Miles on the clock

Just winding up a BBQ on another balmy June evening. Put aside that meteorological oxymoron and it got me thinking about our time together.

Conor is acting the maggot annoying Paddy in the garden in a playful way. Basically, that means Paddy playing dead while his brother clambers all over him. One placid, the other is simply nuts, too much energy to expend.

Such wrestling makes for a hilarious aftermath on these long evenings. Conor’s paint-like factor 50, combined with the hairiest dog in Newcastle leaves the wee guy looking more like Chewbacca than a fresh-faced three-year-old.

The numbers stack up as three alongside 43 in this household. We were somewhat late to the parenting party. It means for as long as Conor and I roam this earth there will be a certain symmetry to our birthdays. Get to 50 Conor will be 10, push it out to 60, Conor will be 20, 70/30…

In recent days Conor enjoyed his third birthday on another sunny afternoon spent in the garden alongside his Scottish and Irish cousins and friends. It meant more messing on a packed lawn. It was a joy to watch the younger generation in full flight with each other.

I often wonder about those future years, though we know better than most every single tomorrow is a blessing and a bonus.

We don’t ask for much these days. I’m learning to be happy with what we have. In times gone by dreams were frantically chased, always in a rush in an ultimately selfish and futile pursuit. Enough is plenty.

Sure, we have everyday pressures. The mortgage still needs to be paid, bills keep rolling in. But find a way to step off the daily treadmill and happiness is there to be found. It’s often the simplest of things; going for a run; looking towards the horizon rather than feet when walking to appreciate what’s around us; a quick pitstop for a coffee and 20 minutes of ‘your time’. To manage our time better is a skill all of its own.

I love that our wee unit has the freedom to do as we please…well, most of the time. By that I mean creaking dad can still run with Conor, can chase and play all day long, or at least until it’s wine time of an evening. Seriously, to be able to kick ball, bat or pedal an afternoon away is a real treat. We often walk Paddy before the sun goes down or until Conor gets bored of his scooter – usually at the far end of the promenade when ginger Sherpa kicks in to carry child and scooter while containing 40kg of retriever!

It’s not a complaint, we are the lucky ones, but what happens if that changes? 60/20, 70/30… our vertically stacked dynamic leaves things slightly more vulnerable than some setups.

I should take some of my own medicine, whatever is ahead is outside of our circle of influence. Doesn’t stop the mind wondering though.

Back to the present. Tunes are playing on the iPad, kids laughing in neighbouring gardens, Conor is still holding court, Paddy has a dopey smile while rolling on his back on the grass, all he wants is company and to please.

Yip, it’s a very ordinary balmy evening in June but it feels like heaven. It’s all about the here and now.

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