideration and drive. You make us choose the high road, every frigging time. You inspire. You love. You create a safe haven. You keep us all together. For you are the greatest soulmate, friend, mother, partner, Wife, guidance counselor, taxi driver, secretary, judge, chef, organizer and home maker on this planet.
And we’re very privileged and happy to be able to call you ours. Here’s wishing you a wonderful birthday and the most blessed year ahead.
We love you. Like no other human has ever been loved in the history of mankind.
I’m not kidding. This is serious stuff. I’m busy checking my family tree that seemed to be uprooted by the latest splurge of hurricanes ruining countries globally…
I’ve just arrived back from Argentina with a sinus infection so severe, I had to consider my last will and testament based on the lack of sympathy I received from my kids. Based on their sensitive reaction to my condition they wouldn’t get anything from the minimal stuff I have to give them. Wife was a bit more concerned, and only because I kept her up at night due to my consistent coughing from my annoying nazal drip. (Form a line ladies…)
It’s obvious that love means different things to different people.
Then it got worse.
My nazal drip, resulting from my sinus infection, resulted in a secondary infection of my throat. This secondary infection caused my throat to feel like I came second in a hot pepper eating competition and more seriously, it affected my vocal cords. I ended up with laryngitis, as per diagnosis of Dr Ah Dad. And we all know how much he knows about medical conditions…
It all happened very suddenly. The one moment I sounded all handsome and shit and then I went for a nap because that is the only thing middle-aged people can look forward to in life. When I woke up, there was a slight croak in my voice, like it needed some oil. Like most of my joints. It did sound kind of sexy, even if only to me.
By the next day, the slight croak disappeared and I was able to produce sounds I never could before. I was basically my own ventriloquist dummy because no-one I know would sit me on their lap and shove their arm up my ass. It was so bad, I even took a sick-day. What? I almost died. My condition was severe enough for me not to have one guilty feeling about spending most of the morning watching movies and scratching my ba… Anyhow, by this time my voice was basically non-existent and I sounded like someone who has been smoking non-stop for three hundred years.
My ability to communicate was seriously jeopardized and that was torture enough as I rely on my voice to get people to like me. And without my voice, I was just a piece of meat. Albeit a grey-haired, kind-of-handsome, middle-aged, semi-dad-bodish piece of meat…
My voice deteriorated to the point where my lovely, sweet, supporting children were laughing every time I opened my mouth and released a grunt of some kind. (Another reason why I completely understand why lions sometimes eat their young.)
Eventually Dude couldn’t keep it up anymore and proclaimed that I sounded like something that was a cross between The cookie monster and Groot. And now two days later, I still sound like the lovechild of those two…hence me writing again…
I did get my revenge for being the laughing stock of my teenagers for the last couple of days by spending most of it replying to them with three small words:
I was in Dubai two weeks ago, attending a conference. For those of you who are geographically challenged, Dubai is a bright lights, big city in the desert. For those of you who are climatically challenged, September is the start of autumn for the residents of this massive outdoor sauna and the change of season means they change their description of the heat from “hof AF” to “hot as hell”. The problem is that Dubai is on the coast, so for non-residents the heat remains best described as “hot AF.” The humidity is a killer.
I almost died, every time I had to walk from the hotel lobby to the conference facility. One would think that a conference facility would be inside the hotel but no. One had to go outside and walk like 50 meters or so. And I’m not exaggerating about evading the sickle of the Grim Reaper because attending a conference in Dubai implies having to wear a suit. It seems that businessmen over there like to dress up for death.
The humidity was so severe, it took on a personality of its own. It went beyond the normal call of duty with regards to the creation of moisture on the human body. It attacked and reached most of my intimate places. The temperature of the pool is exactly the same whether you’re in or out. And could someone please warn the unsuspecting guests of the depth of the pool. It must have been 73 feet, and when I jumped in, I almost drowned and because I knew the lifeguard didn’t look anything like the cast of Baywatch, I managed to stay afloat by sheer willpower alone.
My closest call with crossing to the other side was when I reached the point of fedup-ness and thought screw this, I want a glass of wine whilst watching the Arab sun set from a different spot than my hotel room window. I ventured into the heat on route to a cozy bar just off the coast. And in the words of Julia Roberts in that scene from Pretty Woman: “Big mistake. Huge.” Humidity saw me coming, lurking in the shade, waiting patiently to strike when I would least expect it.
