Fatherhood Continued….

Fatherhood Continued….

There I was back in the calm corridor on the second floor of The Coombe. Yet again feeling quite conspicuous in the severely plastic cap and gown that we must wear not only for health and safety but to mark us fathers out. Resplendent in white, as the rabbit in headlights we truly are. Ushered down to the ward where my second son Páidí was about to announce himself to the world and blow me further apart, if at all possible.

The machines beeped and puffed and the staff busied around me in their wonderful symphony of efficiency and synchronicity. Everyone was well in control of what they were doing, everyone except for me. I stood rooted to the spot; trying to present a veneer of calm.

The veneer was peeling as one sheet might on an old piece of plywood after a summer of sun and rain. Herself, who let’s be fair, was doing the actual heavy lifting didn’t need a veneer. She was firmly in control. Exuding the calm of a someone knowing they were exactly where they were supposed to be. Ah motherhood is something to witness to be honest. So innate. Fatherhood has felt the same at times, but I have had some steep learning curves and lots of ruminations on what exactly am I supposed to be doing? And how exactly am I to do it? Do I look like I at least have a clue?

All questions that remain, but that have gotten quieter as I have ploughed on. What else can I do but plough on? The arrival of my second son saw me at least be a little more assured. I mean all I have done for the past two years is this, so surely I’ve picked up a few bits? Surely?

This is How I Live Now

Yes I do feel looser, yes I am taking things more in my stride and yes I still feel like I’m in way over my head, all can be true. Ah what a lovely word nuance is, and being a father today has certainly drawn a nuanced response. Wanting to be strong for my kids, not wanting to damage them for future life physically or emotionally. Also, of course not pass on my own vulnerabilities and flaws. Lots to cover, so ’tis hard to know where to begin really.

The good news is most of it, like motherhood, is actually innate. When the bubble of your own existence is sharply popped by the piercing cry of your own flesh and blood, you instinctively kick into gear. As someone who may have struggled to always kick into gear at the correct moment I was much relieved that this happened for me. Instinct takes over, experience takes over and love takes over.

You don’t think you can find more space for another child, the first is so all encompassing, yet you do. Why? Nature I guess…I was as enraptured with Páidí from the start as I have been with Daithí. It’s my world and shall continue to be. Which of course makes you reflect on what sort of parent you are and want to be. I am fortunate to say that being a father has combined wonderfully with  a sudden far greater sense of self. I feel like I know who I am, what I stand for and where I would like to go….Kinda.

The biggest facet to this new found confidence/smugness is actually the fact that I’m well aware I don’t have any of it figured out. Like life in the classroom, it is in following the learning and accepting you haven’t it all figured by any means that true learning and growth can occur.

Balancing It All…Or Trying To

I’ve previously expounded on the value of keeping up my own few bits…Running, reading, and writing in particular. I am determined to keep this a priority. I have largely failed the last while. But hey, all best are off when a newborn enters the fray. But fortunately for me, like Brendan Kennelly reflected we can always begin again. Every day I get to try again.

I am trying to be a father who leads by what they do, not what they say. Having personal pursuits and following them through is vital for me. Showing my sons the value of endeavour far outweighs sacrificing myself and my health to endeavour to run around after them. I see it as far more fruitful to run around with them not for them.

For me, developing your sense of self as parent is far more selfless than it certainly may look at a glance. I see no value in stressing on the everyday, mundane tasks that whilst necessary aren’t the be all and all. Things will get done, we will sort it. I’m happy to say whilst I don’t always rise above it, largely my determination to not get bogged down in such things is resolute.





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