Bricks, Mortar and Memories

To some it’s just bricks and mortar, but it’s actually so much more…..

image

When you first move into a house everything feels new. Even if it's not a new house, things feel new, unfamiliar, strange even. How the keys turn in the lock, to the noise the kitchen cupboard doors make when you open and close them. The creaks and groans at night as the house settles in the cool night air. The smell of each room and the soft shades of light peaking through the different windows.
Even how the furniture looks compared to your last house. At the start it takes just that little bit longer to fall asleep and sometimes a jolt as you wake up in the morning, remembering where you actually are.
All these strange new feelings can also make the house feel cold and unwelcoming.

But you move in and take a house and turn it into a home. Pictures go up on the walls, rugs go out on the floors, cupboards are packed with pots and pans, wardrobes hold a sea of colourful clothes. The house that you moved into becomes a home, it's strange noises soften, it's creaks and groans disappear and you fit into your home as much as it fits around you. At the start the walls and roof protect you from all the weather, from howling thunderstorms to a beating summer sun. But as time goes on they protect you from so much more. As the paint on the walls slowly fade, the carpets wear away, and the people in the pictures hanging on the walls look younger and younger, the home becomes so much more than a place to cook dinner and rest at night.

As life throws different challenges our way our homes are always there for us. Making us feel safe, keeping us warm, bringing families together and even giving us space when we want to be alone. They show tiny signs of a growing family's with paint chips on the walls and tiny hand prints every where. The walls listen to our life stories play out but never tell a soul. The floors feel our children's feet grow over time, the doors feel the brunt of our emotion as they are slammed in a fight and shut out the world from our crying eyes. The kitchen collects smells of a thousand well cooked meals and the odd burnt one. The garage stores dads rusty tools and the shelves collect more and more trinkets of gifts made at school from mothersdays gone by.

As our homes watch our families grow they grow with us, not always in size, not always at the same rate, but in the stories the pictures on the walls tell, the memories held beneath the roof of times both happy and sad and the hellos and goodbyes expressed at our front doors. Our homes feel as much emotion as we do but never crumble under the weight. They watch our children grow and eventually move out, sometimes they get to see this joy many times over before being pulled down and rebuilt for fanilies life journey's to start all over again.

As I watch my two beautiful girls grow, I am watching the house grow too, when they are grown up and out into the world it will always be a place they will be able to come too and feel safe and secure, sleep like the used to as a child, and reminisce as the smells of their childhood bring back memories of old. I love my home as much as everything in it. The stories that have been told and those yet to tell. The times of sadness and crazy joy, it will always be a constant in our lives.......

Have you ever made parenting look good but deep down inside you know it’s a lie?

image
(Note: heavily edited and carefully angled photo above)

I flick through Instagram and its jam packed full of pictures of happy children and smiling parents, and I hate to be the negative nelly but I call bullshit… It’s a farce. Yeah yeah I understand the irony of my sentiments as a quick scan through my own Instagram shows I have fallen for the same trick. But it is all a trick, a trick for who? I’ll get to that. But If you don’t believe me just type #parents into the search bar on Instagram and scroll away. Page after page of happy kids and smiling parents. Now no one wants to see a photo of a deardad who has been looking after the kids all day, who have also been on a sugar high since 11am, or a sleep deprived new mum. Let’s face it, if your a parent you have been there and have had to see those looks staring back at you in the mirror. I caught my reflection the other day and jumped a mile thinking that another bloke was in the house, part of it is I stared growing a beard recently and I’m still getting used to it, part of it is I am a rough looking Bugger, and part of it I was tired as hell, patience gone out the window and had just about lost my resolve completely. Why? Because Miss 3 and Miss 4 were stuck inside all day because it was raining. Where is that photo on Instagram???

