The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Just When You Thought It Was Safe …
June 19, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Family, Fatherhood, Otis

So I’m back.

I know … I know … the thought horrifies you. If it’s any consolation, it sort-of horrifies me too.

A huge amount has happened in the month or so I’ve been in LA, but the most important thing is we have settled.

To be honest, it’s been quite quick.

While Jill and I have done this a few times – as has the cat, Rosie – for Otis, it’s been a big change and the kid has handled it brilliantly.

Sure he’s missed his friends, toys and beloved Yaya … but he’s been awesome and I couldn’t be prouder.

I am a massive believer that one of the key criteria for success – or survival – is the ability to adapt to changing times.

That doesn’t mean you have to change your standards or your interests or even what you love, it’s just that you have to embrace the new rather than desperately hold on to the past.

That might sound hypocritical coming from me – a bonafide sentimentalist – but the reality is, my willingness to go where things excite me has enabled me to have the experiences I’ve had and hope still to have … so seeing my son be so positive about such a dramatic change of environment makes me feel he is already setting himself up for a life of adventure.

OK … OK … so maybe I’m overthinking all this, especially as Otis didn’t really have many options available to him once his parents decided to move to LA … but seeing him reach out to kids his age in a bid to bond and form friendships is wonderful to see.

Of course I feel a tinge of sadness witnessing it because I know part of his behaviour is because he feels a sense of isolation and I did that to him and I hate that I did that to him … but watching him adapt to his situation on his own accord is brilliant, especially when so many agencies are still trying to act like it’s the 1980’s.



Running With Only The Odd Glance Back …
March 9, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Comment, Dad, Death, Emotion, Empathy, Fatherhood, Mum, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood, Parents

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my wonderful Mum passing away.

If I’m being honest, I’m going through a strange time with it.

On one hand, it seems like yesterday.

The pain. The sadness. The despair.

When I stop and think about it, it re-awakens all the trauma from that day and the days that followed.

However, I am conscious that these thoughts only occur when I give them time to happen.

They are no longer just sitting in my mind, waiting to jump out … I have to open the door to let them in.

I think Mum would be happy about that.

She would never want me to still feel paralysed by the sadness of her loss.

All she would want is for me to think of her in happy terms … remembering the good times we had together.

And I do.

Almost every day.

But I have to admit, I feel a bit guilty about that.

It’s as if I’m not honouring her properly.

Part of it is because it took me 10 years to come to terms with my Dad dying.

Of course the circumstances between the two situations were entirely different, plus I now have Otis who ensures there is never enough time for darkness to fill my heart … but it still feels strange that only on her anniversary do I go back to ‘that day’.

I loved my Mum so much.

I still do.

I miss her every day.

I would do anything to talk to her one more time.

There is so much I want to tell her.

Of what has happened in the past 2 years.

Of what is about to happen.

I’d love to hear her opinion.

I’d love to hear her reaction.

I’d love to hear her questions.

I know this will sound ridiculous, but there are some days where I think I can.

No seriously.

It’s as if I’ve forgotten she has gone and all I have to do is ring her up.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I have stared at her Skype photo, just looking at her face.

I’ve talked to it. I’ve gently caressed it. I’ve even clicked on it a couple of times and let it ring … hoping she’ll pick up and everything will carry on as before.

But of course she doesn’t and she can’t … and yet there is something comforting that I still feel she is in my life.

By that I don’t mean it in terms of my memories – she’ll always be there – I mean the feeling that I’ve simply not spoken to her for a little while.

It means she lives in my present, not my past.

I know that sounds weird and I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable – but while today represents 2 years since one of the worst days of my life – she, and Dad, would be happy to know I face this day looking forwards rather than being stuck in the past.

Love you Mum.

As you can see from the photos, we’re doing well, especially Otis, so don’t worry about us.

I hope you’re holding hands with Dad and laughing.

Rxxx

Comments Off on Running With Only The Odd Glance Back …


Like Father Like Son …
November 4, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Cunning, Emotion, Fatherhood, Jill, Love, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents

As you read this, I’ll be on a plane to the UK for a weekend with my best friend.

I know … that sounds a bit indulgent, but the reason for that is because next week I’m in Amsterdam for work and to run a couple of classes for HOALA, so it’s not that too princessy.

