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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Moments like these…

Sucks in a get-over-yourself-such-is-life kind of way.  They are notoriously difficult to write about because when I do, I end up looking like a slobbering idiot with tears streaming down my face, splashing all over the keyboard, ruining the electronics and causing a short circuit that leaves the whole office building without power for three days.  It seems electricity and water does not make a great pair.

Not that I write any posts at work.

Luckily these unfortunate occurrences I’m referring to only happens annually.  Like today. Continue reading

Hear ye! Hear ye! Happy Birthday to the *insert something wonderful* Princess in all the land!

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A gorgeous girl and a Dad trying to look cool.

I walked down the corridor with gift bags and a cup of coffee.  Wife was right behind me carrying a small tray with a mug of hot chocolate and a candlelit cupcake.  Dude almost carried himself.  Fortunately we have walls that guide him in a straight line to where he has to go.  I switched on the light and hidden between layers of duvets and blankets, she appeared with a gorgeous smile on her face.

“Happy birthday to you…” we sang awfully.  It was six-o-clock in the morning and it was  evident that our ability to carry a simple tune was still asleep.

The day arrived, like it does every year. Continue reading

A letter to my 16 year-old son

To the greatest Dude on earth

It’s been three years since I wrote you a letter.  Three years.  WTF!  My mind is officially blown.  What happened to time?  Back then you were just a kid about to enter the turmoil teenage years.  And look at you!  Turning sixteen today!  And you’re handsome and wise and funny…just like dad.13339486_10206581173063436_7685688785425361829_n

You didn’t, contrary to popular belief, turn into some Emo-antisocial-rebellious piece of shit.  You’re still a joy to behold.  You’re still someone I’m extremely proud of.  You’re still someone who I will fight for until my last breath.  Someone I might even love more than Mom….nah…

You didn’t rock the boat or entered any dangerous waters.  Thanks for making it easy to be your Father.  Thank you for being a person of character.  Someone who takes responsibility.  Who’s still as passionate as ever.  You didn’t really change at all, you’ve just turned into a mature version of the cute, little boy.  I know I’m getting soppy but I promise not to cry, at least not in front of you. Continue reading

Secret revealed: Why Pixar used the mind of a girl for their new movie.

The jumping desklight company, Pixar, is currently busy making another animated movie that occurs inside the mind of a little girl.  It’s called Inside Out and is planned for a 2015 release.  The characters in the movie would be different emotions in the mind of the little girl.  With the voice talent of Amy Poehler as Joy and Lewis Black as Anger it is a unique concept that I would be very keen on seeing.  I am not sure which emotions will be voiced by Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow, but it can only get interesting.  You can read what little info I have here and here.

But the whole premise of the movie made me think, to use the words of Brain in his daily conversations with Pinky: “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?”

Yes, I do like to take a time-out once a week and meditate on issues that affects the world we live survive in. Continue reading

A letter to my 12 year-old son

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To my dearest son

I am writing this letter to you because of an old cliché, the one that says you are growing up to fast.  The sad thing about this statement is that it is true.  Last week you were laughing loudly in your crib, yesterday you started school and in a couple of weeks you will be turning 13.

You will enter the gates of adolescence to spend the next five years in the darkest ages of human development…Being a teenager.  In order for you to maintain some kind of humanity, whilst searching and struggling to find yourself, I though it to be a good idea to jot a few things down, almost like building lighthouses, preventing you and I from connecting like a rocky shore and a sailing ship.  It will steer you into calm waters.

Remember that our age difference will always remain the same, and that five additional years is less than 10% to my current tally.  In your case you will be 40% older.  So the person who will be changing dramatically is you, not me.  So another five years in my life wouldn’t constitute the definition of an old man.  You know, the type of dad teenagers consider ancient and outdated, those who doesn’t understand life and everything in it.  Yes, I agree the times when I grew up might have been easier and different to yours, but the personal conflicts remain exactly the same.

You have never been bothered with peer pressure.  Your view has always remained strong and true  and your actions spoke of your heart, please don’t let friends and influences change that.  Always remain yourself, don’t ignore the man in the mirror, and even though it might not feel so at the time, there will always be  people who will like and respect you for standing up against the masses.