Nowhere to be seen!!! Don’t get me wrong there are some scary photos on Instagram, trust me, choose your search words carefully because what has been seen cannot be unseen. All sorts of wild stuff ends up there, but exhausted, pushed to the limit, mentally drained parents are not in the top trending results…. Why? Well I have pretty much convinced my weary mind that it’s because humans as a race are assholes. Yep you heard it, Assholes. We enjoy inflicting pain on other human beings. But we have found an ingenious way of doing it by proxy, and in a way that is by far more long and drawn out and mentally soul destroying than the best interrogator at Guantanamo bay military prison, and Instagram plays its part. It does, it’s an exact science and anyone who has had a child is in on it… So how are we all assholes? Well, we convince people who don’t have kids that it will be the best possible thing to happen to them to have a baby…. And we do it both directly by telling our gushing stories and indirectly by posting a carefully angled and heavily edited Instagram photos of our children having a great time.

People with out kids get sucked in, have a child and then it finally dawns on them that they have been had… A self perpetuating joke of evolution. Before kids they love all the cute things you can by for a new born and the novelty of baby, once the baby arrives inevitably reality sets in. You find yourself both sitting at home with a two day old newborn looking at each other going “now what?”. Well you perpetuate the cycle by posting lots of baby photos on Instagram sucking more people in, clucky woman and guys wanting to be deardads, like bugs to a zapper, drawn into the illusion, forever doomed. I’ll admit, the photos on Instagram are awesome, so many happy kids and parents, but Instagram needs another feature. One that shows the same framed shot of the cute toddlers smiling 1 min before, gouging each other’s eyes out, and 1 min after, taking there nappy off and throwing poo across the room. The effects of this would be staggering. People would stop having babies, evolution would come to a screeching halt. The human race would be gone in a generation!! I mean, if you think about it no one ever asks you “when are you going to have a teenager?” No no no, it’s “when are you having a baby?, you would both make great parents” and bang! The seed has been planted (no pun intended) and you are just about to become the punchline to a trick played on you. A trick that has been played across thousands and thousands of generations for the last hundred thousand years.

But don’t feel bad, get in on it. See who you can draw in with your softly edited Insta photos and interesting yet funny parenting stories.

I know I do…..

An open letter to Dan Turner (Brock Turners Dad)……..

image

Dear Dan,

I wanted to write you a letter from one dad to another.

I bet when Brock was little and you watched him take his first step you never thought he would catapult you onto the world stage, at least not through the law. Your dreams for him would have been to be a great sports star or a lawyer or maybe even just an average Joe with a wife and 3 kids, but either way all you would have wanted for him was the best possible chances. There would have been life lessons along the way I’m sure there would have been. There would have been family outings, holidays, sleep overs, ball games, best friends, school crushes, the cute girl he likes in the cheer team; is this when you explain to him what’s right and wrong? Maybe he was to young, anyway it’s only a crush. Movie nights, trips to the lake, Christmas mornings, Super Bowls and girl friends; Is this the point you should have stopped and explained what was right and wrong? Maybe he was too young, anyway it’s only a girlfriend. High school, studying, parties, socialising, alcohol; Is this the point you should have stopped and explained what was right and wrong? He is just a kid trying to find his way, he is a good boy who you think knows right from wrong….And then he is gone… Off to collage, no longer being taught by you, but instead guided by his mates and peers, is it at this point some one should have explained to him what’s right and wrong? Nope that opportunity lay with you, and you missed it.

Raising children is hard, there is no manual, no hand book, no checklist to make sure that we have every thing covered. But there are life lessons that must be taught or society will fail. There are things that as fathers we must repeatedly tell our children, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t hurt others, protect each other, the list goes on. Yeah ok let’s assume you never had to have a specific conversation about rape, but what about all the other conversations that should of happened that would have covered it? Respecting woman, respecting each other, respecting yourself, no means no in all contexts not just sexual. How did you fail to have those conversations, and if you had them how did you not know your son well enough to know they did not stick?

