Monday, December 14, 2015

When I Was A Gypsy

It's been awhile.

My gran.
Five years ago to the day I was sat in a dingy, office training room listening to a woman - who looked exactly like a cross between my Gran and Ray Winstone - swear blind they knew someone who turned themselves albino. Four years ago I found my daughter covertly locked in a bedroom intentionally slam dancing into her brother whom she had taken hostage. Three years ago today I picked my daughter up from school and she told me loudly in the corridor that, ""there's no kissing allowed at school......and if the teachers are caught kissing too they have to go and sit in the principal's office until the end of the day." Two years ago today my ex-wife's now fiance met our kids for the first time. Which involved him walking into our old house (I'd popped over to pick them up) while they were blasting Primal Scream's Swastika Eyes at an ungodly volume whilst pretending to spray everything like skunks. It's a credit to him that he didn't just walk back out the door. And a year ago today I was still aghast at how absurdly hot it was in Arizona in December and endured this ironic piss-take from my son.

There are two main points to this. Firstly - I know all that because I wrote it down. I have all those memories written out. Because I did that when I looked back through to see what happened this day for the last five years I swear I could hear all those things happen like an echo. I'm very lucky to have just spent twenty minutes having a poke back through time and feeling those things again. Granted I wasn't quite prepared for that sudden, dull sense of despair of five years ago of working a fucking dreadful job knowing that a) it was just a matter of time until I would be a stay-at-home Dad (still one the best things I've ever done in my life). And b) remembering that ever-present knowing that for all intensive purposes my marriage was already over. And that we both knew it but just wouldn't address it. And that nobody outside our house had any idea. We were just in a very, very long wind down. It's a very odd thing to feel that sensation again. That treading water feeling. And personally I think it's good to remember how that feels.

But it's also equally as odd to remember opening that bedroom door four years to find my son defending himself against his sister's violent dancing. Especially as today she spent an inordinate amount of time dancing to Minecraft songs while flailing a foam sword around while he deliberately tried to get hit by it. And it's weird to remember that look of confusion on the other parent's faces three years ago as my daughter loudly talked about how the teachers aren't allowed to make out at school. And as for a year ago - I can sincerely feel how uncomfortable it was to not have adapted to the Arizona heat. And being absolutely positive I never would. And yet now I'm huddled in my house with a cup of tea and a blanket at 10.20pm on December 13th writing away at this and well aware that I'm probably behaving as if I'm colder than most people around here. The words "delicate flower" come to mind. But I can also sincerely feel that sense of happiness I'd grown to a year ago of being pretty damn happy with who I'd become. Of having moved here and smiling with my kids. And of having met and got to know pretty well some of the most important people I'll ever meet in my life.  

And then there's today. Today my son lost his second tooth.

Albert Steptoe
Oddly enough he looks a bit like a cross between my Gran and Albert Steptoe there. He's quite excited. Firstly that his tooth falling out involved next to no pain at all. In fact he laughed it out. Apparently that's what I get for doing a workout in my own living room. It's just that funny to look at. But also my son is excited because when he found it in his hand he realized he was rich. And I realized I best find the six quarters (precedent set by his mother when the first one came out) the Tooth Fairy will be coughing up tonight. And lastly he's excited because with that tooth missing he now has his own personal hot dog hole. I strongly advise not Googling that.

More importantly is in five years I'll know that. Because I wrote it down. And I should say that even though I might not publish on this thing anywhere near as regularly as I used to - I still write things down. Thoughts I have. The inane stupid nonsense that I used to ALWAYS say out loud - I still write that down. Weird little ideas or stories - I still write them down. Not every day. But on scraps of paper that once a week or so are saved so that in weeks or months or years I can look at them and know what I was thinking. And while there are gaps they say their own thing too in just as silly, as importantly and as powerfully as words can sometimes too.

Secondly the point is the point we really don't have any idea where we will be in a year. Let alone five. That's both daunting and very exciting. I knew some things five years ago. I knew I didn't like an awful lot of things and that they had to change. For one thing my dress sense. Good God what was I thinking? I looked like a gypsy. Three years ago things were changing enormously and I knew that I was heading in very much the right direction. Painfully and into the unknown in many respects - but still the right direction. Six months before that I didn't think they would. It was almost unimaginable. I was an entirely different person then. Still looked like a gypsy for starters.

Six months can do that. In six months I won't be under a blanket - that's for certain. Six months from now my son will have a lot more hot dog holes. Six months from now these workouts better start paying off. I'm hoping that in six months lots will be different. I need to change some things. Just like we all do. And I'm fortunate enough to be able to look back five years and know that with a little work, a lot of waiting and a good mix of serendipity that I'll get closer to whatever that is. And I try not to do this but I'm well aware that in a year - and in five years - things will have changed in the same seismic ways as the last five years have. Dearly hoping I don't have some sort of hideous regression and start dressing like a gypsy again.

Now - I should go put that Tooth Fairy money under the pillow.

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