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Monday, 23 July 2018

Summer Holidays or Come and Play With Us Danny Forever and Ever



You can't sell them on Ebay and they are your responsbility for the long holiday. This is when you realise that teachers are woefully underpaid...


Every year about this time I think to myself, " this year I won't write it, it's always the same. This year I won't need to" But here we go again. Six weeks of schools closed, kids at home, screaming at Fifa and hours of that pointless program about that bloke who is way to young to be a teacher. It's not that I fall into the trap of Hallmarking the summer break, far from it, I know that it will be arduous and akin to the lowest region of Dante's Inferno. I try, I really do,  I try to engage my little (well not so little anymore) offspring and this year I thought it would be different. This year we are 20 minutes walk (yeah right!) from the beach. So, I reasoned to myself that if they get a little too much then off to the beach we go and I can encourage them to try and swim to France (aren't there  blue sharks off Bournemouth pier this year and aren't they children eaters? just a thought) As the final school day (half day actually) drew to a close I remarked to a mum , as I walked to pick up smallest not little offspring, "here we go again" she smiled the smile of common pain shared and remarked that she "found children really irritating most of the time anyway". Six weeks of the little dears being at home is going to be troublesome and I don't even have alcohol to fall back on this year.

I should at this point add my usual disclaimer. I love my children, a lot. I cook, clean (sometimes) and care for them. I celebrate their achievements and I console them when they are upset, I love being a dad and my children are not bad children. They are just children! But that doesn't make it any easier when I have a whole six weeks ahead of me. I should also point out that some of this time will be taken up with me farming them (both or one) off to their grandparents and at least one week they will have their elder brothers to help out (distract them) But none the less I dread this time and this year is the worse EVER. We have a child who is about to do this:



Teenager! yes and we have been enduring the tremors for months now. I won't place myself in the category of saying that all teenagers are awful but they have elements of their character which try any parents patience. Our teenager in waiting is intelligent as well so he cant be fobbed off with logic that he doesn't understand and he challenges everything. By the end of the day I am frazzled and wanting space to calm down ready for it to begin all over again. 6 weeks did I mention 6 weeks? I have never understood the parents that genuinely look forward to this prison sentence. They are the ones that seem to treasure every moment with their children and for whom a cross word just doesn't seem to enter their mouths. That's not me! I am the shattered looking, defeated Dad trying to tempt my boys away from the X Box so they can get out of the house. I am the Dad that wants to parent properly and shape them for life in the world that I know is cruel, unforgiving and heart breaking. I am the Dad who will always put them first before myself and seeks little in reward. But I am also the Dad who can be found crying at night after yet another unfathomable outburst in which I am told how awful I am. Teenagers have anger issues sometimes and I know i was the same but I also now truly understand what I put my parents through (sorry mum and dad)


I am a Christian and I am also trying to be the best Christian Dad I can be, but that's even tougher. I am trying to live by the standards and guidelines that I believe are right to follow. I fail, I fail a lot and having a teenager in waiting pointing my failures out breaks me, every time. I am never one to read books and I find often advice from other parents to be mind bogglingly simplistic ( you need to spend more time with him, how when all he wants to do is harangue me)

It's not all bad as we are going to the cinema and MacDonalds to celebrate his 13th birthday but I am scared that the quality Dad time I love is going to be put on hiatus soon. He has been through so much and we have grown close but I risk losing that relationship if I get this wrong. It is a burden that hangs heavy around my neck and I worry that I am scarring him emotionally. All these worries are probably ones that are shared by most parents but does that make them any less worrying? My children are mini Jekyll and Hydes and like the potion guzzling Doctor, they transform just as suddenly. It is the change from cuddle giving children to monsters that wrong foots me every time as does the total lack of perspective and dizzying "me centredness"One minute I am public enemy number one and the next I need to avert another world ending crisis!

I have always viewed parenting in the way of guiding my children through their formative years and whilst you don't calmly explain why getting out of the road is a good idea when a Juggernaut is screaming down on them (shout, SHOUT AGAIN)  I do feel that children need to understand why rather than do just because. Equally they need to feel what it's like to lose their tempers and thus hopefully learn coping techniques to quell the red mist. I think it also helps that my teen in waiting is very much like me and I understand him probably better than he knows. I see the nervous smile and I can hear the desperate pleas not to belittle and ridicule, Equally, I see the anger that often is misunderstood for petulance and disrespect as the embarrassment and confusion that really fuels it. I want to walk alongside him and to tell him that it will all make sense in the end. There is nothing he can do that will make me love him any less and I will always have his back but sometimes its hard when he  shrugs  my arm away and pushes.

No one told me parenting was so hard and no one prepares you for the emotional journey but I am blessed in having a wife and support network who walk this walk with me. When I falter they help me up and we go again! So summer time yes, here we ago again, but not I think on my own!


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