Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Decade Of Dadness

Elder Son turned ten years old today. Which gives me much pause to think.

We're a bit rushed this week. His official party is Saturday, so there's been little preparation for today. That's unusual for us, but as I said: we're rushed. Badly.

Still, I found him a really cool present. I managed to locate a very cheap ($50) DV camera a while back. It records to SD card, and creates AVI files, so it's super-easy to use and to edit. When I got it, I thought it would be good for him to take it to Borneo -- but in the last month, he's been getting really interested in making little 'movies', and since he's got some editing software on his 'puter... well, he was pretty pleased when he unwrapped the thing this morning.

Meanwhile, Natalie grabbed the other two kids and took off for Launceston, to find a few more presents. Naturally, when she came back she had two new pet rats (for the daughter and the Younger Son) plus a new rat-cage... sigh. We needed more rats. Yep.

Anyway. A decade of being Dad. That's hard to wrap my head around, you know?

In that ten years, I have:

- shifted my life and my family to Tasmania
- acquired a house
- assisted in renovating same
- learned how to handle a small rural property (big, big job)
- figured out how to handle babies (another big job)
- figured out how to handle small children (when the babies stopped being babies)
- written three novels (published none yet, though)
- written and published more short stories than I can easily remember
- finally taken my black belt
- taken responsibility for my own (small) ju-jitsu class
- taken up sword training
- acquired an array of new skills too long to list here
- become a father twice more
- kept my marriage together

None of these things has been easy. And I have learned things. I have learned:
- that I no longer have the time to do everything, if I ever did
- that my life is finite, and I have to prioritise
- that it doesn't matter how much you plan, children change everything
- that one's greatest strengths are also one's Achilles heel
- that I can't fix everything
- that there are people I would like to help that I simply cannot, and I have to deal with that
- that I can't be useful to anyone if I'm not healthy and grounded and prepared
- that most people don't notice when one changes habit, or opinion
- that most people actually can't change habit or opinion without major upheaval
- that the ability to change one's habits and beliefs is incredibly important and valuable

I've learned a great deal more, too, but the list tends to include things like 'don't leave home-made ginger beer out of the fridge too long' and 'baby poo turns greenish-black when the kid eats his own body-weight in blueberries at one sitting'. You know: simple, situational stuff like that which really isn't relevant to most people.

I'll finish this post soon enough. Then I'll wander around and gather up the gear I need for tonight's martial arts classes. I've already folded away five bags of laundry, done a bunch of work on the shed, arranged lunch for the kids and Natalie, and figured out how to put together an irritatingly badly designed rat-cage -- but the day is young yet. I've got a lot more to do before I get to rest.

And tomorrow will be even more complicated, judging from the calendar. First day of the new after-school Introductory Martial Arts classes. Oh, and I'm supposed to cook some kind of cake or slice for Elder Son's class excursion tomorrow. And he doesn't get back from that until nearly eight o'clock at night, which makes the evening quite difficult.

Never mind. That's how it works.