Let’s think for a moment about the woman who’s life has significantly changed now because of you, not your son. You let her down, every time you failed to have the conversation with Brock you failed her. Every time you heard him and his mates joke about woman and said nothing, you failed her. Think about her Dad. He spent his life raising his little girl trying hard to protect her, ever time you missed those opportunities you failed him. I think about my girls growing up with dads like you not teaching your sons that this behaviour is not ok, you have failed me. You may think this is a private matter between your son, his victim and the courts, but it’s not. It’s a public matter between yourself and every other father out there that you have let down. I have two daughters, and because there are dads like you that fail to have the right conversations I have to teach my daughters they can’t completely let go. They can’t trust the world.

You may think I’m harsh, unfair, even ignorant writing this letter and that’s fine by me. But I know, that if you as a dad had those conversations when it mattered another dad right now would not feel like he failed his little girl. A dad right now would be completely heart broken that his precious gift is suffering and will continue too for a very long time. The letter you wrote about a 20 minute mistake should not ruin a 20 year life was the wrong letter to the wrong man. It should have been to your sons victims father, apologising for letting him down. Apologising for not helping him keep his daughter safe in this world. Apologising for not teaching your son it’s not ok. I can only hope for you that even though it is now too late, that this has all been a wake up call about what’s right and wrong.

And for my daughters sake, and every other woman out there, I can only hope that every dad who has a son, has had a wake up call too…….

Kind Regards

Dan Scully (Dear Dads)

Jumping around dancing like a stripper……

image

Not that there is anything wrong with that… Unless your 3. Yes 3. You see miss 3 and miss 4 are allowed to have phones. They are not connected to the Internet, have no SIM card and are only loaded with educational games. However last week we discovered that both our little cherubs had worked out how to connect to the wifi and had loaded some Apple Music music videos onto the phones. One of these videos that they managed to load up was Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”. Now by today’s standards of video clips you would think that it’s pretty tame right? Black and white, nothing too raunchy in the clothes dept, lyrics are ok. I would agree with all of the above until I see my Miss 3 rocking out the dance routine. Hip movements and everything. It blew me away. She was doing all the steps, I was mildly impressed that she was able to remember the moves and it just reinforced how much a sponge our little girls are.

However as a dad I was horrified that my 3 year old was bumping and grinding across the lounge room floor. It was our fault, we allowed her to get access to the Internet (now fixed with a password) but it was a scary realisation that society has already started to raise our little girls. I wasn’t expecting that to happen till primary school started. My wife said her dancing skills were really good and as such we are now going to enrole her some local dancing classes. I know being a dad has tilted my version of reality, especially when it comes to my little girls, but I also still think I have a good grip on society’s values and expectations, and no one wants to see a bunch of 3 yr olds bumping and grinding to single ladies.

I have also realised how open my girls are now to out side influences. How much main stream media can teach them things before I get a chance too. It’s a race to teach them values and standards before they get bombarded by the Miley Cirrus’s of the world. When I’d much rather they emulate Adele. Really though most of this is erroneous, if we teach them to take everything in and make there own choices about life they will do just fine. However I think I am getting a little ahead of myself at the moment. My girls still watch the wiggles and get excited for Jimmy Giggle and Hootabelle. My days of telling them off for heading out of the house in the latest style skimpy clothing are still a while away.

I still have my little girls for a few years yet……. I think..

Fuck……..

Fuck…..

There I said it, everyone can now either relax or loose their minds that I said a swear word on social media. Really did I hurt your feelings? No. Maybe your eyes with my appalling writing but I’m pretty sure 4 letters strung together to create a particular sound could not have the power to offend. Yellow corduroy pants with cowboy boots or Tom Cruises last movie…..that’s offensive. But not a messily four letter word. Those of you that know me know that I like to say fuck a lot. It’s such a great word that can really accentuate a situation like – “unfukinbelievable”… So much more than just unbelievable, or “you must be fucking joking” I know your not joking but this is the angry way to say it.

