Drunk On It.
I messaged my very best friend earlier today:
“The individual known as Clive H. Somerville has had a very rough night, and is now binge listening to Ryan Adams’ cover of How You Get The Girl.”
Their (as ever) sage and sassy reply was:
“Oh dear. How rough does it have to be for Ryan Adams?”
And is the absence of reply within 15 minutes:
“Have you… left this mortal realm??”
And I guess there’s a few things that deserve explanation in that exchange.
1. It has to be woken by one of my two daughters every two hours for a whole night - losing about and hour of sleep each time.
2. That’s about as rough as it needs to be for Ryan Adams.
3. Didn’t leave the mortal realm. I buried myself instead in productive doing.
Skip from 0700 this morning, reaching out to my bezzo for some moral support on a fairly normal parenting day. Fast forward with me through two hours of weedwhacking and mowing on our new section, as Mlle. F., a.k.a. Miss 2.5 cheered me on from the comfort of the ute. Freeze frame for a moment on the scene of us savouring a bakery quiche and sausage roll with a coffee and fluffy, well earned from our collective efforts. Then join us, perhaps on a drone top down video as we (slept and showered) bomb around town on our bike - tail wind meaning we’re spinning out our tallest gear. Dinner cooked, day almost done, and then I finally catch up with Mlle. M., a.k.a., Miss 0.5.
It’s been a busy, brilliant, bonzer weekend.
And then I finally stopped. Or at least slowed enough to an enjoyable larghetto. 63 beats per minute. And in some flashback to 2015, I found myself, standing in my sitting room, 3 beers deep, tapping on the back of my baby, kick-kick… strum, strum, strum, strum… My nose nuzzled, buried deep into the chubby neck folds of fat of a bubba. Bouncing on my toes, tapping in between the shoulder blades of a tired kiddo who I’m clutching almost a bit too tight, forearm across their legs, a little bumshelf.
Two years ago it was Sharon Van Etten. Two years ago it was a tiny, grunty, gassy, Mlle. F.
Tonight it was Ryan Adams/Taylor Swift. Tonight is a pensive and watchful, tired, Mlle. M.
There’s a little in common here: tired, emotional, cliche ridden, me. Folk/alt/rock/country. My girls.
And in a protracted way, that is where this post is going. To that realisation: my girls. I’m an unstoppable sop. An immutably proud Dad. I am irretrievably vested in utterly and only two things: the Mlles. I used to doubt that I could ever love another as much as I loved my first. I was invariably vexed by the puzzle that was one whole me divided by two from me. Tonight the elder got a bit excited and hit the younger, and I had no hesitation in forcibly remonstrating that behaviour: because I love her. And because I love, her.
This weekend I’ve done little else other than hang with my fam, or tend to our whare. I’ve barely seen anyone who isn’t nuclear family. I’m really ok with that. At this point in my life, Mr. 35.5, I am all about my kids. I am ridiculously grateful for everyone who has furnished me with the tools I needed to get this far. I miss some of them who I never fully appreciated: teachers; Mr. Medley, Mr. Braidwood. I still lean heavily on the most stoic of them, Briar. I haven’t seen a man I truly consider a brother: Ian, in a quarter. My perfect foil, and total riposte, himself now with two sons, to my two daughters, Steven, checks in like clock work but we can't effect a meeting in person. Amy turns up via velocipede just to give. My life is better for vicarious living via Mike. But after a full day of it, when I’ve pulled stumps, given one a kiss and swift pass to her mother, tucked the other in with two stories and a full day’s recap… This is it. This is my all. I hope I never forget these days, and I’m torn between selfish glee, and being utterly bereft, knowing that my girls will.