Driving Mr Daisy

In South Africa kids have to be 18 before they can get a driver’s permit.  And even if they get it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can drive, it merely means that they passed an assessment that tested their ability to parallel park without any other cars present, not stalling the vehicle and keeping the car on the road at the required legal speed.  This test doesn’t teach them the subtle nuances of driving that a person acquire over many years.

The important driving skills like how to flick a bird at the stupid driver who cuts you off and which are the appropriate swear words to use when the driver in the fast lane is either looking for parking or just simply prefers to drive at the speed of a dying snail.  Not to mention the important ability of selecting a great playlist in preparation for a road trip.

Irrespective of what Dude may know or doesn’t know about driving, he still managed to pass the test last week on his first attempt, and no-one was more surprised proud than his dad.  He is now a legal driver on the roads of the world because contrary to popular belief, a South African driver’s permit does allows you to drive ANYWHERE you want to.  Except on the pavement.  The problem with this newfound ability and sense of freedom is that even though he has the legal document to operate a motor vehicle, he is yet to own said motor vehicle.

Now just calm down and here me out before you start blaming me for not providing the child with a car.  The reality of him reaching the legal age for driving in South Africa came at me faster than Superman when he hears Lois is in trouble.  And then the actual date for the test came even faster.  I’m not stupid, I knew he was going for his license, I was the one who had to pay some poor driving instructor who had to sit through the terror and anxiety of teaching him how to drive.  We did the basics but due to the fact that an instructor who leaves claw marks on the dashboard and has difficulty in releasing blood-curdling screams every three minutes should rather quit whilst he is ahead.  Which is what I did. And then I got a professional. And it worked.

Back to the fact that I have a serious problem excepting Dude is growing up.  Wait. What?  Yes I do.  I have a really hard time accepting that the Dude will be leaving the house at the end of the year.  There are so many things happening, very quickly.  He calls these achievements milestones and I call them landmark heartaches.  It’s just easier to ignore them, to be like an ostrich with its head in the sand.  Avoid the inevitable.  I’m trying to ignore how much I am going to miss that damn kid when he’s gone.

Hence my reluctance in getting him a car. I’m a selfish bastard.  I feel like me giving him a car is just me giving him permission to spread his wings a little more, to explore a little further, to be just that little bit more independent.  I’m giving him permission to go and live his life with less of me in it.  And that is probably one of the toughest things a parent will have to do in their entire life.

For the moment he is basically taking over driving duties in our house.  If someone even hints about going somewhere he volunteers to drive.  It’s weird to be the passenger because I still see my boy behind the steering wheel, not the young man who is chatting, listening to music and having the time of his life, as he is Driving Mr Daisy.

But don’t worry, I’ve agreed to go car shopping this weekend. Under duress of course.

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We call him Mister Dude

There once was a boy who lived in a village that time forgot.  It was a fabulous place to live, a place filled with happiness, laughter and love.  Where the other villagers took care of one another.  They were considerate and kind.  And this boy stole the hearts of all the other villagers.  Some visitors of the land would carry tales of his kindness or his humour or even his handsomeness but they all couldn’t stop telling the story of how he was loved by all the other villagers.  He might have been the most loved person in the village.

The mayor of the village was especially fond of him, and even had a special name for the boy.  He called him Dude.  Because why not?  When a person gets a nickname made of love, then one doesn’t consider the amount of time that was spent scanning through countless books of baby names, just to try and find that perfect balance of manliness, meaning and pronouncability.  Not to mention the ease of spelling the damn thing.

The tragedy of the village was that time moved a lot faster than in the normal world.  What feels like a brief moment turns out to be months or even years in real time.  Moments that fly by at the speed of light, moments that turn into memories faster than life itself.  And then one random day in a year, the villagers wake up and realise that their short stint in time turned out to be a whopping 18 years of real time!!  And that my friends, is fucking ridiculous. (Sorry readers but it is what it is.)

The problem with reaching 18 years of real time is that the boy is no longer a boy.  When a citizen of the village turns 18, it implies that he will be leaving the village shortly.  In a few months from now he will have to say goodbye to the other villagers and then he will only be able to visit them every now and again.  (And let me tell you dear boy, it better be more now than then!)  But there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  The mayor have tried to stop time or even slow it down but there’s no stopping the inevitable.  Time is a heartless bastard.  The man-boy will have to leave the village and face the real world which is a horrible place filled with things like responsibilities.  A place where he will have to stand up and face all the consequences of the many decisions he has yet to make.IMG_2378

The good thing is that Dude is well prepared for life in the real world.  He has grown into the most amazing man in all the land.  He is kind, and generous, and wise, and disciplined, and courteous, and funny, and responsible and dare I say, ladies, dashing as hell.  And even though he might leave our little village, he knows that he’ll always have a place to call home.  A warm place where the other villagers will support him and encourage him and love him until death and beyond.  And they will wish him well on his journey and on this landmark birthday, a soon as they finished sobbing and are able to speak.  Once they have dried their tears of joy and pride.

Because starting tomorrow, we will call him Mister Dude.

And with that, I wish you the greatest, happiest and best 18th birthday.  May your future be as bright as your own being.  May your day be filled with a thousand chuckles and a million laughs.

We love you in a way you may never fully comprehend.

Mom, Princess and I (aka the Mayor.)

 

To my soulmate, on her birthday

The lucky ones among us get to meet people on this journey through life that leaves a lasting impression.  Like a great tattoo.  They inspire and change you.  People who walk in and accepts you for who you are, with all your flaws, warts, shenanigans, bad habits and everything else that makes you human.  The kind of person who makes you want to be better at being you.

And if you’re really, really, really fortunate, you get to marry that person.

My love, it’s been 23 years since we’ve met and look how far we’ve come on this journey of forever together.  Your birthday is just another simple reminder of how blessed we are for having you in our lives. Continue reading

Are you alive?

On Monday morning a dear friend collapsed at work and was admitted to hospital, not being able to walk.  That evening she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.  GBS is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, leading to weakness in your extremities, spreading quickly, eventually resulting in paralyzes of your whole body.

As of this morning she still hasn’t gained full feeling of her lower legs and she has to rely on help to be able to move in her bed.  She is still in bed and fighting her illness with a whole lot of support from a million people.  I know she’ll pull through.

And to think she was still doing everyday mommy things at the beginning of the week.

Life can change instantaneously. Continue reading

Being home alone sucks.

As parents we fantasize about being alone without the kids…yes we all do it!

Dreaming about having a night off.  Experiencing an evening of bliss when we don’t worry or talk or ponder about our kids.  Especially if it happens in the midst of the tough parenting stages, which occurs from the time they’re born until you die.  Because parents are never NOT parents.  Once we take on the role, it turns into a life-time appointment, like a supreme court judge.

The only trouble with fantasizing about having a night off from parenting is that it’s never as great as we imagine it would be.

Having teenagers in my house means my kids have grown into little adults with whom I can have a conversation with.   Continue reading

She’s crushing! Noooooo!!!

Daughters are to fathers as…

That’s it. It’s the perfect analogy for there is nothing to compare the bond between them.  It’s unique.  A special relationship that evokes a primal urge to protect, nurture, cherish and love.  Born from a look that’s filled with admiration, love, belonging and a knowing that he will protect her from anything and everything for the rest of her life.

Unfortunately every father will experience a dreadful day when their little Princess reference another male and gets that same look in her eyes…

It’s like giving birth for fathers.  A cold blade piercing your soul.  And it’s not that she doesn’t look at you in the same way, it’s just that you have an icy reminder that one of these years you will have to give her away to another man.

And that kind of hurts.  And it’s scary. Continue reading