I am not just a vile spewing fountain of profanity, in fact I can be quite articulate when I want to be. I just choose most times not too. I do it for many reasons, sometimes to be funny, sometimes to show I’m angry, sometimes because I really cannot find a better word to describe the situation except that dreaded four letter word. People say the unintelligent use that word because they cannot think of anything better to say. I think they are wrong, it actually takes intelligence to insert one word into another one and make it flow and still make sense. Even more so to use the same word to exclaim disbelief (fucking kidding me?), anger (get fucked), humour (that’s fucking funny) or even pain (fuck that hurt). It’s only a vulgar word if you choose it to be. I’ll be honest it’s used so much these days it isn’t as shocking when you hear it on Tv. At least 3 gold Logie winners have said it, I think Rove was the first and that is outfuckingstanding.

I do have to curb my free ranging use of the word when the girls are around, having Miss 4 go into preschool and tell the teacher “dad can’t mow the lawn because the mower is fucked” was not my finest hour. Thinking back on it now I am trying not to laugh because to me it was pretty funny, but at the time I was horrified. But unfortunately that’s life. We have actually taught our two daughters that it is a bad word and they are to correct me. Only problem is they have now taken it to the next level and instead of saying “don’t say the F word daddy” they say “don’t say the fuck word daddy” and it’s usually after I drop it quietly in public they reply at the top of their lungs as they chastise me, always drawing the ire from someone nearby. I laugh and continue on my way.

So if you want to come to my house you need to get comfy with that word because it is part of my everyday vocabulary. But really, even those of you that pretend not to say it have dropped one when all alone just to see how it feels, come on admit it, you know you have. Only thing I regret is if I had started a swear jar when the girls were born I could have retired by now…….

What random shit did your darling children get up too this afternoon?

image

Well if I tried half of the crap my two got up too I would end up in jail or hospital or both??? It started the moment I got home, I climb out of my car to find that miss 4 is wedged under the garage door that has been left open a few inches cause the dryer is going. I look at her for a second, contemplating putting my boot on her head and pushing her back into the garage. I wisely decide against it despite the overwhelming male urge to want to “fix” the situation. I figure it’s a life lesson leaving her there to get out of it. I walk to the front door to be greeted by my youngest daughter yelling at me that she smacked her head and that it’s “sore”. When I ask to see it I get told “nope” cause “I’ll take it”… Working out the sentence structure and meaning of a 3yr old is up there with historians deciphering old world Latin. I finally make it inside, the eldest has unwedged herself from the clutches of the garage door and is now yelling at me at the top of her lungs that she got stuck and I should have helped, if she only knew how that could have ended.

I give my wife a kiss and go and get changed, both girls come with me, dad is home and they must (will) follow me around for the next 45mins ensuring I don’t do anything remotely interesting with out either of them knowing about it. They get on our bed, and without a bell/umpire/guide ropes in sight a WWE title fight breaks out. Miss 3 has Miss 4 in a headlock and is ramming her into the bed head. Miss 4 laughs (God knows why) and without missing a beat pulls off a backwards suplex move on Miss 3 rendering her pinned to the bed, both of them now laughing hard. I shake my head and get in the shower. By the time I get out of the shower they are both crying running to mum blaming the other. My wife with perfect military precision tells them both that they deserve the war wounds cause they are beating each other up. They argue for about 32 seconds and then something shiny in the lounge room distracts them. By the time I come out of the bedroom from getting dressed it’s now parkour time in our living room. This involves running full steam into the couch and flipping over onto the cushions. This always ends in tears and despite my warnings sure enough one of them doesn’t nail the half pike with a twist off the back of the couch and lands face first followed by lots of crying.

Suggestions to go play in the toy room are met with silent stares. My wife pipes up and says that the toy room is having a break. This is followed with a confirmation from Miss 4. They instead head back to our room to go for round two of the WWE title fight. I ask my wife about the “toy room on a break” comment. She tells me that it has been trashed 4 times today and WW3 erupted when she tried to get help cleaning it. So instead of burning the house down she decided that the toy room was “tired” and needed a break. I laugh because I know the logic works with our girls. They have now finished the title fight and Miss 4 walks past dragging miss 3 by her left leg.

