Yesterday was a real gem. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it. Usually after a 1st nightshift I can be quite flat and uninspired, only I'd failed to factor in the offspring effect.
Aged 6 and 10 respectively, they have always had the uncanny ability to bring a smile to my face, even when I never saw it coming. Whether its just the way they give me a hug, or the sound of one singing in the bathroom, it's impossible to keep a sour face for too long. This is one of the joys of being a Dad; I get to see childhood from another perspective, and some days it shaves years off me.
I went out on a cycle ride with Holly mid afternoon. Lovely sunshine, autumn trees, no rush. She's just endured the horrors of the 11+ exam and has worked so hard for so long. She really is a brilliant little girl, a total pocket dynamo and a real quality time person. We went searching for a park we'd driven past some days before, punctuating the journey with an ice cream stop. These are precious episodes, moments frozen in time. I hope that when she's grown up she'll remember when we did this stuff? And I hope also she'll look back on her childhood and know that she was loved and cherished and valued. We owe her nothing less. And goodness knows so many young people aren't afforded this respect. You wouldn't believe some of the things I hear at work. It seems that in some homes the kids are just an afterthought, a noisy byproduct further to a night on the booze and a lack family planning. The number of unloved kids troubles me, not least because they run the danger of growing into unloved adults. And so the cycle continues.
But I digress. Today I just want to wax lyrical about my two girls. Both vibrant personalities, both great fun to be around. Lowenna, our youngest has such a kind and considerate heart. She has a real tenderness, and a sensitivity to the moods of others. And Holly is a whirlwind, equally loving and kind hearted, albeit in a more understated way. Prior to becoming a father I was utterly indifferent to the idea, accepting its likelihood as a by product of wanting to spend my life with Joy. Boy how it changed me. And largely for the better, albeit not before shinning a light on just how selfish and self absorbed I had become. That's what children do. They are organisms designed to suck every last ounce of selfishness from you with a constant stream of demands and fresh challenges. I've often used the term "inexplicably worthwhile" when reflecting on parenthood. Free time may diminish, but the rewards are astounding. To see them grow, to see them learn and form ideas and perspectives, and watching as gifts emerge and skills surface. You probably won't understand unless you've been through it.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I love my girls. I love them hugely, impossibly, insanely. Or as I say to them sometimes, "I love you all the way to the moon and back, and all the way to the sun, and all the way to the furthest star and just the way you are"
My girls. My Inspiration. And my greatest achievement.