A story of realisations,
I don’t remember having too many realisation moments early on in life. There was times like when I finally
realised my first job was going to end so I just stopped going to work (they didn’t miss me). The time I realised just how much money I’d put through the poker machines (more than most 20 year olds of the day had). Or the time I realised that returning to the small country town I grew up in wasn’t necessarily a backward step.
But the realisations that actually mean the most have all happened since I chose to move back to my home town.
The realisation that no matter how screwed up it made my day to day life I needed to sleep most of the day so as not to fall asleep whilst driving down the highway in the truck each night. A simple realisation many might consider unneeded but unfortunately things aren’t always that simple. For anyone who has fallen asleep while driving you know it’s not a voluntary thing and for anyone who drives for a living, especially at night, you know how important sleep is. But it’s not until you realise that you pretty much have to change your body clock 12 hours to that of a normal person that you can fully appreciate just how much such a job can effect you. It’s definitely not like pulling a few all nighters in college like many people believe.
Then there is the times I realised just how much I loved my kids. Sure this happens regularly when they do something funny, something silly or just something unique, that’s part of life. But the most memorable time for that realisation is the moment they were born, (I was present for both births). It’s possibly different for women because they get nine/ten months with the child before the father does but despite knowing there was a baby there and that one day it would pop out it wasn’t until the day it happened that I realised a different form of love. And despite having done the dance before the biggest realisation when it came to baby number two was that the feeling was exactly the same only doubled.
There was different kind of realisation around the time our first daughter arrived and that was that despite this new age of equality etc the health profession in this country still has the attitude of the 1970’s. Throughout the entire pregnancy and after the birth our doctors and nurses were all told that I would be/was the stay at home father yet despite this being listed on our files not one of them spoke to me, they always spoke to my wife. They rarely included me in the discussions during the pregnancy despite me being in the room for every appointment, they rarely asked me questions and I doubt some of them even knew I was there. Don’t get me wrong my wife’s health and well being was paramount during that time but the total (and continued) ignorance of the father who was always there did not just make it hard for me to understand things it was upsetting. No matter how many times these professionals were told to include me they’d do it for a few minutes then revert back to only talking to my wife. My wife even tried constantly to remind them that there was a third person in the room but it made no difference. It really is no wonder so many fathers go through pregnancy with little to no idea. It’s also no wonder that so many fathers are affected by this and as time goes on they suffer other difficulties with their children. The pity of it all is not so much that it’s allowed to continue but that so many fathers don’t realise that such a simple thing can effect so much.
I’d like to say things got better after our daughter was born but they got worse. The health centre nurse refused to acknowledge me as the primary carer and always spoke to my wife despite being told time and time again that I was the one home all day. Stupid questions like ‘is the baby eating?’, is the baby sleeping during the day?’ all asked to the person the nurse knew worked 8-9 hours a day and not the father who spent all day with the child. Needless to say that when our second child arrived not one appointment was made with the health centre. Was that a mistake? Some may think so but to me the mistakes had been made long before when those in the know refused to acknowledge the father of the child in just about every aspect.
Now for the time where my wife will stop reading (if she got this far). The day(s) I realised I loved her. Well the first time it happened was the day I met her, corny I know, Hollywood love story I know, but it’s true. The day I first looked into her eyes I was lost forever. The day we were married and I turned to see her walking down the path (was an outside wedding) for the first time in that beautiful dress, my love didn’t just grow beyond what it already was I actually shed a tear of joy. Although I have to admit it may also have been a tear of fear, I couldn’t believe she’d said yes and that she wasn’t still going to run away and leave me there. The day she told me we were expecting our first child when she took on a glow that I had never seen before, a glow she wore through the entire pregnancy. The day our first daughter was born, again I didn’t think I could love her any more but seeing her laying there, (she was a mess but such a cute mess), holding our new baby girl a new level of love was reached. The day she announced she was pregnant with our second daughter. Although I’d thought about it a few months before and hadn’t given up complete hope of a second child the surprise news floored me. I’m not sure that’s the way others saw it but it did and again the love for the woman I married grew exponentially. Although the second arrival wasn’t quite as rough as the first when the scene of mother and baby together for the first time was again presented to me I again lost it and my entire world changed as yet another level of love was reached.
From that day it’s the little things that make me realise how much I love her. The little laugh when the kids do something silly, the sweet and innocent snore as she sleeps, the wicked sense of humour that so often floors me and leaves me speechless, the way she takes me down when I do something stupid and the way she does….everything. Guess I should tell her that more often than I do, but I’m male so she probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway! 🙂
So there you go and my latest realisation is that I just got really personal on the internet but if I tag this with the term fiction no one will know 🙂