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10 Things I’ve learned since becoming a Dad.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”

1. The nights where you get to hold your child until they fall asleep become incredibly rare as they get older, treasure them.

2. Giving your kids some of the things that they want as a treat will NOT turn them into demanding monsters.

3. Taking a day off to be with a sick child is not a bad thing, and if your employer thinks it is you need to find a new job.

4. Playing age appropriate video games with your kids is a fantastic way to spend some free time.

5. Finding out that your child is Transgender is actually not that big a deal.

6.Getting messy with your kids is a lot more fun than trying to keep them clean.

7. Trying to choose your children’s friends will not work.

8. Lego bricks are the foot’s natural enemy. They will seek to destroy you.

9. Very little is more important than giving a toddler the attention that she’s asking for.

10. Watching the same program over and over again will give you a feeling for story structure that will pay dividends if you happen to be a writer.

Luckiest man alive.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Slash and Burn.”

I saw a photograph today. I didn’t ask to see it, I didn’t go looking for it, it was just there on my facebook timeline, posted by my cousin. The picture just about broke my heart; it showed a child, a refugee, dead in the waters of the Mare Nostrum.

It brought home to me just how lucky I am.

15 years ago I got divorced. Married young, my wife and I were never really suited to each other. Everyone said so, but at the time, we thought we knew better. After a decade, we had to admit that we didn’t. We had four children by that point, two boys, two girls and I loved those sweeties with every fibre of my being.

Divorce changes things. People remarry and their needs adjust. My ex decided after she tied the knot again that she would be happier if I was no longer part of her life, and by extension our children’s. It happens sometimes. I lost contact with two of my four children. My eldest son, who is now my eldest daughter, resumed contact a few years ago. My youngest son lives with me. My other two daughters, however, haven’t spoken to me in over a decade. I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t hurt.

It hurts a lot and it hurts all the time.

But then I saw the photograph and a bulb flared. When my son comes home tonight I can hug him. I am cuddled a dozen times a day by my granddaughter. My stepdaughters hug me all the time. And at some point in the future I may be reconciled with my girls. There are so many parents out there who aren’t as lucky as me, and they will never, ever get ‘one more chance’.

I’m the luckiest man alive tonight, and I know it.

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Sometimes I’m not nice enough to be polite.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Disagree. You can tell a huge amount about a person from how they react to you being a Satanic Socialist. If you choose the right person to discuss it with the speed they run away from you will rival Usain Bolt after a whole case of Redbull. At the very least it’s guaranteed to get you away from the annoying so and so’s that stop you while you’re out shopping on a Saturday.

Even Chuggers don’t like us Satanic Socialists.