Just a boy

February 23, 2009

My youngest son was 6 on Friday. As is now traditional I took him and his elder brother out to eat; this time it was lunch rather than dinner but we still went to the same pizza restaurant. They both got small presents with the promise that his big present was waiting at my house. It was a nice lunch, we were all relaxed and we had a laugh.

When I left the family home he was 2. He’s not been shy about asking questions about why I no longer live with his mother, although the answers have had to be diplomatic rather than brutally honest. He is now a confident, cheeky 6 year old and I love him to bits. I sometimes forget that he’s still a little boy and maybe expect a bit too much of him. For all those times that I snap at him and tell him off when he wasn’t being that naughty I’m sorry. I hope he realises that when he’s saying “It’s not fair…” that most of the time it is fair and it’s the odd occasion that I’ve been a bit harsh on him. He is a smashing little boy, always ready to get stuck in in the kitchen and he puts his older brother to shame in the tidying up stakes.

He might be growing up fast but I have to remember that for all of that he is still just a little boy. One I’m very proud of and love very much.

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Its been quite a year already

February 20, 2009

I can’t believe it’s the third week in February and this is the first post of the year. I’ve neglected this blog so far as I’ve been thinking about doing something different and I’ve also been spending time on Twitter (if you don’t know what Twitter is then you’ve not read a paper or watched TV this year).

In terms of things I’d normally blog about a lot has happened; we’ve got rid of almost all the staff at work, there are now only two of us fulltime; the boys are growing up quickly and this is both exciting and challenging; I need an operation on my knee to trim a torn cartilage; we’re trying to get a weekend away to just be a couple rather than a pair of nervous wrecks and on top of all that my girlfriend has started a new job. Phew! Quite a year already, and it’s still only February.

Proud

November 20, 2008

A few things have made me feel really proud of people recently. The first is my youngest son who had surgery to remove a lump from his neck. He was not phased by this at all; didn’t create a fuss when they anaesthetised him, didn’t make a fuss afterwards (to the point where he actually asked to go back to school after a few days as he was missing his friends) and has taken the whole thing in his stride. The second is my girlfriend who recently lost her job; despite being treated very poorly by her employer and having grounds to complain about her treatment she has remained dignified and professional throughout.

Both of them are shining examples of how to behave when life throws a curve ball at you and I am so proud of them.

Emotional wreck

October 26, 2008

Dropping the boys back and driving away still breaks my heart. When they cling to me and tell me how much they miss me I never want to let them go. Then I feel guilty and question again whether I did the right thing. The loss associated with not seeing them and not getting to tuck them in each night is horrible and as the tears come part of me remembers just how bad it was; just how abusive it was; the year of therapy to stop thinking I deserved it. Rather than feeling guilty I should be feeling angry that I’m here but somehow never manage it.

A little reassurance needed

October 10, 2008

I picked my kids up for the weekend this evening and was met with a request that in all honesty I should have seen coming. They want me to themselves this weekend; no visits to girlfriend’s house, no going out with girlfriend, or anyone else for that matter, just me and them. I think this is a request with different aspects; partly I think they were a little bored last time they came to stay as girlfriend’s sister and boyfriend were about to emigrate to New Zealand and so we needed some adult time to say our goodbyes (put that down to unfortunate timing more than anything else) but there is also a growing realisation that daddy does have a girlfriend and they’re thinking through the consequences of that, not least that this means that daddy and mummy will not get back together. Their next question is does daddy love his girlfriend more than us.

This weekend is about them starting to understand that daddy will always love them but that daddy’s girlfriend is important too. It’s about reassuring them and having some fun but also gently explaining that they don’t have a blanket exclusivity. The emotions of 2 small boys need to be handled carefully but there are other people’s emotions to take into consideration too. It’s a complicated dynamic and there is a careful line to tread; another example of how being a weekend dad means trying to find a balance and hoping you somehow get it right.

Holiday

September 3, 2008

This year my holiday with the boys was a little different; my girlfriend came along too. This wasn’t as straightforward as it might be as my ex insisted that she meet her before she got to go on holiday with the boys. The meeting seemed to go remarkably well by all accounts and we all headed up north to the North Yorkshire coast, Filey to be exact. We had a great week, my parents came to stay for a few days (2 nights turned into 3), I had the best birthday in years and the weather was mostly kind. The best bit by far was seeing how the 4 of us got on so well. No arguments, no shouting, just great fun and a lot of laughs. Nickelback’s Rockstar became the holiday sing-a-long song in the car and it was great to have something that was "ours". Staying in a caravan brought back lots of childhood memories as did scrambling around in the rock pools. The boys loved this aspect of it and were asking when they could go back as soon as we left. It’s really nice to see your kids enjoying the things you used to enjoy at their age and even better seeing them enjoy themselves outside, in the fresh air without a computer or PSP in sight. All in all it was a huge success. Can’t wait to do it again.

A Big Step

November 11, 2007

Today was a big day for me. Today, me and the boys went out for lunch with my girlfriend. OK, my Mum and Dad were there as well and that made it a bit easier but even allowing for that, today was a big step along the road to some sort of normality. I know there are other single dads that introduce their kids to every girlfriend but I’m not like that. We’ve been seeing each other for well over a year and it’s taken a lot of soul searching (do atheists have souls to search?) to get to this point. It might sound really strange but today felt normal, it wasn’t “best behaviour” from the boys, there was no “making an effort”, it just worked and I write this almost in tears – just not sure if it’s from relief or from the realisation that things just might be alright after all.