The Permanent Destination
This week Molly’s blogger Desperate Dad ponders the most bittersweet of parenting problems. Facing up to the fact that your kids are growing up, and growing up far too fast…
I'm starting to feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe - shipwrecked and alone.
Stood on a beautiful beach, waving goodbye to the ship I desperately need, desperately long for, but know is destined never to return.
I have grown accustomed to being in this paradise - enjoyed the fruits of its wonders for quite a while.
And all this time my boat, now drifting away into the distance forever, has been constantly at my side.
Like a loyal companion, my rock and faithful guide.
Now something has changed, the tide has turned and the anchor is getting lighter by the day.
The anchor is childhood, and it will one day untether this good ship forever.
I have noticed the changes gradually, felt it sneaking up on me as if someone's following me in the shadows.
I've been struggling to sweep up my eldest in my arms before dropping him giggling into his bed each night for many a month now.
He grows leaner, longer and heavier by the hour. My back can't take much more.
My youngest is no longer the cute ‘baby brother’ he's always seemed to me.
His constant questions and in depth conversations about what he wants to do when he ‘grows up’ tell me he's already set sail on a one way ticket - far too soon for my liking.
Little moments of independence, fleeting at first, come around more often than not these days.
But these bittersweet moments of departing childhood often hold as much joy as despair for a floundering parent, left bewildered and ill prepared.
Outings are now real family affairs, not the Krypton Factor assault courses they've been in the past.
Sit down meals also seem less of a challenge - a few relaxed pub lunches back on the menu.
No pushchair, industrial pack of baby wipes or mini wardrobe required whenever we leave the house.
Life a little easier, often a little cuter and not quite as energy sapping as before.
But the desire to explore the world around them and absorb as much misinformation as you can transfer, confirms the fear of retreating childhood like nothing on earth.
It crashes down suddenly when you think you've buried it, so you learn to live with it the best you can.
I always knew this ship would set sail for its permanent destination one day - leaving me stranded on my island, desperate and with nowhere left to go.
I've a few more years left yet, but if it really is never to return again, perhaps I can console myself with the thousands of memories bottled up on the shoreline in my mind.
Memories of a time when the anchor of childhood was steadfast and dependably secure for my boys.
They'll make this deserted paradise just slightly more bearable for an old, washed up castaway such as me.
Barry Wood is an ex journalist now working for the NHS in Lincolnshire. A father of two boys and husband to one Portuguese wife, he blogs regularly as Desperate Dad. Read more adventures: www.barrylwood.wordpress.com
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