Cumulatively it’s been the past 20 years of my life. Solidly it has been the last 12 years. Where other than for the occasional ‘hangover’ (literally) days, from Monday to Friday I have woken up at 5.30am. Maybe an occasional 15 minutes more in bed.
Five years of these 12 I remember at LDB’s. Where I would arrive at work by 7am even before the proverbial tea lady. I had keys to the building and my office. The discomfort of my A/E’s when they arrive anywhere between 8.30 – 9am. David’s IDGAF glare when he casually saunters in at 11am to LDB’s. Where no one could complain of my long lunch hours (pick kid up from school, lunch at home, 30 minute nap, shower, change and back to work) other than still the occasional complaint to LDB. Bless you Lil for allowing my transgressions!
Six years in Blighty and the still frequent glares at WMIN when I would arrive before the sun has risen over the British Empire.
Evenings rushing about, making dinner (I am the official cook and no I am crap at it), walking the dog, pining the tail on the donkey, school shirts ironed in the last minute, dinner ready by 7pm the latest in readiness for the 5.30am rush the next day. In bed by 9.30pm or we would never make it out of bed in the morning – Rain, Hail, Snow, Mist or Sunshine.
5.30am. Downstairs my toilet for the first of many Espresso’s, B&H, porcelain pinnacle, shave, exercise dog, come back and rush upstairs for shower in the bathroom. Most times while one of the girls are in sitting in their PP, I jump in shower. The only ritual I am allowed in the upstairs bathroom, shower I mean. Then make sandwiches (I do make nice toasted Pastrami with Bavarian smoked cheese slices and a touch of Zensai Chinese chillie paste from the motherland). Wave goodbye to Lems, the kid and I make mad rush for the car. Back home and mad rush for train by 7.45am.
Yes the purists among you must shudder. These are alike the life and times of a hitchhiker (Roger Waters), mine are the life and times of Daddy D.
The plus side? The morning school drive. The kid and I have our own playlist:
I got you babe – UB40
Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
Sandstorm – Darude
Swan Lake – Tchaikovsky
Minute Waltz – Chopin
Sweet Home Alalbama - Lynard Skynyrd
Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd
Yes, 12 years!
Kid started sixth form this month (Grade 11-12 to you and I). Guess what? On some days she now needs to be at school only by 8.40am. On most days it is 9.40am. As part of giving her more responsibility and slowly learning to let go when she’s off to Uni I have finally discontinued the morning drive. Yes it may happen infrequently more for nostalgia than anything else (heaven help me if I play our old music playlist to her now).
Ladies and Gentlemen, Family, Friends and members of the media:
DADDY D GETS UP AT 7AM NOW! ALL ONE AND HALF HOURS MORE. NO MORE POUNDING THE PAVEMENTS OF ELSTREE AND BOREHAMWOOD AT 6AM WITH THE DOG. I MAY GAIN WEIGHT BUT HELP ME SKANDA THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL FEELING. FINALLY THE SUN HAS RISEN WHEN I LEAVE THE HOMESTEAD!
Lems and I in unspoken agreement got us a family membership at the David Lloyd Gym in Bushey in celebration.
The road has been long and narrow. I have skidded many times, corrected it and got on with it. I do not regret any second of any of those 5.30am mornings. It has been wonderful. I do not have a contract for 2012. That’s OK!
It’s now wonderful for me to finally celebrate the beautiful autumn of my life. One day when Skanda arrives to take me on that journey to sleep forever, Shiva at the entrance to Valhalla will ask me ‘Daddy D what have you got right in your life?’ I will have many, but the one most right will be:
I have been an awful son, brother, boyfriend, employee, boss and husband. But I have been one hell of a Dad.
Thank you Big P for showing me by example how striving and committing your life to your kids can be so rewarding. My commitment is but miniscule to what you do and have done.
Lil believe you me, thank you for those five years where my kid needed me the most. Thank you for the advice you would give me. I will never forget you telling me in your office ‘Dhammika all of us have coordinated our lives around work and children. You are not the only one’. I know you knew about my long, long lunches. J I know our professional parting was not the best. Most people will say after parting a company, I gave so much, all I will ever say is you gave me so much.
I disagree with you and David, on one. You both would advice me it is the wiliest that survive in the jungle, not the strongest. No, it is the truest.
My brother in law Big P and you Lil, nurtured in me that pride I feel now in every second of my life.
2012 seems far away. Things will always be more difficult than easy. I may never realise my dreams of living in Sri Lanka again. Or for that matter getting a contract for 2012!
But my autumns are beautiful.
I wake up at 7am now.
Shut up Digby and Nige, I know what time you get up at. J
Pauly I envy you. I am proud of your bravery in looking after your baby boy on your own. It’s a wonderful ride machan, enjoy every second of it.
Captain, I know you do everything I do and more for your sons. Bless.
Wait, wait, wait… did I remember to tell you I get up at 7am now? J
Daddy D has left the building!