My wife lets me know that in the 3hrs they have been home from preschool there has been several tanties, lots of wrestling, a bruised knee (fell off the dog), a bruised ego (fell of the couch), a cut lip (ran into the bunk bed), and a bumped head (ran into each other). I’m exhausted listening to it, and desperately trying to remember when it all changed from nappies and breastfeeding into flips off the couch and medic first aid patching. Like I said I would end up in jail if I tried half this stuff on my mates or hospital if I tried the half pike flip off the couch.

How much fun is it staring at trees?

image

I can tell you not a lot. After lasting 4hrs I headed home….. But let’s back up 48hrs.

On Thursday last week my wife told me to take my dog and head for the hills. Not in a pack your crap and get out kind of way, but more of a “you work hard would like some time alone” kind of way. Work had been full on lately and she wanted me to get some R&R. God bless her. I was in!! Boys weekend away with just me and my Rottie sounded just fine to me. I spent the next 2 days planning it all out. What I would need as far as food, sleeping arrangements for me and the Rottie, I love my dog but was not prepared to share a bed with him, he snores and has morning breath 24hrs a day…. Did I mention food? I wanted to pack a feast fit for a king, but settled for a meal for one… better than a McCain’s microwave meal but not as good as a Maccas meal deal. I also needed a few things to be able to boil water and cook food on as I wasn’t bringing the all fang dangled camper with me, just me, the dog (we covered that bit right?) a swag and food. My wife went to the local camp store and bought me a billy to heat my water in and rustled up one of her old dodgy frying pan that I could sit on the coals of the fire, the frying pan I originally grabbed was one of her fancy non-stick, non-burn, fat draining almost prepares the meal for you with some fancy Italian sounding name. If I had made it out the door with that one I wouldn’t have lived to tell my tale today.

So Saturday morning rolls around with the usual regularity and I pack the 4wd. The dog goes in the back where he belongs. He doesn’t travel that great and gets car sick now and then, but only in my car, and only when I have other stuff around him to be sick on. Unpack the car, repack the car with everything else going on the back seat and the dog goes back in the back. He can now drool till the cows come home, I’ll hose it out later. The spot I have picked out is about 90 mins drive away, 85 mins further than Tyson (the dog) can handle but the closest I can find to get away but not let the poor dog suffer too long. I say good bye to the wife and kids and hit the road with my best country music playing. Tyson starts howling to the music, so off with the country music and on with the top 40. Tyson stops howling but continues drooling with a “I hate you right now” look towards me through the rear view mirror. We both settle into a rhythm, I’m dodging kangaroos and singing along, Tyson is doing his best to keep breakfast down. Finally after 90 mins we make it to our destination. I let Tyson out and he bolts, I watch him take off into the bush wondering if it’s worth chasing him, or will he come back when he realises that I am not chasing him. Takes him exactly 3 mins for him to realise he isn’t being chased and he comes back to watch me fight with the awning on the car and the Swag. It takes me another 25 mins to pick the right spot with the sun to shade to grass to sloping ground ratio.

Another 40 mins pass by and I am set up. Rome wasn’t built in a day but if the Romans had a 4wd with an awning and a swag even they would admit I killed it. I pull out my trusty camp chair and instantly remember that I was supposed to replace this chair after the last camping trip, but in true me style I packed it away after the last trip only to now have another “I must remember to replace this chair” light bulb moment. I eventually find the one contortionist position that this chair is comfy and stay in this spot for 30 mins until I can no longer feel my legs. Tyson has gone again, I call, he comes back, only to wander off again 5 mins later. It’s like a really slow game of fetch where he is the ball … its now 12:30pm I have been here since 11am. It’s the middle of the day and I am freezing, I now know how my cousins in Europe feel 11.5 months of the year. I decide to build a fire. It’s the done thing when camping, even if its 40 deg you still have to have a fire. That takes me another 30 mins and half a box of matches to actually get it going. I’d die if it came to end of the world survival. They make it look so easy in the movies… Anyway I get the fire going, call Tyson back for the 400th time and I’m sitting there staring at the trees trying to act relaxed and think that I am having a totally awesome time.

