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

What Happiness Looks Like …

Tomorrow I’m on holiday.

For over a week.

I am also turning 50.

Both of these pieces of news are no doubt going to fill you with happiness.

[Though there is a post tomorrow, so don’t get too excited]

Well, that is good, because this post is about just that.


One of the best things that has ever happened to me is Otis.

I loved the idea of kids – and at 18, I actually tried to adopt, hahaha – but after that, the idea was put on the back burner because frankly, I always thought I was too young.

I swear part of that is because Paul, my best mate, also didn’t have kids … so I was in some form of arrested development.

Anyway, one day Jill – who had been very patient – pointed out I wasn’t getting any younger so we decided to go for it.

Of course we then discovered the only we would pull this off is if we had IVF.


But then we got 2 pieces of luck.

First was being able to have the treatment in Australia. This was important because the process in Shanghai was so unbelievably weird, complicated and confusing, that we’re not sure we would have ever stood a chance there.

Secondly, the treatment worked first time. We are under no illusion how fortunate we were … though there was some sort of cosmic comedy karma in the fact we discovered Jill was pregnant on April 1.

Now I don’t regret being late to the Dad party.

The reality is I didn’t feel ready before.

OK, so I don’t know if men ever feel ready, but that’s probably less to do with being a Dad and more to do with the fear of the responsibilities associated with being a Dad.

And even though we are 5 years down the road, I still feel that.

Sure, maybe we could have had a brother or sister for him if we’d done it sooner. Sure, there’s a part of me that would have loved to do that. But apart from the fact I worry I may not get to see him grow old given my age, I can live with the fact I am soon to be 50 and I have a 5 year old bundle of beautiful mischief.

And what a bundle of beautiful mischief he is.

Kind. Compassionate. Emotional. Creative. Curious. Imaginative. Cheeky. Full of energy.

He is a loving son who wants to see the best in everything.

Part of me worries a bit about that.

I’ve already seen how some kids try to take advantage of that generosity, but in the end – all we can do is prepare him for how to deal with things that are sadly going to happen in his life and he is generally handling those tougher situations pretty well.

The main thing for me is for him to be able to enjoy his childhood.

I get that’s an incredibly privileged way to live … but I also think that’s something every parent would want for their children.

The fact is life passes so fast, we want to try and ensure he is given the chance to enjoy the present.

Be silly.

Try different things.

Resist placing pressure on him to do things he doesn’t like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love him to like playing football as much as he likes doing acting, but he knows to support Nottingham Forest, so I’m OK with it.

Which leads back to the point of this post.


When we lived in LA, we bought Otis a trampoline for his birthday

As you can see, he was very happy to get one.

In fact, he was so happy, he would want to do it all the time. Including at night, where he would go into the garage with a torch [where the trampoline was kept] and just bounce up and down.

For hours.

And hours.

And hours.

When we left America, I wanted to sell the trampoline and get another when we worked out where we were going to live. But Jill had other ideas. And as usual, she was right.

Because while the weather in London is not the same as the weather in LA, that trampoline was a guarantee of happiness for Otis.

Not just because it was a treasured possession from another place, but because he still loves to bounce on it.

For hours.

And hours.

And hours.

Which is a very long winded way to get to the point of this post.

As the weather is nicer, Otis likes nothing more than bouncing on his trampoline while being sprayed with water.

Yes, I know this sounds like the sort of torture the US government subjected inmates at Guantanemo Bay to, but he adores it.

Recently we captured a photo while he was doing it that, for me, sums up what happiness is.

As a feeling.

As a look.

As a parent.

As my son.

Which is why I hope this is one thing that never changes as he gets older.

Not just because I doubt it can be topped – regardless what he does – but because, for me, it is the definition of perfect.

Stay happy Otis.

You make your old man giggle with pride and delight.

30 Comments so far
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You’re a good man Robert and a great father. But Otis is brilliant.
This is a really lovely post. I just hope my girls don’t see it and start asking me questions why I’ve not written something like this for them.

Comment by George

And the photo captures happiness perfectly.

Comment by George


Comment by Pete

I love every bit of you Otis.


Comment by Jemma King

“Thank you garage” 💛💛💛

Comment by Jemma King

That’s so lovely.

Comment by Pete

So delightful.

Comment by Mary Bryant

He’s a good kid.

Comment by Rob

It is almost impossible for me to remember you before you were Otis’ dad. You always were going to be a great father but Otis has elevated this. It’s not hard to see why. He’s a brilliant little boy and this post does a wonderful job of capturing it.

I hope one day he gets to read it.

Comment by Pete

Perfectly put Peter.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Thank you for giving your father so many smiles Otis.
Thank you for bringing a smile to me today. I needed it.
Happy birthday for tomorrow Robert. It will be your best decade. Enjoy your holiday.

Comment by Lee Hill

Oh yes, happy birthday Robert, I’ll call you tomorrow and hopefully our present will arrive on time.

Comment by George

So do I George. And I hope I have to sign for it. Hahahaha

Comment by Rob

Thank you Lee. Sounds like you’re having a rough time, hope you are OK and look forward to seeing you soon.

Comment by Rob

Happy birthday for tomorrow Rob. Even though you said you are going on holiday, I assumed you would still be on here because you can’t go anywhere on holiday.

Have a great day, I am sure Jill and Otis will make it memorable.

Comment by Pete

Great post blah blah blah. But I have so many questions.

1. You tried to adopt at 18?
2. You kept a trampoline in a garage in sunny LA but in the open in rainy London?

OK, I have 2 questions.

Can it be a happy birthday when you turn 50? Whatever, have one. No doubt you’ll have a decade that makes 20 year olds jealous because that is who you are. A bastard. (joke)

Comment by Bazza

Everyone knows the adoption story don’t they? Though the trampoline point is valid.

Comment by George

This just proves what I always knew – you never listened to a word I said. But yes, the trampoline observation is a good one and now I’m wondering what the hell we were thinking.

Comment by Rob

Maybe. You’ve done a ton of crazy so maybe it just got lost in the mess.

Comment by Bazza

Official song of Otis

Comment by Bazza

Better to be born lucky than rich.

Comment by Wayne

Beautiful boys.

Comment by Katerina

kat. the young one is beautiful. the other is pig fucking ugly. but theyre both ok. one better than the other.

Comment by andy@cynic

Jill’s done a very good job with both of you.

Comment by John

otis is the fucking best thing you ever managed to produce campbell. of course you managed to do it with someone as fucking great as jill when what you deserve is satan.all of otis awesome is because of her. none of it is you.

Comment by andy@cynic

This is a great post Rob. He’s a great kid and he has definitely made you a better person. Wasn’t hard, but he still did it.
Happy birthday for tomorrow. I guess when you hit 50 you will stop knowing how to use technology so there will be no more blog posts. Everyone wins.

Comment by DH


Comment by Bazza

Unfortunately for you I pre-wrote a year of posts just for this eventuality.

Comment by Rob

Destroyer of dreams.

Comment by DH

I know you had a good birthday and I hope Jill did too. Your birthday surprise for Paul is brilliance. Evil, but brilliant. Well done.

Comment by Pete

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