So the good news for you is there will be no posts for all of next week.

The bad news – for Martin Weigel – is he is going to have to put up with me for 5 whole days.

Anyway, the reason for the title of this blog post is recently my wife sent me this message while she was in a cafe with Otis for a spot of breakfast.

I cannot tell you how proud I am.

Not just of Otis, but of my parenting skills, because they seem to be achieving real results in terms of nurturing a mischievous little sod.

Anyway, until the 14th …



Everyone Is An Expert …
September 29, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Babies, Empathy, Family, Fatherhood, Jill, Mum, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents

So this is going to be a weird post, but it’s an important one.

You see a few weeks ago, my wife wrote this …

“As I nursed my baby into toddlerhood I noticed a shift in the messages from outside voices. From supportive and encouraging in the newborn days to surprised, questioning or doubtful once he was a walking, talking toddler.

I like to think that most people want to help with their comments or advice, maybe they worry that our ‘extended’ nursing could somehow impact negatively on my son, after all, it’s not what most people do… Dependence seems to be something a lot of them are concerned about.

I want to show them how my beautiful, sweet, spirited, glorious little boy greets the world (and taxi drivers) with a wide smile or a cheeky ‘Ni Hao!’… how he chants ‘run, run!’ as his still chubby legs stride ever faster down little hills … how he bops and boogies to every kind of music, at every opportunity, in every environment … how he sometimes forgets to even look back to find me because he’s exploring his amazing, ever expanding world … but I guess they’re not completely wrong about him being dependent on me.

He depends on me for comfort, safety, security & connection when he’s sad or tired or hurt or frustrated or overwhelmed. As long as nursing provides this place of refuge for my precious boy I’m ecstatic I can be there for him. So I want those out there who question or doubt or suspect to know, we’re doing great thanks, our version of dependence is exactly as it should be …”

OK … OK … so she writes much better than me, but the fact is, I have been shocked how many people feel they have a right to be a judge on my sons upbringing just because they have their own child.

I accept most of them do it in a well-intentioned way [and fortunately, most of our friends have said, “the best rule to parenting is to only follow your rules and ignore everyone else”] but there has been more than a few – often relative strangers – who have used a judgemental tone or look when they’ve discovered we don’t agree with letting our son ‘cry himself to sleep’, let alone play with dolls or dance whenever music is on.

But here’s the big thing …

Given 50% of Otis is from me, the fact he is turning out to be such an amazing, wonderful little boy means it is 100% down to how Jill.

What she wrote is not an attempt to say ‘our way is the right way’, the purpose of it is to remind people that we have the right to decide what is the right way for us.

But what I find even more amazing is that given how well Otis is turning out, those who challenge our approach are trying to find fault in perfection … so I’d just like them to do me a favour and be an expert on their children, rather than other people’s, though this ‘know when to talk and know when to shut up’ could apply to far more than just raising children as I am sure many of you can appreciate.



Humble Brag. Without The Humble …
June 20, 2016, 2:39 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Experience, Family, Fatherhood, Holiday, Jill, Love, Otis

So by the time you read this post, I’ll be in Paris.

And yes, it’s for work.

It’s potentially the best work assignment of my life because not only do I have the pleasure of presenting to a bunch of global NIKE guys, I’m doing a presentation about Boatie McBoatface.

No really, I am.

Mind you, having written that down, I’m starting to realise the idea was better when it was in my head.

Oh well, too late now …

But if you think that’s showing off, wait till you hear this.

Tomorrow I fly home …

But it’s not to go back to work, oh no, it’s to pick up my wife and son and then get on another plane and spend a month on holiday.

I can’t wait … we will be catching up with old friends, seeing members of family and doing a bunch of new things in new places.

But most of all, we will be together … and while I’d love Rosie the cat to be with us, it will still be very special for me.

Being together is precious.

Of course that is to be expected, however when you have a young child, it takes on another dimension.

You don’t just do things together … you get to experience new things together.

Normally with a young child, life falls into 2 parts:

1. You bring them into your life. [Where they experience things you’ve done before]


2. You let them explore their life. [Where they experience things designed just for them]

But on a holiday – especially a holiday where you will be spending time in a place none of you have been before – you get to experience things for the first time together, literally share an experience where everyone is [kind-of] equal.

