I’ve just spent six nights away from home, doing all the stuff I love doing, free of the responsibilities of being a dad, and I can’t believe how much I missed it all.
On the face of it, the past week has been very cool. I spent three days climbing mountains in some of the best weather I’ve ever seen in the Lake District. Then I flew to Switzerland, caught a ferry across Lake Constance to Germany, and spent three days at one of the world’s biggest outdoor trade shows. We drank lots of German beer, ate lots of sizzling red meat, chilled in the sun, stayed out late, checked out the coolest new outdoor kit money can buy, and generally had an awesome time. I used to live for weeks like this, but this time something was missing.
I missed my little boy so much. And his mum. And our mental little dog!
I’ve always travelled a lot with work so the past week was nothing new, but it’s the longest I’ve spent away from Sonny since he was born. Part of me was looking forward to getting away from the grind of being a dad for a week. No crappy nappies, no unprovoked tantrums (that little dude can be so unreasonable sometimes!), no messy house, no 3am wake-ups, no lawn to mow, no dog crap to pick up. And while I’ll happily admit it was nice to get a break from all that, I missed everything else more than I expected.
I FaceTimed home as often as possible and received a steady stream of photos and videos of what mischief our little monster has been getting up to, but it’s not the same thing. I missed Sonny’s first proper footsteps while I was away (only around three or four of them before he fell over, but still a big deal) and missed what would have been my first proper Father’s Day (he was only 2 months old last year, so it didn’t count!).
But it’s not missing landmarks that really bothers me, it’s all the simple stuff. I missed seeing Sonny’s big round face grinning back at me from his cot first thing in the morning, ready to attack the day. I missed carrying him on my shoulders and singing songs while he shouts at every passing dog. I missed coming home from work and playing with him in the paddling pool on these long, hot summer nights. I missed watching him play with the dog, charge around the house like a mini bulldozer on his hands and knees, throw his toys around, drink water through a straw, read his books, dribble ice cream down his chin, blow raspberries, laugh at his own face in the mirror – everything. And most of all I missed tucking him into bed at night, kissing him on his chubby cheeks and promising him the next day will be even bigger, better and more exciting than the last one.
I’m typing this blog on my flight back to England so I’ll be home in a few hours, but I’m already pissed off I’ve missed Sonny’s bed-time and will have to wait until tomorrow morning to spend any time with him. I’ve thought a couple of times about waking him up when I get in, just to see him smile and hear his voice for a few minutes, but I don’t think his mum will see the funny side!
And the craziest thing is, three or four years ago I didn’t think I even wanted kids. What an idiot.