My friend is forty-two. My friend became a first time Dad on 21 November 2015. He is not freaking out. I think.
There is a general consensus that becoming a father is somewhat life changing, if only for the newly acquired skill of not puking whilst changing a dirty diaper. Those of us who became fathers at a younger age were too cocky/oblivious/ignorant/arrogant or plain stupid to fully appreciate the ginormous responsibility we got ourselves into. At that age men are invincible and they feel they can do anything. Young fathers roll with the punches and shoot from the hip. Much like we did causing us to become fathers in the first place.
When you’ve reached some level of maturity and you have many friends who have been raising kids for the last couple of hundred years, it makes you much more aware of the shit that’s waiting for you. Figuratively off course. So I can only imagine that the experience is much more daunting for the more mature parent.
Which is why I wanted to welcome LJ into this big world and provide some insight and a little introduction as to the people your Dad hangs out with. I’m only going to talk about the guys because it’s NEVER appropriate to discuss another man’s wife. Make that lesson number 1.
LJ, you are a very lucky, little boy. You have the most amazing parents. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind if they were my parents, which would be kind of impossible, seeing your mother is a few years younger than me. They are the sweetest couple so don’t give them too much crap! (Literally and figuratively.) Be a good boy, eat like your life depends on it, because it actually does, and sleep often. You will have ample time to play and talk and do what little boys do later on in life, for now, just take it easy. Your parents are not that young anymore and like you, they need all the sleep they can get.
Your Dad is absolutely hilarious and he’s been waiting for you, forever. As a matter of fact we’ve all been waiting for your arrival. It’s been the longest nine months of our lives! He’s already got the rugby ball and braai tongs. I hope you look good in orange because he’s a Cheetah. Therefore you will be one too. Don’t resist it, it’s called parenting. He is the kindest, sincerest and most hard working person you will ever meet. He also cried when he saw you for the first time. Did I mention he is funny? He likes a brandy and plays golf. One day, when he is MIA, don’t worry, he’s just swinging a club somewhere.
Meet the accountant. He doesn’t have a bike because he spends too much time at work. Also a reason for his lack of hair. I reckon he has less than you. He enjoys wine as much as the next guy and will find any excuse to braai. This is a skill that’s an absolute necessity in South Africa, the country you are now a citizen of. Let me just say you are a privileged person for that to happen. He supports the Sharks, further proof that he is a super-intelligent human being. He loves books as much as I like Superheroes. No-one can pour shooters like him. The accountant has a pigeon pair and plays golf compulsively. On Saturdays.
Then we have camelman. He rides a bike. Compulsively. And not because he cannot afford a car. He is also the only friend who can pull of tights without people laughing at him. We respect that atrocious necessity only because he has completed the Epic. And it’s much worse than it sounds. He is what the rest of us would aspire to, if we could manage to stop drinking beer and get off our arses. We don’t want too but it’s always good to have a friend who’s active. Camelman has two sons and a tandem. He supports the Blue Bulls but no-one said Camelman is perfect. He also likes golf. And drinks wine.
The butcher has been friends with your Dad for the longest time. I reckon they met when they were still soiling their diapers. If you want the real lowdown on your Dad, he’s the man. The butcher is a man who slaughters animals for a living. Before you consider that disgusting or cruel, just remember that steak and chops are there for braai. Red meat doesn’t grow on trees. He obviously supports the Cheetahs but our group has learned to accept everyone, flaws and all. He also enjoys brandy as much as your Dad. The butcher has three daughters which is why we all feel sorry for him. He seems to be coping.
We also have a mountaineer in the group. And he is called the mountaineer because he has climbed five of the seven peaks of the world. He is planning to do all seven. He also walked to the South pole which seems pretty far to me. And it’s a bit chilly down there. Did I mention he is the eldest of the bunch? You can call him grandpa. I’m not sure if he looks as old as he is, because I’m a guy and guys don’t care what their mates look like. One thing is for sure, he certainly doesn’t act like he has broken 55. He also has triplets which might be the reason for him wanting to climb mountains.
Then there’s me. I am the tallest of the bunch. And the most handsome. I’m also fairly intelligent but my most distinguished characteristic would be my humble nature. I blog so when you are older you can follow me. I need every follower I can get. You can even read a few of our shenanigans in one or two of my posts. I try to laugh as often as I can and don’t take myself too seriously. Neither should you. I have the best wife and two amazing kids. Also a pigeon pair. I try to exercise every so often and has recently taken up crossfit. I also became a warrior but that’s another story. I like wine but don’t play golf. I’m balanced that way.
So LJ, welcome to your new life where you ‘ll undoubtedly be surrounded by heaps of people who laugh and cry and braai and watch rugby together. You’re joining the greatest group of friends in the world and it’s extremely exciting to welcome you as our newest member, even if you cannot crack a beer yet. All in good time.
Let’s raise a glass to little LJ, who was given as a precious gift to a very precious couple. And none of us could be happier.