Now while I know it is exceedingly unlikely my 18 month old baby will ever remember anything from it, the fact is I will and I can tell you it will automatically be something important in my life and that makes me extra excited to be going away.

I’m back on the 17th July, so enjoy your holiday from me while I enjoy my holiday from you.



A Reminder For The Future Me To Not Take Things Too Personally …
May 9, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Childhood, Dad, Daddyhood, Family, Fatherhood

I’ve written tons on how much I adore being Otis’ Dad.

It’s utterly, utterly brilliant in every possible way.

But in the back of my mind, I still remember reading an article in Loaded Magazine [RIP] where the writer talked about how every kid reaches a point in their life where their Dad – and sadly, it’s always the Dad – goes from being a superhero who can solve, achieve and do anything they can imagine to being a lazy fuck who can’t even program the video recorder.

While my opinion of my Dad was never that extreme [though he did occasionally need help programming the VCR], I did go through a phase where I thought he was the un-coolest and most annoying man on the planet, for no other reason than every kid – as the writer in Loaded pointed out – goes through this phase.

Which means Otis will.

And when he does, I will have to remember – like my Dad did – that it’s just a phase and it’s nothing personal and he’ll love me again once the phase is over, even though it will take all my willpower not to feel utterly devastated each day until he’s through it.

Because I love him that much.

That bloody much.

Kids. They really fuck you up.

___________________________________________________________________________________

A Little Update

After that post of misery – which is made worse by the fact it’s a Monday – I have some good news. For you, at least.

There will be no more posts until Friday.

Yep … not one.

And the reason for that is because for the next 3 days I’ll be in a locked room in Singapore judging the final round of effectiveness awards.

Given [1] the ‘shortlist’ was longer than the initial round of judging and [2] some entries encapsulate what I ranted about here … my pain is going to be your gain. But on the bright side, at least I get to ensure anything that is “blatant award fodder” is humiliated rather than rewarded. Though that’s nothing compared to what I’d like to do to them, not to mention the people who either pushed this shit or signed off on it. 

Until Friday. Cue: Evil Laugh.



The Pain Of Doing Something Beautiful …
March 4, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Daddyhood, Family, Fatherhood

So The Guardian newspaper did a feature on parenting.

They spoke to all manner of parents …

Expecting … new … gay … single … old … empty nesters …

It was fascinating reading, but there was one family whose comments really hit hard.

This is their article …

While the whole article is gentle and caring, there were 2 things that really stood out.

The first is their acknowledgement that the importance of their relationship is fading as their children get older.

The second was that the magic of doing things together – as a family unit – cannot be recaptured.

Now of course, both of these are true because both of them are a byproduct of children growing older.

In some ways, it’s a beautiful compliment, because it means your children have the ability to forge their own life thanks to your love, support and guidance, but on the other hand, the parents must feel a great sense of loss at the same time.

Even though Otis is just over a year old, I can just imagine how hard it will when he gains his full independence.

When he doesn’t turn to us first for love, protection, advice and encouragement.

It also makes me think of my Mum … how she must have felt.

When I ‘left home’, I left for Australia and while I tried to keep in regular contact, this was before the internet so the calls were not as frequent as they ended up being later on.

On top of that, Mum had her beloved husband to look after he had a stroke … so after 25 years of being a close family unit, the construct of her precious relationships were turned upside down seemingly in the blink of an eye.

I hope she didn’t feel our relationships importance was fading.

I hope she knew how much I loved her.

How much I missed her.

I tried to ensure she did, through my actions and words … but seeing those comments by the family above, really hit home … which is why it’s a good reminder how bitter-sweet parenthood is. Sure, there’s countless wonderful and magical things you get to experience as a parent – things I didn’t even know existed until I became Otis’ Dad – but the fact is, there will be a point in our life together, as the family above state, where things will change and I will watch them feeling a mixture of pride and sadness.

I guess this is a great reminder how much our parents adore us … because to let go of the ones we love, even though we want to step in to protect them and care for them, just so they can move forward to forge their own life, is the ultimate declaration of love.

I fortunately recognised that before my parents passed away.

I hope I will be able to do that as compassionately and supportively for Otis.