Do you ever stop yourself from time to time and say, "Hang on, I'm not grown up enough for this?"
I do. At odd moments I pause and reflect about where I am, what I'm doing, and how I came to be here.
I've got a wife! A mortgage! Kids! What? When? Just how?
You see, I've never felt like a grown up. I've always kind of bumbled through; no real master plan and no fixed point in the universe I'm heading towards. My life just kind of happens; long stretches of routine interspersed with episodes of maniacal spontaneity. It doesn't seem so long ago when I left school absent qualifications and heavy laden with a bad attitude. Only the other day I was bemoaning the fact that there was one girl I'd really have loved to have smooched with. No names will be mentioned to spare the blushes of this fortunate lady; trust me you've had a lucky escape. If memory serves years 17-20 were an odd mix of things. During the week I'd spend my evenings writing and creating these vast stories, whilst at the weekend you'd find me down the pub with mates consuming enough alcohol to top up the Grand Canyon. I calmed down from around 20, with my friends being cruelly snatched into long term relationships. I suddenly had nobody to play with, and this was the first time I'd felt loneliness, a feeling that surfaces even today despite my radically different circumstances. Freddy Mercury once said that you can be in a room full of people who adore you and still feel the loneliest person in the world. He's right. I know this feeling; it comes from not really fitting in. One begets the other.
Still, times have changed. These days the lens through which I view the world is dramatically altered. As I write this I'm at the Play 360 children's centre in Milton Keynes; my girls are somewhere tearing the joint apart. I love seeing them just play, just losing themselves in the fun of life. We expect them to grow up so quickly, don't we? Whatever happened to childhood?
I've often been heard to say that being a Dad is inexplicably worthwhile, and by this I mean to say that despite the sacrifice of time and money and energy there really is no greater accomplishment than seeing little people grow into bigger people. I ache for those who desire this experience and yet are denied it, and rage at those who have it and then treat their kids like accessories.
So I'm a father. And then I'm a husband. Whether I'm any good at the latter you'd need to ask Joy? I try to keep things simple; I try to ensure I'm enabling her to be the person she can be, building her up and sharing the responsibility. She's a gem and I know I'm lucky. Yet lucky sounds kind of cheap, doesn't it? Like it just kind of landed in my lap. There's a lot of women I'm glad I'm not married to so perhaps there's more to it than that? We just kind of want the best for each other. Does it need to be any more complicated?
I'm babbling again. That's the problem with these Ipads. Or perhaps just the problem with me?