December 1 2012

A Slow and Sedate Half Century

A long time ago someone decided that it would be fun to photograph my brother, the Martian, and me on top of a fifteen metre high waterfall. We were very young kids at the time so we trusted the adult that took us up there. What could possibly go wrong? Slippery rocks, a fast flowing river and an unsteady adult, that’s what. The result was an impromptu thrill ride which I still remember quite vividly. I don’t recall being scared but my parent were terrified since I remained underwater for a long time and, after a frantic search,  was given up for dead.

An even longer time ago I displayed remarkable snake handling skills to my horrified parents. I had toddled into the house with a baby cobra dangling from one hand. The cobra was very much alive but I had somehow managed to pick it up by the neck, just like the professional snake handlers do. Today I rival Indiana Jones when it comes to a pathological fear of snakes. You can join the dots any way you like.

I managed to survive both those events and here I am. The man in the mirror is grey and weathered and paunchy. His mind isn’t the sharp instrument it used to be and it takes a little longer to retrieve items from the memory banks. He is now prone to a more profound grumpiness at the many morons that inhabit the planet. The man in the mirror is fifty years old today.

(Raises a metaphorical cricket bat to acknowledge the polite applause.)

Thank you to the wonderful people that have shared moments in my journey through life. May you be there as I stumble through the next phase.

Get off my lawn.

October 19 2012

He’s An Adult Now

My firstborn son is excited. Not about the momentous milestone of having lived eighteen years on this planet. Not about the fact that he is now officially an adult – in fact he doesn’t like the thought of being an adult (and who can blame him.) He is excited because of the presents. And the feast. There’s much more than usual of both presents and feast in honour of the momentous occasion. Momentous for the Librarian and me, at least.

Was it really eighteen years ago? I sit here with a tear in my eye and only a small part of the tear is due to the emptiness in my wallet. I still remember that day vividly.

(Cue wavy, going back in time effect.)

He was comfortable where he was – he didn’t like change even then. The powers that be declared that he was not going to budge without a little inducement. The powers that be set a date and so the Librarian and I got to the hospital on the morning of the 18th of October. He resisted the first two attempts at inducement, a pattern that would be repeated often through the years. We waited. For hours. And hours. Eventually, late into the night, I was sent on my way home to get some rest. I drove home wondering when our first child was going to make an appearance.

The bed was welcoming and I crawled into it and fell asleep almost immediately.

The bed was welcoming but I woke up and crawled out of it almost immediately. Thanks a lot little one. You could have let me sleep more than ten minutes.

I was driving back to the hospital as quickly as legally allowed. (Honestly! Although I did make the trip in record time. Wonder how I managed that.) When I got to the maternity ward the Librarian and I were whisked away to centre stage and we patiently waited for the arrival of the star. Well, I waited patiently but elsewhere there was much pushing and pain and cursing. That was the doctor. After a lot more (and I do mean a lot more) pushing and pain and cursing, from the Librarian this time, the top of the little tyke’s head made an appearance.

But that’s as far as the little tyke wanted to go. No amount of pushing and pain and cursing could make him budge. Never fear. The doctor had a solution. Let’s just say that the rest of the little tyke appeared courtesy of a medical vacuum.

What an incredible moment. This tiny little thing. My son. I had actually become a Dad.

(Cue wavy, going forward in time effect.)

So eighteen years have gone by since that day. We have watched him grow from that little bundle into the strapping young man he is today. We have endured moments of pure frustration and basked in moments of pure joy. It still takes several calls before he answers. He still doesn’t like change. And he still fills me with pride and joy.

Happy eighteenth birthday, my dear, dear son.