Snakes! Owls! And Spiders!

content
/kənˈtɛnt/
adjective
in a state of peaceful happiness.

This past Sunday I got to enjoy a day out with my little one and, although there were some moments of emotions flying all over the place, I drove home feeling content.

But, before we get to that – Thanks to Facebook’s memories feature, my day started with a memory as well as the last picture I had taken years ago with my late grandfather who passed away 2018, before he could meet his grandson.

Grandfather, Son and Grandson – the last time we’d be together.
Koster, South Africa

I have very few memories of my grandfather, but what I do remember is that he would not sit still. Even after he had knee surgery, back surgery and I don’t know what else, he would always remain busy. From painting and fixing a chicken-coop, to moving all the junk he horded in his yard which he would find some value for someday.

Having only a handful of memories of my grandad, it is something which I intend to change for my own kid. Flying and driving across the country as much as possible so that he has many stories and fond memories which he can share about his “Oupa”.

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.”

Unknown

Father’s day started with my kiddo bringing me a “Groot Space Rocket” card with his hand print on it and some delicious cookies. These cookies had to be opened immediately. Half awake I obliged and got my first dose of sugary delights for the day.

He was smiling with pure joy.

Our morning was spent at “Exotic Animal World (Previously Butterfly World)” just outside Durbanville. Previously, our attempts to introduce him to animals have all been in vain. For some reason, animals were always preferred on YouTube. Except cats. He loves cats. We were very much surprised then to hear his shrieks of joy and excitement when all the animals were up close and personal.

He was smiling with pure joy.

By far the biggest attractions of the day, were the snakes, owls and the various spiders. The lack of spider photos I’ll blame on my wife’s dislike for them and reluctance to take photos.

It was also at each of these stations that my capacity for being patient was tested seeing as he did not want to leave and, being a 2 and a half year old, made everyone around him aware about it. In my very first blog post, I mentioned that my son is teaching me patience… Well, that day it could not be anymore true. I became very self-aware of other parents staring at us, thinking what could only be “You are a terrible father…”, “Do something about your child…”, “The snake looks hungry, mind feeding it your child…”

During those moments, he was no longer smiling with pure joy.

For brief moments, I would want to react the only way I know how. By going full lizard-brain. But, would that make it better for him? A 2 and a half year old in a strange place, overwhelmed with all the new life-size animals, stranger people looking grumpy, and most likely what could have been an empty stomach because what kid eats where there is “fun” to be had.

No, I had to remind myself in those moments to be his source of calm and security. Someone who he will feel safe with, even when he is not necessarily getting his way. I had to be his super hero.

“When you’re young, you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.”

Unknown

Its, not your average cliché father’s day song, but this song is from one of my favorite bands released in 2018, the same year my kid was born:

To any of the dads potentially reading this blog, if there is one take-away point I can share from my day out – always be your kids’ super hero.

Driving home that day, I felt content. My son was sleeping in his car seat and up until he fell asleep he had joy in his eyes. A day, which I started off feeling it should be all about me (selfish, I know), was perfected by a simple smile on my son’s face.

After all, I am a father because of him.

Until next time.

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