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On Father’s Day it’s the little things.

I’d always had a feeling that I’d make a good dad and to be fair, growing up people had often told me that I probably would too. I’d had a good upbringing, was reasonably well educated, had a good perspective on life and right and wrong and all that. I had a good sense of fun and thought I could be both equal good and bad cop depending on the situation.

Fast forward a few years and there it was, the moment I got home and my wife, Helen, had the test on the bathroom shelf. It was game on!

Fast forward 9 months and she’s heavily involved in the story again, crying out to me as I lay in a separate bed, trying to shake off a cold I had. It was one hour past our due date and at 1am in the morning it’s pretty unsettling hearing your wife crying out to you. But it was good news. Waters had broken, and our firstborn was on the way. Showtime!

That was when the world around us changed and we met our son, NJ. He’s now 16 months old and developing his personality and all the things that begin to shape who we become later in life.

I’m writing this post in the few days leading up to Father’s Day and as I do I’m filled with pride about the way that little man makes me feel. But it’s not just the big showstopping numbers that he performs for us, it’s the little things he does that really make life as a dad worthwhile. Here’s a few:

Playing rough. He loves a good tickle! But it’s more than the tickle that I love, it’s the insanely hysterical laugh that he has when we’re doing it. And the smile on his face that tells me he’s having fun.

Leaving for work. It’s not normally something I’d enjoy doing, and in fairness it does make me want to stay home even more on a morning, but I love the way that when I leave for work in a morning now he’s just full of kisses and saying “Bye Bye”, waving and blowing kisses through the window! There’s really nothing that gives you a bigger skip in your step to start the day.

Coming home from work. Getting to see the cub again after a day at work is always going to be awesome, but when he’s stood in the window waiting for you it’s even better. And then the excitement in his face and realisation that he just shouted “Daddy” and waved at me is just magic.

Snuggles. Can anything ever beat snuggles when he’s tired and we’re reading a book together or watching the mesmerising In the Night Garden. I’m not sure it can.

Music time. There’s not much more satisfaction for a musician father than seeing your offspring appear to take at least a passing interest in your hobby/job. Queue NJ dancing like a maniac when I strum and sing an upbeat song to him with my guitar. At first he was afraid, he was petrified. He actually was scared of my mystical sound machine at first. But now he likes it so much he likes to strum it for himself.

My final thought is one of the smallest but most powerful things any human is capable of… smiling. Sometimes I just look at him and he smiles back at me. No words are spoken. Just a smile. Unconditional.

This is what I signed up for. This is why I’m here. Along with being a good husband I’m just meant to be a dad.
And I’m loving every.single.minute.

What are the little things that make it all worthwhile for you?

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Making Memories: Running

I have quite a vivid memory from my childhood of standing on a roadside near Roundhay Park in Leeds watching my dad come in to finish the Leeds marathon. I don’t know what the year is and I guess to be brutally honest I don’t even know if it’s an actual memory or one that I recall because of a photo somewhere, but for me it’s a memory none the less.

Fast forward probably 30 years – minimum….

This weekend just gone saw me running my first organised race for a couple of years, and only my second ever. It was the Pennine 10k held in Burnley and I completed in a time of 1 hour 3 minutes and 31 seconds.

I had a really good time, the route was good, I felt pretty good and I was ok with my time, although I think I could’ve got a bit of a faster one if it wasn’t for the congestion at a couple of parts of the route, but hey, I’m hardly Mo Farah!

How these two stories really start to connect for me though is how, as I came up the home straight, looking to sprint home only to realise it was an uphill finish, there at the side of the road, alongside some family and best friends(part of what I lovingly refer to as The Circle), watching me coming in, were my gorgeous wife and my awesome son. Instantly the tightness I felt at the end of the race disappeared and I could’ve been running on air for all it was worth. A really great moment for me that reminded me of that memory, years ago, watching my dad coming in.

After I’d crossed the line and picked up my goody bag and tshirt, hugged my brother, who was waiting for me having finished the race a good 10-15 minutes earlier, I went and found them, still at the side of the road, albeit NJ was wandering round, indifferent to whether or not I was coming to find him! We had a lovely cuddle and I made a commitment to our little pride that I’ve made many times already in my head since he was born. A commitment to make as many memories as possible for us. One day I want him to have moments like I just did.