Today, if given a time machine, I’d say the following:
“I’d go back to last night and go to sleep again.
Then I’d wake up and go back to last night to sleep again.
Then I’d wake up and go back to last night and sleep again.
I’d do this until the end of time.”
To be clear, I’m being perfectly serious.
Time travel to see mysterious beasts of the past or the weird cultures of the future is all very well – but barely register against using the machine to get some sleep.
In boxing, the fight is grueling, no doubt about it. But even in this most demanding of pursuits, there are little breaks, where the pugilists sit at the side of the ring, have a drink and try to regain their senses. It’s only as a result of these intermissions that the fight will ever have the chance of going the distance.
For me, it was the same with parenting a little one. For hour upon hour your senses are pummeled as tears, food, poo and puke fly. The parent becomes totally punch drunk, but clings onto their sanity in the knowledge that there’s a nap around the corner, the child will be sleeping any time now. This sleep is, I feel, far more restorative to the parent than it’s ever been for the child. It’s a chance to catch your breath, wipe down the walls and consider a few winks of sleep for yourself.
It’s the odd thing about milestones, I just don’t see them.
What I mean is, I’ve never actually noticed a milestone at the time it happened. Rather I’ve only been able to see the moments that marked real, tangible, progression in my life retrospectively.
I think this may be a side effect of being busy. Actually ‘busy’, if I’m honest, doesn’t quite cover it. For the last 2 years I’ve been so manically active, so frantically ‘on task’, that ‘busy’ sounds like a rest.
And no, I’m not about to start moaning about how hard parenting is. We’ve all heard that a 1000 times before.
Parenting is hard.
But that isn’t newsworthy, there is no breaking story there.
It’s always been hard. It will always be hard.
That’s just the way it is. Sorry folks.
I’m keen, however, as my son achieves his second birthday, to look back at my first 24 months of fatherhood.
What have I learned? If anything?
Am I still out of my depth? It’s likely.
Do I continue to make points in lists of 3? Definitely.
“I look forward to bin day, I find it strangely cathartic.” That bin day or ‘Big Bin Day’ as we call it our house – in order to distinguish it from the lesser recycling box collection day – is a highlight of my month, surprises me.