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


The Final Countdown … Again.

So today is the 1st Feb.

That means today is the first day of our final month living in England.

Or at least living in England for a period of time.

We will be back for a whole host of reasons, we just don’t know when.

And while I’ll be writing another long, drawn out post listing all the things I’ll miss and all the things I’m grateful for … the reality is there’s a chance COVID will fuck our plans and instead of boarding a plane to New Zealand on the 3rd March, we’ll be in our beautiful home, trying to work out how to get our furniture off a boat and our cat out of quarantine.

It’s a strange feeling to think you have a time limit on what you have come to consider ‘home’.

A mixture of fear and excitement.

Of course we have done it a ton of times – and we’re really thrilled to be off on another adventure – but there’s a bunch of things that have got their teeth into us.

Being near Paul and Shelly after 25 years is a huge one.
Our beautiful new home with our beautiful garden is another.
Not to mention the wonderful new friends we’ve made in the time we’ve been back.

But as I say to many people who ask me about moving overseas, while it is easy to focus on the things you’ll miss, you need to focus on the things you’ll gain.

And we can’t wait for that.

The things we know, the things we hope for and the things that will just crash into our life.

I owe so much of my life to having lived around the World and I’m very excited to discover what new chapters this adventure will write.

So as this is a month where a lot will be going on, this blog will end on Friday till we are either in NZ or being told we have to wait longer to get into NZ.

Though whatever is the outcome, while not hearing my rubbish on here for a few weeks sounds like a delight, let me remind you – when I’m in quarantine in NZ with literally nothing to do, there’s a good chance I may be writing 100 blog posts a day.

So be careful what you wish for.



Days With My Father …
January 15, 2021, 7:30 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Dad, Daddyhood, Emotion, Empathy, Family, Mum, Mum & Dad, Otis, Parents

So if this blog being back wasn’t bad enough for you.

I’m ending the first week of posts with something sad.

At least for me.

You see, tomorrow will be the 22nd anniversary of my Dad passing away.

Over the years, I’ve used this anniversary to write both good and sad memories about dad.

From his last days to reminiscing about some of my favourite ones.

Recalling moments burned in my heart and mind.

Some big, some so small … it could easily have got lost in a corner.

Except to me, they are everything.

Despite him being gone 22 years, I still feel an urge to make him – and Mum – proud.

I am pretty sure they would be anyway – despite the odd ‘episode’, which only Dad ever knew about – but it still is a driving force within me.

But here’s the thing, he – and Mum – never put any pressure on me regarding what job I should do. None at all.

Of course they wanted me to do well, but it was about my life, not theirs.

OK, so they would have loved me to follow in the families footsteps of law, but while I adored the idea, I just couldn’t stand the idea of ending one period of education and then heading straight into another.

Hell, even when I told them I didn’t want to go to university, they backed me.

Of course they wanted to know why.
They also wanted me to apply just in case I changed my mind.
But they never guilt-tripped me into doing something I wasn’t interested in.

That doesn’t mean they were passively interested in what I did.

Nor does it mean they were going to pay for my life while I worked it out. [We all knew there simply wasn’t the cash for that, even if they wanted to]

It’s just their focus was ensuring I never settled.

I don’t mean that in terms of being arrogant or picky.

I mean it in terms of them viewing contentment as a terrible waste of a life.

What they wanted for me more than anything was to feel fulfilled.

That whatever I did made me feel better because of it.

Not because of what it enabled me to do, but because of what it was, how I did it and how it made me feel.

I don’t know if I really appreciated how huge that was until much later.

To give me the time, space and backing to work things out on my own.

Of course they were there for questions, worries, challenges and failures … but they were steadfast in wanting this to be about what I wanted for my life, not what they wanted for it.

Because at the end of the day, all they really cared about was me being happy.

Of course they knew there would be bad days … challenging days … days where I would want to give everything up. But they trusted me – and the lessons they’d taught me in terms of how to deal with life – to be able to work it out and keep moving forward.

It’s possibly the most wonderful, generous gift anyone could give their child.

It’s behind most of the things I’ve done in my life … from where I’ve worked, where I’ve lived and what I’ve done.

It’s also – contrary to popular belief – why I work bloody hard.

Because apart from the fact I deeply enjoy what I do [most of the time], it’s my way of repaying the faith my parents showed in me.

Showing them it wasn’t wasted or lost on me.

I’ll forever be grateful to them for it.

And hopefully so will Otis.

So thank you Dad. I miss you. I wish you were here for us to chat about the adventures.

Give Mum a kiss for me while holding her hand.