Only problem is… I’m not. From the moment I got here I miss my girls, I miss my wife. I stare at the camp fire for another 30 mins thinking the same thing. Any guy would love to be out here alone away from the theatrics going on at home…. But I don’t. I have a family so I don’t have to be alone. Yeah the tantrums get tedious sometimes, but I too sometimes want to lose my shit over the fact I can’t have chocolate right before dinner or I can’t find my favourite book despite it being right beside me just like my girls do. I stare at the trees for 3 more mins and make an executive decision to pack it all up and head home. Camping is fun yes, but only when my family are with me. I load the car up and fight with Tyson to get him in the back of the car. He has cottoned on to me and doesn’t want to go back in his cabin of terror. He looks at me with a “I have nothing else in my stomach to give” look, but I jam him in there anyway. I thought about strapping him to the roof but RSPCA would have a field day despite him probably loving it more. We back track the 90 min journey home, I try the country music again and Tyson proves that dry reaching does nothing to damage your vocal cords as he howls away. Top 40 it is…..

I pull into the drive way and open up the back door of the car, Tyson is out and in the back yard in a flash. I know I am going to have to trick him well next time to get him in the car. My girls come running out to see me with squeals of delight, I give them big hugs knowing I made the right decisions to come home. My wife comes over asking if I am ok. I tell her that camping for one is not for me and I’d rather be home with you. I get a hug and a smile as if she already knew I would come home early. I don’t need time away to collect my thoughts. I collect heaps of them when I am around my family.

When my daughter was first born 4yrs ago I didn’t feel a bond……

image

I was beside myself with excitement, couldn’t wait to be a dad with all the good and bad that goes with it, but I remember looking down at the little wrinkly bundle of skin thinking “how the hell am I going to bond with you”? I was being the dutiful husband and careful newborn dad, but was internally tearing myself apart because I didn’t know how to communicate with my child. My wife seemed to naturally know what to say and do. The breastfeeding, whilst painful and slow on the up take to start with allowed her to spend precious moments with my daughter and just through millions of years of evolution build a unspoken bond between the two.

In the beginning I had no idea what to do and found myself getting frustrated with the lack of cooperation from my 2 week old. Ridiculous I know, but you can’t help how you feel. I remember with Brooke being only 3 weeks old going for a drive one day to clear my thoughts. I found myself at the beach looking out over the ocean still wondering just how was I going to be a good dad. It was there that it hit me like a Mack Truck. To be a good dad I needed to help Jo more than my daughter. My wife was my daughters life support system. I thought to myself if I gave my all to my wife during these early days it would allow her to focus on keeping Brooke alive and I could do the rest. We had some serious complications with Brooke that I have written about before. Keeping my wife calm comfortable and not stressed was the easiest way forward for us. It would allow mum and Bub to feed and further bond peacefully, which in turn allowed Brooke to grow.

As the weeks passed and Brooke still started to gain weight and feed, we both started to feel more comfortable around each other. She started to fall asleep on me and I learnt how to talk to her so my voice didn’t scare the crap out of her. The single greatest moment for me in those first few months was when she started taking a bottle. It allowed me to get up and spend hours in the quiet of the night feeding, burping and rocking my little girl back to sleep. I would talk to her about work, cars, friends, family and stuff going on in the world. As time passed we grew closer and closer till it was easier for me to place her on my chest so she would fall asleep than anyone else rocking her for an hour.

I look at photos now of those first few weeks. I can still see the fear in my eyes. I can see the uncertainty in my smile. But something I notice more now than ever before is the way Brooke looks at me in all the photos. She came out loving me, my touch, my voice that she listened to for nine months on her womb journey. She was comfortable with me from day one. She just needed me to get past myself to see how great of a dad to her I could be. Nowadays talking to her is a lot easier, whilst I don’t get to spend the late nights and wee early morning hours telling her about the world, we chat regularly about things that interest her or capture her imagination. We don’t go a day with out a hug and she knows I’m always here for her. My journey with Jade was equally as tough due to breastfeeding for longer and her brace. But I had the knowledge from Brooke that it would all be ok if I held her when I could and rock her to sleep when she hated the world. I now I have two little best friends that rock my world.

