It’s easy to forget about the big picture when you’re a parent.
You get easily mired into a cycle of bills, nappies and getting through the day to day of breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime routines. Before you know it, your kid has grown two inches and can now sing the national anthem.
A slight exaggeration, but I found a quiet five minutes of solitude (on the toilet of course, you’ll quickly find this is the only place you will be able to dip out of the madness for two minutes – if you have a lock on the door) recently and had a moment of stark realisation.
I was looking through my camera roll and as I scrolled back in time, I saw my kids get younger and younger. I had gone back six months and my oldest had changed markedly and my youngest had gone back to being at the age you carried him everywhere.
In just six months the transformation was huge to where we are now – had I missed the good stuff because I was worrying about the stuff that essentially matters less?
No, you just don’t notice them growing. You see them do new things and you’re overcome with joy, but in terms of physical appearance, you see clothes become shorter but it still passes you by a little.
However, it did remind me that soon enough, these little boys will develop further and how I behave and what I teach them will set the course for their future.
My music taste, my taste in films, these things will inevitably dribble down toward my offspring, much like what my parents enjoyed still has a little effect on me – but there is another salient point.
While you must remember that what you do does shape your kid(s), they will also become their own person. They will use what you have taught them and then that will forge new paths that they will tread.
My upbringing bears zero resemblance on how I am as a dad. My parents were a sad excuse for a mum and dad – but that has essentially still had a bearing as I have vowed to never be like them, making me try harder and be a better person.
My kids will always know that they can come to their mum and dad with whatever problems they may have. They will also know that whatever they do, we’ll be proud of them. I think that is the most important thing I can teach them – aside from which football team to support of course…
I will watch them grow into young men and attempt to usher them onto the right path but what they must do is choose their own. Because mistakes are what teaches us in the most effective way. You always remember when something goes wrong because of a choice you made – it sticks with you.
And that is going to be difficult to watch. When you know that there’s a big chance of something going belly-up, but you also know it’s a life lesson they must learn so you can only offer your advice – and watch as they ignore it.
I really don’t want another kid, but the thought of them growing up scares me. That dependency they have on me is sometimes inconvenient when you need to go for a wee but they want you to play cars – there and now. When they want you to hug them as they watch TV – but for an hour. You always have stuff to do but this is far more important.
And then, with a flick of your thumb on your phone screen, that time is gone and you are then whisked to a time when you’re their taxi driver and the person who buys them new trainers.
But as long as they know that they can come to you for anything – then you won’t have gone too far wrong.
I thought all of this while sitting on the toilet. And now they’re banging on the door wanting to see their daddy.
It’s been two minutes after all.