Rx

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Happy Birthday To The Best Thing I’ve Ever Had A Little Bit To Do With …
December 11, 2020, 7:30 am
Filed under: Childhood, Dad, Daddyhood, Family, Fatherhood, Jill, Love, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents

My dearest Otis.

I loved you before I even met you.

I love you more than you will ever comprehend.

And while you can get a teensy-bit exasperated with me, when I tell you that every single day, the fact remains I will continue to tell you. Every single day.

I can't help it.

I couldn't stop even if I tried.

But I don't want to try, I love every single thing about you.

Your kindness. Your cheekiness. Your ideas. Your laughter. Your mischief. Your curiosity. Your heart. Your emotions. Your love.

It’s breath taking for me to see and I am so proud of the boy you are and the boy you will be.

Actually it’s more than that.

I’m proud I’m your dad, full-stop.

So to my wonderful boy, happy 6th birthday.

I know it is a strange one this year with all that has happened in the past months, but I want you to know that spending so much time with you has been one of the greatest experiences in my whole life.

Keep being exactly as you are.

To your Mum and me, you are perfect.

Love you,

Rx



Big Week For A Little Kid: Day/Year 4 to [Almost] 6 …
December 10, 2020, 7:30 am
Filed under: Comment, Dad, Daddyhood, Fatherhood, Jill, London, Love, Mum, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood, Otis, Paul, Rosie, Shelly

I love the photo above.

We took it while we were still living in London.

I love it because it’s like a perfect encapsulation of Otis.

Bursting with energy.

Throwing himself into things.

Absolutely loving the element of mischief.

When we were expecting him, a friend of mine sent me a plaque that said …

Boys: Noise with dirt on them.

Well, it’s pretty true. At least in Otis’ case.

And I love that.

I love seeing his curiosity coming more to the fold.

Not just in terms of everyday exploring and discovering … but pushing boundaries.

Seeing what happens.

Hearing the questions he has after he’d done something new.

Good or bad … or just confused when something didn’t turn out as he imagined.

These last couple of year have really seen this side of him ramp-up.

Maybe it’s because previously, he was using his curiosity to help him adapt to his new surroundings … but not any more.

Now there is a confidence in exploring.

A genuine interest in understanding more.

And while he is very clear on what he does and doesn’t like, one thing he adores is the getting messy in the quest of discovery.

Moving to the country has been a revelation for him.

Oh he loved the city – like his dad – but there are things here he can do he never had before.

From exploring the garden with his Mum to playing with an entire school because there’s only 30 people in the whole place.

Then coming in to tell us what he’s learnt and what he’d like to learn.

From food to history to video games to the joy of being able to run outside till it hurts.

It’s an infectious thing to witness.

It’s an even better thing to talk about, cuddled up on the sofa.

Keep pushing those barriers Otis.

Everything you want to know, learn and become is on the other side of it.

Love you.

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Big Week For A Little Kid: Day/Year 3 to 4 …

In many ways, this was a big year for Otis.

While he had moved from Shanghai to Los Angeles, he was so young that he probably didn’t take it all in.

But by the time we left Los Angeles for London, he had made some deep connections.

His friend Jack.

His love Elodie.

His school mates and adventurous life in the sun.

And yet he took it all in his stride.

Sad to say goodbye, but happy to explore somewhere new, boosted by the fact he would get to see his ‘Oddparents’ – Paul and Shelly – a lot more often.

And within days, he was a Londoner.

Sure he had a strange American accent.

Sure he kept talk about dollars rather than pounds.

But for all the upheaval he was going through, he embraced it all.

New home.

New school.

New friends.

New way of living.

It was here he started to identify what he loved.

We wanted him to experience a range of things so he could discover what he liked.

And while he liked being a ‘ninja’, he didn’t want to do martial arts.

And while he enjoyed watching football with his dad, he didn’t like organised sport.

Instead he loved acting.

LOVED IT.

Watching him practice his lines was a bloody delight … the focus, the commitment.

And while he would get a bit shy at the point of performance, you could see how much his whole being lit up when he was doing it.

I have no idea if he will continue to love acting or performance.

Right now, he’s into video games in a big way.

But whatever path he chooses in the future … as much as I don’t want him to have a life of struggle, the thing I want most for him is fulfilment.

Not comfort.

Not content.

But fulfilment … as my parents always drilled into me.

To be honest, I didn’t really understood the difference between fulfilment and contentment till I was in my 30’s. But now I realise it has a totally different imputes when you go from the ‘receiver’ of that intent to the ‘giver’.

I hope I can help Otis understand it.

But more than that, I hope I can witness Otis embracing it.

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