Dec 28

There is no doubt that parenting is by far one of the best jobs you’ll ever have.

Sure, there are plenty of books around that tell you how to do it. If you’re unlucky you’ll have family around who think they know better than you and won’t be afraid to tell you. There are barriers and obstacles, dangers and traps, every single step of the way.

Let me tell you, as a man on the brink of grandparenthood, it’s been one heck of a trip and not one bit of it would I change.

From the moment of discovering that Caitlin was on her way, this has by far been the best adventure of my life. To be present, really present, in the lives of Caitlin and Tomas has brought me such joy and happiness.

I was there when they opened their eyes, I was there when they took their first step, hurt themselves, rode a bicycle without the trainers, thrilled at their first concert, watched their first movie, gazed at their grandparents in awe.

I was there when they threw up in the car, had a toileting accident, screamed in agony in a public place, didn’t succeed at a task.

I’ve been the brunt of their frustration, I’ve been the fixer of feelings, the hugger and carer. I have gathered them in my arms to console them, and hug them and tell them I love them.

As the next chapter of life begins for Caitlin and Glen, I look back at the thrill of it all. I am so glad to have been able to be a part of her life.

It’s at this point, that I feel obliged to reflect about what I would do differently. And there are plenty of things I wished I could do over. However, the best thing I ever did was to be there as they grew up. Sure, it was tough to work part-time, never to have quite enough money, lonely and stressful. Alas, even with that, I’m so glad that I made that decision to be their care-giver. In all of life, raising kids is the best.

Grasp the chance with both hands, get in there and get dirty. Thrill at the pure joy of the unfathomable love that comes unexpectedly when a bundle of joy is passed to you the first time.

Tears streamed down my face as I looked at both my children for the first time.

We started a journey together, and I’m delighted to have been part of it. The best way to be a parent is to be there as much as you can. Take time off work, reduce your hours, do school drop offs and pick-ups, watch them dance, watch them sing, watch them act and play. Just be there, always with a warm word, a hug, a kiss and a glint of pride in your eye.

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Dec 06

This is us.  Well, part of us.  The world is so big and hangs like a jewel in the night.

Its says that the photo was taken from a million miles away, but I’m not sure about that.  Everything we are and will ever be is on this globe.  Sure, we’ve flung a couple of objects into deep space, our light and radio transmissions are knocking about the universe, but really, we are self-contained on this planet.  That means we all come from the same place, and we will all die on the same place.  The space is finite.  Maybe that’s why we squabble about it so much.


From where we stand now as inhabitants on this world, we understand much, but not enough, about where we come from.  How the planet was formed, how life arrived and our expectations about where it will end up.

As a species we are unique, but only because we store our collective history externally. Here I am doing just that, I’m taking my thoughts and recording them outside my mind.  I’ve been doing that for years, and humans have been doing that for eons.  I marvel at that.

I also marvel at soda water – it has bubbles.

Another uniquely human characteristic is the questions:  When will I die?  When will it all end? I don’t think that this thought has ever crossed the mind of a hairy-nose wombat.  Not even as it is rolling under a truck as it tries to cross the road.

Since Hilary of Poitiers, not Clinton, mutter in 365 that the world was about to end there have been plenty of  speculation about the end date.  It would help if someone could check the bottom of the globe for a use by date – currently, as I understand it the world will end in about 5 billion years, so plenty of time to nip down to the supermarket to buy another bottle of soda water.

There’s a list of the end of the world.  Have a look.  I’ll wait.

The thing that should strike you about the list is that they are all wrong.  Every single one of them.

You will end, and the world will end.  The chances of both happening at the same time is very unlikely, and even if it did – will you have time to know?

So, here we are.  On a planet, with a certainty that we will not get off it any time soon, that we will remain here, with our remains.  And yet we can’t help ourselves and fail to see the point of sharing the same space.  This little bit of the lounge room is no more mine than it is yours.  I like to keep it behind closed doors and keep people out, mostly to hide the empty soda bottles, but to keep my things in one place.  The mine concept extends to my suburb, my city, my state, my nation, my world, my universe.  Keep out!

If this is all we have, then what are we doing?  Why do we hold those in need at bay?  Why does my supermarket have bottles of soda water when others don’t?  Why, when we understand that our lives are so short, do we take that of others?

How hard can it be?

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