A decade of daily dad daftnessPosted: September 23, 2015
It’s ten years since I sat in a hospital room, cuddling my tiny newborn daughter, and a nurse asked me to be quiet because I was singing too loudly – probably the first time I showed ‘embarrassing dad’ potential.
Her tenth birthday, and my son’s seventh, have prompted me to ponder the ups and downs of my first decade of fatherhood.
There are moments with kids when you feel so proud you find yourself welling up. There are times you laugh so much you find yourself in tears again. There are teeth-clenching, knuckle-chewing moments when your children – or someone else’s – drive you up the wall. There are times of great elation and despair.
But, by and large, I think being a parent is often about the funny little things you find yourself doing every day – like having to protect a giant cookie in a rain storm.
Shortly before her tenth birthday, my daughter declared that she didn’t like cake, and my almost-hysterical response of “You don’t like CAKE?” couldn’t persuade her otherwise. Thankfully, somewhere in my brain a little light went on, and I remembered that Millie’s Cookies do giant, personalised cookies.
So, the Monday before her birthday, I marched into town at lunchtime, and ordered the cookie, with blue and white icing (everything used to be pink and purple…) and a suitable birthday greeting, and arranged to pick it up on Friday.
Friday came around, and I headed back into town, coat-free, sunglasses on and enjoying the sunshine. I examined the cookie, which looked very appetising, paid, and carried it off, packed in a cardboard box and a big paper carrier bag.
But there was trouble brewing. The skies were darkening above the city centre. Like a jeep fleeing a twister in a disaster movie, I tried to outrun the increasingly ominous clouds, but they were heading my way, and I was only five minutes into my twenty-minute walk back to the office when I felt the first spot of rain.
I cast a worried glance at the bag. It was gaping open at the top, and holding the handles wouldn’t do enough to stop the rain getting in and soaking the box – which could mean catastrophic cookie damage.
The rain was getting heavier. Storming ahead as quickly as I could, I was a rather tragic, desperate figure, both hands clutching the top of the bag, hell-bent on complete cookie protection.
Only halfway back, the sky burst all over me. Gritting my teeth and shielding my precious cargo, I marched tenaciously on.
By the time I’d arrived back at the office, I looked pretty pathetic – and the rain had almost stopped. Like a bald, bargain-basement Mr Darcy, I staggered inside with my shirt completely soaked through.
But the cookie box was perfectly dry. Dad mission accomplished. Later that day, a happy little girl was delighted with her surprise, and I enjoyed basking in the glow of one of those rare, special moments when I knew I’d got everything just right.
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