- Benjamin CsikosParticipant@benjamin-csikosJoin Date: 2010Post Count: 114
This has nothing to do with property, but I have told a few stories about building my new house with my pregnant wife on this forum, thought I'd give an update with my latest blog entry. If you want the worlds fastest catch up, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CRzJVhqU_0&feature=channel_video_title
Fatherhood – The Last Hurrah
I felt like putting forks through my eye sockets and impersonating a demented, bloody snail. You wouldn’t know this, however, as my face was deadpan, the only giveaway being the slight twitch in my left cheek that occasionally betrayed me. That, and the fact that I was gripping the steering wheel so tight it was becoming unintentionally ergonomic. Nicky sat in the passenger seat next to me, and Jason Gray and his wife, Mel, sat in the back seat. Looking in the rear-view mirror, I could deduce they were feeling similar levels of tension. Ava, my seven-month-old daughter, lay in her baby seat next to Jason. Her lungs were in full swing giving out a sound very similar to, and at decibel levels equalling, a circular saw through a steel pipe.
We were on our way to the Gold Coast. Our ‘single’ friends had invited us out for a hang-out at the beach, with coffee, bowling, putt-putt, and perhaps a trip to the casino for some fun.
“Come on, we can take Ava,” I said to Nicky before we left. “She’ll be alright in the pram.”
“So long as you look after me and don’t leave me feeling left out with the others.” Nicky agreed to come along, not wanting to be a stick-in-the-mud.
This was an experiment that would never need to be repeated. The results came in, they were definitive, they were definite.
I could feel the back of my skull rattling as Ava made it crystal-clear that she was not one to miss a nap, or take one in a moving vehicle. Regardless of how many coos and cahs or fluffy toys that Jason jiggled in front of her, Ava wasn’t giving up. It was 15 minutes into the trip before I pulled over and gave Nicky a chance to get round back for some breastfeeding.
We sat on the side of the freeway, hazard lights blinking, cars tearing past us making the car tremor from the wind with each pass. We were all silent, including Ava. For a few, wonderful, peaceful moments, there was quiet.
“She’s relaxing,” Nicky said, as she snuck Ava back into her car seat, and tippy-toed back into her seat in the front.
Jason and Mel stayed quiet during the ordeal. Mel texted on her iPhone 4. Jason did the same. I’m sure he was looking up his latest collection of quotes from his ‘hip’ friends on Twitter. Mel may have been surfing for her latest fashion and style ideas for her vintage fashion store.
I pulled back out onto the freeway. Back on the road again. I watched the speedo as I began my merge: 60km/h… 80km/h… 100km/h. Like clockwork, the circular saw fired up again. Ava wasn’t done yet, not by a long shot.
We covered as much ground as we possibly could. Jason did everything he could to keep Ava happy, but it was futile. She wanted to be in her bed, at home, and there was nothing we could do to convince her otherwise. Jason started to look as though he was taking it personally. He did everything he could, but she just cried, and cried, and cried.
I was trying to not ruin everybody’s day. I was trying to get to our destination without causing too many delays for everyone. If we kept pulling over, we were going to hold up the entire event by being late.
“We’ve got a service station and a Macca’s exit up ahead. Speak now if you want to pull over.”
“No, no, we can keep going,” Nicky said.
I stayed on course. Ava continued to scream her lungs out, occasionally pausing for a few moments (likely regathering her strength) and then tune up for round 147 and onwards. A few minutes passed. A few exits passed.
“There’s another service station here. Shall we take it? We can get a feed and so can Ava.”
I think Nicky was trying to accommodate the others also. “No, we can keep going.”
Ava had discovered a set of false nails and a blackboard back there. She was playing a death-metal song on a chalkboard guitar.
I could see Jason’s eyelids begin to droop with the rest of his face like an old Labrador. He was staying quiet, but it was clearly taking its toll on his sanity. Things were becoming increasingly obvious to me. I had a daughter. As much as I wanted this to mean I could keep doing what I used to do, with the friends I used to do it with, it was now obvious that I simply couldn’t. I would love to stay ‘hip’ and young, I would love to be able to go out and party at the Gold Coast at the drop of a hat, but it was obviously not going to happen. Things had to change, whether I liked it or not.
Ava continued her song. She was miserable. My heart began to break for her.
Stuff this! I said to myself. That’s my daughter. She needs me right now.
“I’m making an executive decision,” I said. I hit the indicator and pulled the car to a halt. Nicky got out and tended to Ava again.
The rest can damn well wait. That’s my daughter.
Nicky and I ended up cutting the night short. We had a baby to take home to bed. It was obvious that there was no real choice in the matter. We were getting old, we were parents now; that meant we couldn’t be who we used to be.
On the drive home I talked with Nicky. “Having a daughter means we won’t be able to do these kinds of things as much any more. I can see that now. But you know what? It’s still lovely. It’s just a different kind of lovely. In fact, I think it’s better.”
So I can’t go out with friends as much, lobbing heavy round things at vertical sticks and calling it bowling, catching movies on a whim, spontaneously changing direction for the night’s events without a single thought of planning anymore like the other ‘cool’ friends can. But you know what? They have no idea what it’s like to hold eye contact with their own child, on a loungeroom floor surrounded by dorky toys that make weird noises and say things like ‘pinky-ponk’.
Coolness be damned. It IS better. I’m 27 and getting old, and you know what?
I’m okay with that.