Fatherhood is the gift that keeps on giving. My journey into it has not been unlike that of most. And yet, it has been peculiar, and for good reason. I find that the relationship between myself and my son is not like any other I’d have in the world. It is one I’d have to shape, largely, at least in the early stages. And when you think about it, that’s a lot to take in.
You see, it’s a steep learning process becoming a parent. Do you adopt the attitude of overly worrying about your child, worrying over how he makes his way in the world? Or do you accept that he will make his way in the world, regardless.
My son, already, has shown signs that he is willing and able to make his way in the world. At eleven months, his grasp – of items in his palm – is so fiercely strong, it tells of his determination to have his way. I’d take him to the park, and he decides where he’d walk and how quickly, leaving me to chaperone – well indeed not caring if I am. I wonder about his wilfulness and yet I marvel at it. So young, yet so assured of what he prefers. He likes his meals a certain way, he likes to lie a certain way, he likes to be in charge of the TV, nothing unusual here, but forgive me, just months ago, he wasn’t even crawling.
We see the most rapid of changes in the life of an infant, more so than at any other stage in life – this is nature at its most elemental, and oh do I savour it. I learn from him. Perseverance. Once, he tried, at 6 months or so, to neatly put in place the lid of his cream, and had tried unflinchingly, over six times, until he placed it right, with much satisfaction. I watch this clip over and over whenever I feel like giving up an effort – like marketing my book for one thing.
It’s a journey of a lifetime, parenting, with lots to learn along the way, but what’s becoming clear to me is that there is as much for me to learn from my son as there is to teach him.