Today was a friday which meant that one daughter was in Daycare, this meant that one half of the cyclone that tear around our house was in an entirely different building being just as destructive with someone else’s toys. I had taken the day off, the wife and I decided that it would be a great idea to not waste the day and head out to the main shopping centre a few towns away on the coast. This did mean how ever that the second half of the cyclone would still be traveling with us and due to a restless night sleep (teething) had been upgraded to a category 4 cyclone by the live in weather woman (the wife) who was now an expert in calling these extreme weather (behaviour) events.
The day started out well. Our little cyclone actually feel asleep on the trip down to the coast. I looked at the weather woman like most people do when they have planned a big party, but have cancelled due to forecasted rain only for it to be the most glorious day of the year. I was told to not get excited and wait…. there was a fair bit of conviction in her voice and just a hint of fear, I said to myself that I would be vigilant and could weather any Storm (Tantrum) of our little cyclone especially considering that she was only half the force she usually was due to it being day care day for her sister.
We made it to the shops with out so much as a rain drop….. this day was turning out to be awesome. Within 2 mins we were unpacked and into the shops. This is unheard off as it is usually a circus act of herding cats and juggling lions trying to get both children into the stroller without either of them taking off across the car park or a monumental tantrum (cyclone) erupting at any minute. As we walked out of the car park and into the shops I kept turning around looking for BB. It was almost like a nervous tick, I knew she wasn’t with us but instinctively I was still looking for her to stop her from taking something off a shelf or darting into a closing elevator or wandering off into a completely different shop. I honestly could not stop doing it and wondered if this was the first sign of going quietly insane.
Once I was able to control this tick (I had caught my wife displaying the same tick and wondered if passers by were thinking we had lost our minds) I was able to relax and actually stroll through the shops, wander into a nick knack store and not instinctively take out the credit card to pay for broken items by said 2 year old. It really was heaven, I tried to think back when I had done this in the past and to be truly honest with myself I had never done this. See I had wandered in and out of shops all my life but this was the first time ever that I was doing it just because I could, and that was a glorious feeling!!!! It didn’t last……
As I wandered around feeling king of my castle, I was knocked off my feet by the ever building cyclone Jade. The category 4 cyclone was here and I got the “I told you so look from my wife”. Jade was hungry and was going to make sure everybody in the building including the old deaf guy in the food court know she was hungry… Eventually we found the parents room and warmed up some food. The cyclone appreciated this and went from a raging wind to a soft breeze in about 2 mins. This allowed more wandering and more basking in the joyous fact I was doing it just because I could. With all this going on I did have a sense of emptiness…. something that at first I couldn’t put my finger on. Something was missing. Something important. Like I had lost a leg or an arm……
It eventually dawned on me during our 4th cyclone flare up for the day (dirty nappy) that I was missing the full effect of these cyclones. I was missing BB. I could see that my wife was the same. Don’t get me wrong only having one child to deal with between two parents felt like freedom that caged birds get when released, we out numbered the cyclone and had done a mighty good job weathering the storm for the day. But it wasn’t the same. I missed having to stop and look at every bug, brick, chewing gum and leaf, I missed having to explain to my toddler why it was there before being allowed to move on. I missed the million mindless questions, the statements with no point that I always agreed with, the constant watching and correcting. I missed the cyclones, the category 5 ones and the “I am just having a tanty cause I don’t know what else to do” ones. I missed BB.
Like a smoker craves nicotine, I craved the attention, the attention I give her and the attention that she gives me. I missed having to try and juggle both girls with my wife on a shopping trip, where most are like trying to execute a well laid war plan with expert execution to ensure we get out alive. I could see my wife missed it too. Whilst it was a wonderful day, one that I often dreamt of, particularly in the middle of an aforementioned cyclone, the reality is it was nothing like we expected it to be and a day that I am in no hurry to repeat. Did I love being able to spend all my time with Jade? YES!!! Did the day feel like it missed something because one child was not there? absolutely!! Have I completely lost my marbles? certifiably!!!!!
But I am a dad now and my girls are everything to me and something as simple as a shopping trip is not the same if they are not there. Cyclones, questions, statements, bable, slow walking and discipline not one thing you would expect a shopping trip to include, but all things nowadays that I cant have a shopping trip without………….