I took the golf cart taxi service offered by the hotel because I’m lazy and it’s free. I got to the bar, happy to have spend five minutes in moving air created by the not-so-fast-as-I-would-have-liked-it-to-be golf cart. I smiled at the bouncer who looked frighteningly cool and huge. He did signal me to sit inside but being the brutish, stubborn person I am, I scoffed at his feeble attempt of luxury and opted to sit outside. I attacked the stairs and embraced the vibe that didn’t exist at the top of the bar. And this is where humidity was waiting.
I ordered the wine which took a few seconds longer that it normally would because I was hunched over, trying to catch my breath, after taking the stairs. The bartender looked a bit freaked out, like he was serving the Joker or someone who is about to die of a heart attack. I ignored his expression because I couldn’t make out if it was admiration or serious concern.
I took my spot and smiled at the setting sun. I took a beautiful photo and sipped my Cabernet. It was good. Until it wasn’t anymore. Nineteen seconds later. When I started to sweat. And not in a sexy way. In a WTF, where does all this water come from, kind of way. Within seven minutes I looked like the victim of a ice-bucket challenge prank. Or at least I was praying for an ice-bucket challenge prank. The setting sun was relentless, fighting the last few minutes of the inevitable. It simply got too hot. I got too hot. The wine got too hot. And humidity was rolling on the floor laughing. I cursed it and left the wine and the bar and a bouncer with a condescending smirk on his face.
I swear, if I wasn’t so hot and humid, I would have punched him in his sweat-less throat.
As luck would have it, there was no golf-cart at the moment when I needed it desperately. I had to wait, for what seemed like an eternity, even if the long arm of my watch only moved twice. At long last my hero arrived.
Me, only worse.
By this time I looked like a survivor of a sunken vessel, drowning in my own bodily fluid. Dehydrated and red, which is a great look on any middle aged man by the way, I was tempted to kiss the driver. Yes ladies, don’t fight, just form a queue…
I rushed back into the hotel praying that no-one else would be in the elevator and fortunately for me, it was packed with one big family. The father’s protective instinct kicked in, as he was slowly ushering his children away from the deranged, big, wet, red freak of a human. I almost broke down my door, got naked and fell on the bed, spreading my body like a star (maybe this is too much information) underneath the best invention of the last four centuries, the AIRCONDITIONER. It deserves all my respect, hence writing it in capital letters from here on forth.
Needless to say, I didn’t leave the safety of the hotel for the rest of the evening.
Dude always loved coffee. Probably since birth. Maybe even before that. And the Internet was much smaller back then, so we didn’t have a million opinions on how to do parenting properly. So we fed him coffee. And decaf is only consumed by the spawn of Satan, so we gave him the real thing. *insert gasps of a thousand moms
Relax. He’s fine. Sort of. He has a weird twitch every time someone says ‘coffee’ or when he sees a Starbucks. Even though I suspect the Starbucks-twitch has nothing to do with the fact that they serve coffee but more with the fact that girls hang around the place like antelope around a pool of water during the dry season.
I do remember he had a little trouble sleeping as a toddler, if you consider “a little trouble sleeping” to be a kid who woke up seven times a night. Further proof that parents aren’t perfect and we shouldn’t be judged on specific things we did wrong. Parental success is based on a series of hits and misses and praying that the hits stick like bubblegum to a ponytail and the misses falls into an abyss of forgotten trauma. So besides the twitch and the third nipple he developed on his back, I’m sure there are no permanent side-effects to caffeine.
Decent coffee is made from boiling water because otherwise it tastes like shit. So throughout most of his life we made it for him. We’re certainly not the type of parents who would expect a three year old to collect wood before sunrise, start a fire, carry water for seven miles and then handle a pot of boiling water just to make coffee. He did that when he was five. The basic idea for exposing him to caffeine at such a young age was so that he would get hooked, then one day meet a sexy barista, who is the bored daughter of a filthy rich mogul, charmed by Dude’s great sense of humour and who doesn’t run away when he shows her the third nipple. Then they fall in love, get married and invite us to live out our days in a cottage on their estate, built on one of the Caribbean islands they own…
Where was I?
