The journey of a father and son is a long one. I would imagine!! I am just guessing as my own father left when I was young and my stepfather passed away a few years ago. This isn’t a sob story or a hard luck story just a mere reflection on my understanding of fatherhood to date. I had/have incredible role models around me in the form of uncles and friend’s fathers and my incredible mum who was MAD (Mum and Dad) so I never really felt like I missed out.
It’s only now that I embark on a European tour taking on 3 countries and 7 planes in 48 hours to reach the destination; Kiev with my 8 (going on 18) year old son that I started to believe what our partnership can be. The moment I told him we were going to watch the team we love in the final of club football’s prestigious competition, the Champions League Final - I could’ve just died. Happy right there in the knowledge that if I do anything else in this world which brings the joyous smile and gripping embrace that I received that night, I would’ve achieved something no father will ever forget.
This isn’t to say that in order to gain acceptance and love you have to splash out on lavish, gifts or trips. It was just the pure connection between two passionate individuals who shared a dream. Would he love me less if we didn’t do the trip? No. We’ve had quality time to bond, chat, laugh, be silly boys, curious about life and the world. Now, this is me feeling like a father; through the scolding, the nagging, the encouragement, nurturing and love I have provided to date. In that moment it clicked. I had to turn my responsibilities up a notch.
I HAVE A DREAM -
I dream to be more! With the desire to encourage the dream we both share. I am not just a dad, but a man with a single-minded focus to enjoy life despite my illness, make the most of every opportunity and have fun on the way with my new partner in crime.
We’ve travelled to watch games, sporting and non-sporting events before but this was different. It’s come at a point in my life where, each morning I can never be sure where my head is at or how my body feels. Every day brings with it new challenges. I have been angry, I have been depressed, frustrated and inspired. A mix all of these things together in a pressure cooker that is day-to-day life and it’s only inevitable the lid will sometimes blow Mine did and it was the worst moment I can ever remember. The tears streaming down all our faces; not quite sure what happened or what was going on. It felt like a breakdown to me. My mind and body completely broken. I contemplated all sorts. It’s horrible what the mind can conjure up. It truly is a creative, powerful and terrifying vessel if you don’t work together. I had to think fast, what did my mindfulness teach me about unhelpful thoughts? Find a quick distraction; something to grab onto and bring you back from the brink.
My distraction? Aaaaahhhhh The Raes!!!
My little Raes of sunshine, their faces not knowing what was going on with their source. I say source but mean sponge as they soak up the traits of me and my wife, which is only natural. They are a perfect balance of the two of us! I don’t want them to take on this part of me, I have to be stronger, stronger for them. They are the perfect tonic on the dark days, a laugh, a thought, a cuddle from them goes a long way.
It takes a few weeks but I’m back, of sorts. And they can see it. They feed off my energy. And when the energy is great there is no better place than our world. It’s just not that often these days. So, on May 9th it was at fever pitch as we (Liverpool) reached the Champions League final and I followed through with a dream and in the process created emotions and memories that will live and die with both me and my son
This is only the first chapter in my fatherhood story and I know I’m doing ok. But I could be better, I will be better. Each day I am learning and on the good days will plan to make the next more inspiring than the last. And they won’t all be good. But realising, accepting it and learning from it in order to move on is the next episode. I said to Marlow “I’m still learning to be a dad, every single day”. I talk to Marlow. I explain how I’m feeling and what’s going on, a little but not too deep. He’s a child, my son, not my counsellor. The only thing I really share with him is my constant love for him and the message that I am always here for him and not to bottle up his feelings. It’s natural to not always know what the body and mind are doing. And, of course, we will always share the memories of our past adventures and the excitement of the memories we are yet to make.
As we stand here in the raucous "Ukrainian Kop" rings out...
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE!!
The result that night doesn’t really matter I already felt like I won.