Zap! And there goes yet another week and I find myself standing in the exact same spot in the Soft Play centre as I was seven days ago, watching my one year old balancing precariously on a slide that is way too big for him to be on. If my wife knew that I was letting him play on it she would go through me for a short cut, but I feel too dazed and exhausted to get up off my seat and lift him down. As long as he doesn’t land directly on his head I think to myself, rationalising my own inaction.
Rafe climbs the final step to the top of the slide and instead of sitting down he raises his hands in the air and rocks back and forth like a mini, drunken Leonardo Dicaprio in the famous scene from Titanic – I’m King of the Soft Play! He then slides down unharmed and wanders off in that zombie style of walking that he favours at the moment.
Zap! Another week has flashed by. We are now well into 2014 and this instills a sense of panic within me: Like a fear that my life is slipping away a week at a time and instead of being able to control everything it all seems to be getting faster and faster and faster.
I take a deep breath and review my achievements for 2014 so far. What amazing tech gadget have I created? What global disease have I cured? What new social network have I built that has gone ballistic in China with the consequence that I am now a multi frillionaire?
Ok, I think to myself as I watch my son disappear inside a giant plastic tube thing. Don’t aim so high, we can’t all be Mark Thingyburg. Perhaps I can’t change the planet but I CAN change my corner of it.
I ponder the list of tasks my wife Becky and I made on New Year’s Eve when we were so full of hope and red wine: Tangible, achievable tasks with minimal financial outlay. Oh yes, this is where I come into my own and I start to mentally tick them off.
Mend the garden fence – Not done. Paint my older son’s room – Not done. Fix the freezer door – Not done. Re-grout the bath surround so my children don’t die of mould poisoning – Not done. Pick all my clothes off the bedroom floor so my wife stops referring to it as “Your Floordrobe” – Not done.
Oh God! I haven’t even picked up my clothes let alone invented the latest social Face Space. I’m never going to be rich at this rate and as Becky keeps reminding me, “Lotto is NOT a business plan!”
I try to stop myself from hyperventilating as I look around the room and spot Rafe helping himself to the contents of some woman’s handbag.
I’m going to wake up one morning and before I know it I will be 50 and I still won’t have fixed the garden fence! Help, how do I get off this roller coaster? Or is it a merry go round…. or is it The Waltzers? Aargh! I’ve got a VIP ticket to the whole bloody emotional fun fair.
Just as I am disappearing into a world of complete self indulgence my focus is brought back to the present by my baby, who has made his way back from the other side of the room and is proudly presenting me with a small plastic ball.
“Da,” he says and holds out his tiny hand, his face full of wonder and I know at that very moment that everything is going to be fine.
The seasons may continue to flash by and I may never invent the next big thing and one day I will indeed be 50, but as long as we can hold on to what really matters in this life things will be ok and it will certainly never be a boring journey.