Oh making coffee.
When he was smaller, we diluted the strength and temperature of the coffee because we are only semi-irresponsible. This morning as I was making coffee for Dude, the Wife and I, (because Princess is a princess and princesses drink tea), it dawned on me how I’m not diluting his coffee anymore. He takes his coffee just like Dad.
It was another nostalgic moment for me, realizing how he is growing out of all his little kid habits, developing a whole bunch of new adult ones. Like shaving and driving a car and inviting a girl to our house and laughing at R-rated jokes that he hides from Wife and taking his coffee like a big man.
How I miss that little kid who used to have the diluted, milky, cold coffee served in a Spiderman sippy cup.
I’ve mentioned that Dude loves drama. And not in the way the Kardashians or any one of the other Housewive-shitshows like drama. He likes to act. In a play. On a stage.
Their high school puts on a play every year and Dude has been lucky enough to get a role every year since he joined. It’s four years now. What can I say? The apple falls very far from the tree. Like miiiiiiiiles…
It all good, except for the little known fact that he has been cast as the villain in the last three plays he was in. Portraying revolting creatures, crafted from the foul scraps left over when they drained the cesspool of humanity. Kids who are degenerates of society.
Three years ago he got a girl pregnant and left her like cold turkey. Last year he posted nude photos of a girl on social media and she ended up committing suicide. This year he played a homophobic bully, who ends up being held hostage by the poor kid, only to see the victim blowing his brain out too. Like I said, disgusting characters…
Dude blew us away with subtle nuances and expressions, switching between a frightened teenager held at gunpoint and a viscous bully in some of the flashback scenes.
His portrayal is a bit of a concern. A subtle poke at my parenting skills, or the lack thereof. Dude enjoys every moment on stage, digging deep into a darkness I didn’t knew he possessed, indulging in the shadows that lurk there. For the sake of art.
Because let’s face it, we all have a dark side. And not in a I-want-to-drive-my-car-into-a-crowd-of-innocent-people because that would imply the need to be institutionalized. I mean by way of an urge to say what we want, to call people out for the bullshit they sling around. To erupt in fury when things become too much. To stand on a podium and scream at the chaos erupting around us: CAN WE ALL JUST CALM THE FUCK DOWN! PLEASE. To not consider the consequences of our words. Or actions.
But we don’t. We understand physics…An action…a reaction. We control the urges. We keep our mouths shut. We keep calm. We act civil. We do what is expected. We simply take the hit and swallow the insults. We count to ten. We keep the beast locked up in a dungeon where no-one could find it. Because we’re not animals. We’re all just fine people.
But sometimes we should let loose. We should stand up and say something. Talk about the uncomfortable stuff. The things we bottle up. We should call out the villains in our lives, make them take responsibility for the hurt and the pain they cause and not just lie in shreds and tatters in a corner and live out a tragedy of silence. We should rise up, stand proud and let the animal roar, rid ourselves of the chains that might end up destroying us later. Be the hero of your own story, so get on the damn dragon and burn those fuc…
Anyhow, getting back to my point. Based on Dude’s track record and list of performances, he would be an ideal James Bond villain, considering Daniel Craig just confirmed he is slated to have his martini shaken, not stirred, for one more movie, coming out in 2019.
I even have an idea for a plot: James Bond saves the world from a narcissistic, self-absorbed, American dictator who threatens nuclear war. Just get Dude in a fat suit and an atrocious wig and and throw three tons of orange paint on him and he’ll be good to go…
Parents have a crappy job. It starts with wiping of said substance from the soft posterior of the little angels we bring home from the hospital and then it goes downhill from there. Fast. I’m not referring to the countless moments of joy and regret kids provide parents with on a daily basis. I’m specifically referencing the task of forming, sculpting and trying to raise responsible adults who will do more than simply wipe their own butts one day.
I’m talking about discipline. That’s the tough job. The part of parenting I hate. The having to say “No” part. The part where you create boundaries and then struggle for the rest of eternity to make them stay within those boundaries. And for every parent it’s different. Some of us have narrow boundaries, whilst others have boundaries as wide as the universe itself. There’s no right or wrong. To make matters even more complicated, it’s also our job to decide when we need to make the circle bigger, to expand the boundaries, even if it’s just a little at a time. And we need to make them bigger because the aim is to reach the point where you can demolish all the boundaries and simply let them fly. Or at least fall out of the nest without breaking their neck in the process.