I don’t have it all figured out. As I have said a hundred times before we are all winging it. But being a dad to my girls is a special job that only I am qualified for. A job I have earned through hard work and patience. A job that I would give it all away to put first.

A dads journey through Post Natal Depression…..

At the bird enclosure

It has been just over 2 years since I last saw the signs of PND in my wife. It ruled her world and by default ruled mine. It almost got the better of us. I remember the day my youngest and my wife came home from the hospital, it was such a joyous occasion. There was no parties or extended family around it was just the four of us. It was such a nice day, and after my wife being in hospital 2 weeks post labour it was nice to feel like a complete family again. We settled back into our old routine with the exception of the adjustments we made for our new born. I was content, things were panning out just as we had planned or so I thought. It didn’t happen immediately, but slowly over the next month something else showed up.

I couldn’t put my finger on it right away, but I couldn’t get anything right. I wasn’t holding our new born right, I wasn’t stacking the dish washer right, I was working to much, I was starting to withdraw from the world and I wasn’t communicating enough with my wife. In her eyes I was doing everything wrong….It was like a dark heavy sheet being pulled over my world, things that used to be fun became a chore, hanging out at home which always made me feel warm and secure started to feel cold and foreign. The world that I knew was slowly slipping through my fingers. I was watching it play out on the big screen like in the movies. I could see it going on around me but didn’t know how to call out for help. I was lost in a world of breastfeeding, nappy changes, work and sleep. I didn’t go out any more, I stopped seeing friends, I basically became a robot with the old me inside screaming, banging against the tough exterior, crying out for someone to free me. My best friend wasn’t around to help……. She was gone. The one person who always was there for me to help me ride out the stressful days and celebrate the good times. I wasn’t sure what day she left, as it happened slowly over a few weeks. In body she was still there, herself a robot just going through the motions, following the programming of a thousand years of evolution. I remember watching her one day, it was a nice sunny day outside, myself and BB was in good spirits but my wife was just a shell, no emotion, happiness or sadness, anger or laughter…. Nothing. As I said my best friend was gone and I was alone.

I was for the first time in a long time truly alone. There were people I could call, but I didn’t want too.. How could I explain the catastrophic destruction of my world, I couldn’t work it out in my own head let alone explain it to anyone else. So I just continued on, part of a marriage but in my own cold world.

It took a long time for me to realise that the dark heavy cloak that had blanketed my world that I tried so hard to lift, was not my doing, it wasn’t even my wife’s doing, it was Post Natal Depression. I wouldn’t face the music that something had stolen my wife’s personality and replaced it with a brick wall, it wasn’t till I thought of walking away that I had a moment of clarity that showed me that I needed to shred my cloak of darkness if my wife was to ever stand a chance. I googled what PND was as I thought it only happens to “other people”. I read all about it, what caused it, how it was treated. I decided one day when we were out for one of our long drives to confront the sad shell that sat beside me. My poor wife who was already feeling terrible without knowing why had her world come crashing around her. She was also in denial and her best friend was now attacking her about being miserable all the time. We drove for a long time, we talked as the miles came and went. At times it was heated, at times it was cold, at times it was silent. But in that conversation I saw it….

A small glimmer, a tiny ray of light bursting through the darkness. I saw my best friend, it was only for a second but I knew she was in there. I started to cry, all was not lost. The love of my life was still there, I just didn’t know how to get her out. We drove till the sun came down and darkness enveloped the car. We were both exhausted, mentally emotionally and physically. The roads lead us home and for the first time in months we sat on the couch, holding each other’s hand in the soft light of the lounge room just talking. We both admitted we had let something beat us. Something we had never seen before, something that we had never expected. It was PND, but we both had it. My wife the sufferer and myself by default. I explained what I had read and mention that I was not keen on the drug treatment, but would do what ever it took to get my best friend back. My wife agreed she didn’t want drugs. She wanted to beat it mentally. We read that exercise was a good way to combat it and both decided to make the effort to walk everyday.

