Being happy is the best advice from mum

When I was young and ambitious, my mum must have noticed that the lack of success was weighing down on me.  As her way of making things better, she said something that at the time seemed totally useless and naive to me, she said:  “I just want you to be happy”.  The thing is, at that time I didn’t want to be happy, I wanted to be successful. I wanted the world.  After decades passed by and success eluded me, success no longer became a goal; my aspirations were about more tangible things.  I then had a child of my own, and began to understand what real happiness is all about.  I then understood what mum was talking about.

The thing is, being happy is not easy, you only have to look around you to see how many miserable people there are.  So I feel a pretty successful human being to be able to say out loud: “I am happy!”

And I now appreciate fully what my mum was trying to get me to understand all those years ago.  Your dreams, ambitions and goals should always have being happy as the top priority, then it does not matter what you do, you will be happy first of all.  If I had been successful, like I planned, I would have been a miserable rock star.  Now thankfully I am a happy and successful dad and husband, everything after that is not important.

Eating

No soon as I utter the words ‘everything is all right’, something does not work. I don’t mean ‘not work’ as in something is terribly wrong, just something is not happening the way it has done for months!
I am referring to Theo’s eating habits.
Theo has always eaten very well. He has always wanted food and always eaten almost everything we have placed before him. He has been eating pretty much what we have been having ourselves and has had a varied diet: pasta, curry, chilli con carne, roast dinner, spag bol, stew etc etc. We have always been very encouraged by this and always thought his eating was down to good parenting. We looked at other families with fussy children and thought they must have done something wrong… But now Theo is being fussy. Things he has always eaten in the past now are not to his taste. What has changed?
On some days he just seems to have less of an appetite, others he is just defiant – No, is a word learnt and now well used.
It is a worry only because I want him to not be hungry. I also of course don’t want to make eating a big issue for him and he associate mealtimes with when he is under pressure to eat even when he doesn’t want to. That can have major repercussions later in life. I myself remember stomach churning meals out where you must eat because it is paid for.
I will keep an eye on things and hope he regains his old appetite. If anyone has any advice, please let me know.

Point of View

Something happened that led me to revisit my earlier blogs and read the things that I had written.  Some of it was me just speaking out ideas, some of which were riding high on emotions and not well thought out, and I didn’t ever really fully consider the feelings of others.  Here I was trying to make a journey from un-selfishness and forgetting those closest to me.  I realise now that I never fully considered the events that took place or people’s feelings – I never truly understood a particular point of view and as usual I only thought how circumstances were affecting me.  I also rather cowardly never approached the problems I saw head on, and let them go on with my own version playing in my head – a version that would have been very different had I given time to appreciate their point of view.

I want to state for the record now that reading my thoughts in those early entries, of how I felt back then, fills me with shame.  I hope I have grown in the last few months to fully appreciate all perspectives; and although I cannot physically feel those events, I do understand.  I guess a blog is so personal that you will always get a blinkered view:  the writer’s opinion.  I will try in future to be more professional about this.

So, Willy, my darling wife, I said some hurtful things I wish I could take back and I apologise wholeheartedly for not considering the things you were going through.  As I have grown this last year I am on the road to understanding the things that happened.  I think you have done an amazing job these last 11 months and our beautiful son is the physical proof of that – you are the best wife and best mother anyone could hope to have. Please don’t ever forget how much I love you, and remember I said things in the heat of the moment that I regret and now take back, unreservedly.

Dreams

Well, I am actually talking about nightmares.  The dream I had last night had me waking with tears in my eyes.  I have had dreams before concerning Theo, where I have woken in terror, or confusion, and these are normally dreams in which I am holding Theo in my arms, I wake during this part of the dream, find my arms empty, and then spend a few frantic seconds trying to find him in the bedclothes.  Only to wake fully and remember Theo is fast asleep in his own cot in the next room.  This situation usually means I wake up Willy who wonders why I am searching the bed for something.

Anyway, last night’s dream was more real.  In it I had a different wife and a young daughter, who in the dream was about 3 or 4 years old.   She was saying to me how she couldn’t play girly games with me and had to do that with mum.  While she speaks to me I recall a dream in which I had a young son called Theo, and how I had his picture on my VDU at work.  While my daughter continues talking, I remember Theo’s wide grin, his blond hair and that I loved him dearly.  I looked at my daughter and realised I wanted the family in the dream, and not the one in front of me.  I then break down crying saying how much I miss my son Theo and that he was more special and more real to me than my wife and daughter.  During those few moments of tears I actually feel as though my real life was the dream, and the dream was real, and that I had actually lost my son altogether – that he no longer existed, or in fact had never existed at all – I recalled everything about him in the dream within the dream and it broke my heart to realise I had lost him.

I now wake from this dream, back into this life, confused and upset.  My brain trying to work out whether I am still in a dream, or actually awake.  When I come to, I realise Theo is in his room and this is real – Theo does exist; I am his father; and he is the best thing in my life.

When Willy wakes in the morning, I tell her about this dream and am still so upset about thinking I had lost Theo, I cry again.  When Theo wakes later on, he probably wondered why I hugged even more than usual.  The thing is though, Theo will also be cursed with this over active imagination during sleep:  my mum had it, I have it, and I am sure Theo will too.  He will rush into our room on many occasions I am sure when he is older, and describe dreams even more odd than my own.

It is amazing that a brain can have a dream in which the subject has a dream and confuses dream from reality: a dream within a dream within a dream.  I was just so thankful and relieved that I woke up in this one, still with my Theo.

Please add a comment about any of your own crazy dreams, just so I don’t feel alone.

You’ll never be quicker than gravity

There are days when curse yourself for being stupid.  Today is Monday, the day when I look after Theo and am his sole carer (Monday is when mum is at work, as she does the end days of the week when I work).  Theo is 11 months now and is crawling and standing and cruising (the ability to walk along a piece of furniture).  Usually when he cruises I am right behind him watching him like hawk in case he stumbles.  When you have a sleepless night and have been doing this for an hour, your concentration wanders, so you may think about changing channels or quickly checking your emails on your phone.  You can guarantee in this one second you avert your gaze, your baby will fall.  Even you turn and see the event, but the time you have rushed to catch them, it is too late – Gravity 1- You 0.  And you spend the rest of the day hating yourself for being such a bad parent, and worrying how your partner will react to the news of your own incompetence.  You promise yourself next time, you won’t take your eyes off them for a second… but this is bound to happen.  I guess bumps and bruises are a part of life, but you always hope it isn’t on your shift.

Nursery Pt 1

The day I was most dreading lumbered into full view and cast a vile shadow over our world:  the day dad drops off his boy and leaves him with strangers.  A nursery is an illogical but wholly necessary place.  Illogical in that we work to make enough money to pay someone else to look after our son, necessary because nursery fees do not wipe out all our earnings, and the money we take home is vital to living.

As it turned out, Theo is only in nursery for a day and a half, with me looking after him one day and Willy the rest of the week – we believe this is the best balance between home and the wide world.

Theo had a couple of sessions at the nursery before starting proper, and he didn’t like it much when he was left there without mum and dad.  Therefore on his first real day there, me and Willy agreed that we would both drop him off, to shoulder the guilt.  Theo cried and although momentarily distracted by toast, cried a river when we left the room.  The next few drop offs were just me and he cried each time; learning that the stairs to the nursery were the clue to where we were and the cue to start getting upset.  Although my words were there to calm him down, the fact that they choked me before coming out said to him I was upset too.  Whether he fed off my unease I don’t know, but it is said that children pick up on these feelings.  As much as I tried to be calm, my heart always pounded in my chest.