Just this weekend gone we all took a trip to Darling Harbour to see some friends. The 2.5hr trip down was most entertaining with BB being able to see out the window as we were in the Landcruiser. This lead to her pointing at and saying her version of “sheep” at every single 4 legged animal that we passed, and as we live in the country she was going none stop. However as the rolling concrete of the city replaced the rolling green hills she became quiet. I could see in the rear view mirror that she was in fact in awe of every thing whizzing by her window. It was like she was discovering a new world.
We made it to Darling Harbour, met up with our friends and found a massive children’s playground. Jo took Jade in the stroller and chatted with our friends whilst I had the task of following BB through the mass of children and the jungle of play equipment that laid out before us. BB was hesitant at first but once she realized I was following closely she was off.
It was amazing to watch her discover all the sights, sounds and textures of the play ground. Listening to her giggle as we rode the slide together melted my heart. Watching her triumphantly conquer the slide on her own after only a few go’s made me the proudest dad on the lot. BB ran around the sand pit letting the sand fall through her fingers and splashed water from the little fountain laughing as if it were the funniest thing in the world to her. I watched BB as she discovered all this and began to discover it all again myself. I was 4 again.
A few times due to the design of the equipment BB was out of sight for a second. This always felt like a life time with horrible thoughts of her being dragged away. I would push my way through taking no prisoners to get her back into site and ensuring she was safe.
This was an unusual feeling for me. I mean, I have had dogs before and cared for them deeply, but we would go to a dog beach or park and I would let them run wild with not a great deal of care if I could not spot them for a min or two. BB, I wouldn’t let go more than 5 paces from me and I was doing my best impression of the Incredible Hulk, clambering over jungle gym equipment to stay near her and ensure she was safe. Even whilst all this was going on I was still glancing back ensuring Jo and Jade had not moved and were safe in our friends company. Something had stirred inside of me that drove me to protect all my girls at all costs. It was a primal instinct. I was king of the jungle and 400 years ago I would have been beating my chest and letting out a massive roar. Now it was passive aggressive body positioning to keep BB safe from harm and keep away the little blonde headed kid who wanted to push everyone over.
Even when Jo and I switched and I sat with Jade and the other mums with one hand on the pram protecting Jade I was still watching Jo and BB who had moved some distance away. BB, as usual had gone on one of her wandering trips.
I must have been so rude to our friends as I was not engaged in the convo at all. All I was looking for was BB and Jo. I know BB is just as safe in Jo’s hands as she is mine but I couldn’t help feel a little relieved when they came back from across the play ground.
By the end of the day I was exhausted, I had been on my guard for hours. I couldn’t relax, knowing BB and Jade were out in the open with all kinds of terrible’s about. It was an amazing feeling. I finally understood all those dear dads I had seen before standing over their children at parks and fun centers, keeping their children safe. At the time I just thought they should back off and let the child run wild. I now understand to them and now me it is not physically possible. It is hard wired into our DNA the moment our children were born.
Looking at BB and Jade today I know I will always be 5 paces away physically or metaphorically. Always standing guard. Always protecting them.
This is the life I will lead as their dear dad………..