Let’s be honest, saying “No” is not fun. It’s evident from the earliest beginnings. The first toddler tantrum was probably because you said he/she couldn’t get something they really and desperately wanted. And needed. It seemed more important than life itself. Like that Wonder Woman blow up doll I really, really, really want…
I suspect cavemen battled with the same thing when their kids wanted to help them in painting those weird stick figures on the walls of their caves. Looking at some of them, I’d say the kids actually did help them. Saying “No” makes you the bad parent. Immediately. It doesn’t matter what you did before the moment you said the N-word. Whether you donated your kidney or sold your body on the Internet and didn’t get the price you were hoping for. The second you say No, you are the unreasonable parent who never gives in. The kind of parent who doesn’t understand how kids operate. The parent who never lets their kids do anything. The parent who is not like any of their friend’s parents. Can we all agree that it just easier to say “Yes”?
But saying “Yes” instead of “No” makes you a friend, not a father. It’s your responsibility to protect them against themselves. Like Wife is protecting me from buying a shitload of superhero t-shirts. (I only have four.)
Tantrums evolve as kids get older because it’s not cool for a teenager to fall down in a public space, kicking and screaming at the top of your lungs because Dad didn’t want to buy the jumper that cost the same price as a two week holiday in Venice. They simply throw their tantrum in a different way, showing their disappointment by sulking, or pouting, or complaining, or dropping sighs that sucks the will to live out of everyone in a three km vicinity. The most popular teen tantrum is simply isolating themselves from any interaction for a prolonged period of time which normally coincides with the time they want food.
I must confess, I’m not one to complain about my kids and their isolation tantrums because being able to watch what I want on the television is extremely rare. It just doesn’t happen often enough. My kids are not notorious for bending their boundaries. Maybe it’s because it’s too wide? (I said I’m not complaining.)
The irony is that in those rare occasions when I do use the power of parenting and say “No” and I do end up with a tantrum, then I’ll be the one who ends up sleepless in bed wondering if I did the right thing. I’ll be lying there, second guessing myself about my rules, wondering whether I’m being too strict or too harsh or too unreasonable. Or just a little too parenty…
Based on my experience of sleepless nights, here’s some advise: You’re not wrong. You’re not being too strict or too unreasonable. You’re simply being a Dad. Or a Mom. You’re simply trying your best in navigating your kids through the landmines scattered on the road of growing up. In order to move forward you would need to take another step, and you need to accept the fact that the next step might set of a landmine. Hopefully you’ve built a strong enough bond with them kids, to survive the explosion that is bound to happen.
And if you’re really lucky, they might even offer an apology for their own unreasonable behavior and realise why you used the word “No.” When that happens, it’s better than anything I can think of at the moment.
Being a father is tough. Just like being a mother but without the whole giving birth and having kids suck on your tits thing. It’s the most difficult job in the world, they say. It’s the most rewarding job in the world, they say.
What “they” don’t say, is that you’ll make mistakes. Mistakes that will probably result in your kids having to book a therapy session or two. (Besides, it’s not my fault they walked in when I was posing with the Borat bathing suit. Moving on…) What “they” also don’t tell you is how much you’ll end up loving the fruits of your loins. How much you are prepared to sacrifice for the little angels who can suck your wallet dry in one trip to the mall. How much pride and joy they can make you feel, and how nothing else on this blue ball makes any sense without them in your life.
Being a father is having the opportunity to experience the ultimate high of the human existence. Being a father is the reason why I’m alive. It’s why I get up in the morning.
Because I’m a Dad.
And I’m so very grateful to be one. It’s a blessing. It’s my purpose. It’s my joy. It’s my entire life. It’s my everything. It defines me as a person. And having such an amazing partner to do it with, makes this journey indescribable.
Dude and Princess, I love you more than the Deadpool movie.
To all the other fathers out there, who like me, make mistakes out of the sheer goodness of your intention, lets stand up and laugh at this poor dad who is obviously in a lot of trouble with the wife.
Happy Father’s Day!
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