It wasn’t easy and for a while after our chat I didn’t see my best friend outside of our walks. When we walked we talked, the depressing cloak was gone for 45 mins and we were free, and each time the cloak came back it was a little less heavy. My wife found a personal trainer who turned her world around. It was amazing to watch her beautiful light break through the cold hard shell that had so quickly covered her amazing soul. I also found myself returning to my happy self. My own insecurities dropping off me like water in a rain storm. I supported my wife while she powered through her personal discovery, exercising her depression away. She focused on what made her happy and I did what I could to get the roadblocks out of the way. One day without realising it I found my best friend walking beside me. She was back. My world had returned to normal. Together we made it. Her smile shone through and was the brightest light in my world. Looking back it was a crap journey, not something I would wish on anyone.

While PND is such a hard thing to get past and tragically some don’t make it, I like to now think we both beat it. We both helped each other at our low point and today are stronger for it. My best friend is here right by my side, helping me be the best dad I can be.

Some times you need the reality check of a 3yr old……

image

Recently work has been tough. It’s not the end of the world, these things happen, take the good with the bad, you win some you lose some, I literally could go on with cliche’s all night long but you get the drift. I have second guessed myself a few times in the last week wondering if it’s all worth it. Today I was having one of my what if moments and I caught myself looking at my youngest miss 3. She was standing leaning back against the trampoline staring off into the slowly setting sun. I watched her for a good 5 mins. Her eyes searching the sky, looking over the fence at the horizon slowly turning orange from the spectacular sunset that was playing out before us both. The innocence on her face was mesmerising. For what could very well have been eternity I was lost in her gaze, the facial expression of a human being who has yet to truly understand what pressure was, what a deadline was, what a no win situation meant.

As I watched her I tried to think what could possibly be running through her mind. Our daughter is driven and will not spend more than a few minutes doing something if it does not interest her. What was it in this sunset that had captivated her attention? Was it the colours? Was it the light falling like a orange/pink blanket across the sky? Was it the sounds of the birds enjoying the last light of another day? What held her there, captivated? Was was her mind not burdened by the pressures of life thinking about? Somewhere before the darkness of the evening enveloped us both it came to me like being hit by a bolt of lightening…… It didn’t matter what she was thinking, it was inconsequential what was going through her mind, it was irrelevant what had captivated her attention.

Why? Because for 5 mins my wild eyed daughter had found something that calmed her little emotion filled mind. She had found a place that smoothed her storming oceans, she had discovered something that captivated and soothed her all in an instant. Her world for 5 mins was tranquil and peaceful. The true beauty of childhood was shining through, the innocence of life discovering life was playing out before my very eyes, and just like that my 3 weeks of stress, anxieties and tension was gone in an instant. I was watching my daughter truly experience her first sunset. I was watching her innocence shine through but her adulthood come one step closer at the same time. My mind for the first time in 3 weeks was calm, my storming ocean soothed, my train of thought completely and utterly derailed all through the power of a 3yr old.

In an instant it showed me that none of it matters yet all of it does. Without it we would not be here to enjoy this moment but with all the burdens of parenthood it gave me the perspective to truly enjoy and appreciate this moment. As the sun slowly disappeared for the day and the light around us continued its cosmic display my daughter travelled back from where ever she had gone. She slowly looked around seeing me for the first time since I came outside and ran over to me giving me a big hug. I held on to her for a minute and she squeezed me tight, as if she knew we had just shared something special that no money in the world could buy. I let her go and she ran inside to play with her sister. I looked out over the horizon one last time as the light started to slip away, thanking the cosmic gods for giving me this moment now etched in time and my mind, never to be forgotten.

Giving me some perspective on current events in my life and helping me realise that sometimes you just need to watch your daughter watch the sun go down.

Close
Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better
Social PopUP by SumoMe