Remember the nights when you called me into your room under false pretences so that you can ambush me on your bed, and it turned into a tickle/wrestling/laughing match.  And remember all the Superheroes movies we watched together with you sitting on my lap.  And remember all the epic fail YouTube video’s we laughed at.  You spoilt me with your attention, I cannot fathom losing it now.  Remember when it was still cool to hang out with dad.

You always tell your stories with so much excitement that you require at least an area of three square metres to do it effectively.  You showed us the moves and tackles of the rugby games or flew around when describing your favourite scene from Ironman 3.  Don’t loose it, ever.  Tell your stories with all your heart and act them out if need be.  You are our entertainment and your lack of inhibition is refreshing and amazing and funny all at the same time.

We had no secrets.  Since you could speak you have told us everything.  We know of your heartaches, your joy, your disappointments and your ambitions, don’t stop now.  We might not have the answer, we might not have a solution, but now this, we will listen, and we will always have your back.  No.matter.what.

Time is a ruthless concept.  It doesn’t allow people to linger in moments of awesomeness.  It doesn’t allow us to stretch those moments that we wish could last forever.  But the Lord gave us children.  And looking at you, experiencing life through your eyes has made it possible to be young again, to have a fresh breeze blow over older bones.  To be able to dream and get excited about small things, is your gift to us.

Know that whatever issues we may face as a teenager/parent; I can never be more proud of you.  Know that any decision me and mom will make will be based on our love for you.  On what we think is the best for you.  And yes we will listen, and yes we now times are changing, and yes we might not understand, but remember that we love and protect you, even if you don’t like it.  Know that there will be times when you deem us unreasonable.  And when you feel lost, home is where we will be waiting for you.

You and your sister are our greatest achievements and we cannot be more proud, and there are no parents on earth who love their kids as much as we love you.

So be true to yourself, stay strong and stuff your backpack full of the things you know and cherish, take the roadmap that we have been drawing together over the last 12 years with you and you will be more than fine in that maze of adolescence.  And so will we.

Your loving parents

Mom and Dad.

Mom knows everything.

I have a secret.  Nothing serious, but a secret nonetheless.  Something I am not very proud of, something I hope my kids would never, ever try or do themselves.

I used to smoke…in high school…when I was 17 years young.  I know it’s disgusting, cancerous and just plain bad.  Hence the secret.  I took my first pull from a cigarette in grade 11.  Every so often we would huff and puff and cough violently; feeling very cool and grown-up like.  Looking back…stupid child.  I am living proof that youth is wasted on the young.

The reason why it was such a big secret; was due to the fact that I was a relatively well behaved teenager.  I was part of a great group of friends, and we mostly stuck to the expectations of our parents.  We did however “enjoy” the odd cigaret and the odd beer, it was the extent of our rebellion.

My parents never saw me trying to smoke, because if they did, I probably would have been grounded until yesterday.  In my final year mom found a box of cigarettes in my cupboard.  I was quick to explain that it belonged to a friend and the friend was too scared to keep it in his house and therefore I offered it for safekeeping.  Mom wasn’t impressed with the friend.

Another time we were taking a puff behind the house on my birthday and she came around the corner.  We disposed of the buds very swiflty, it looked like fireflies twirling in the night sky.  Again she said nothing, just mentioning the food was ready. We all breathed a sigh of relief and promised each other to be more careful.

I kept thinking that I was the coolest kid south of the Equator having outsmarted the woman who gave birth to me.  I felt very distinguished being able to hide this secret from my parents.

In any case I left for college and Mom gave me a box filled with needful things.  When my parents left, I opened my gift.  It was filled with joy in the form of sweets, cookies, cash and a few other nice-to-haves.  I unloaded my treasure chest eagerly.

But there was one thing I didn’t expect right at the bottom of the box…

An ashtray.

She knew, like all moms do. (Don’t know why my parents never said anything, not gonna ask now!)

I don’t know how mothers do it, maybe intuition evolves into a super power when woman give birth, or maybe there is a secret society that spy on men and children  (I have suspected stork tea’s for a long time now, and don’t even get me started on book clubs).  But the warning is crystal clear:

You can’t run, you can never hide and lying is just prolonged pain because Mothers know EVERYTHING!

It’s creepy but true.