Dear Adam: Thoughts on Being a Parent

28 Oct

Dear Adam,

If you want to know what it takes to be a great dad, look no further than your own Dad. If there is one thing I have done right in this world, it is that. I chose the best possible man to be your Dad. It could have gone wrong so easily… bullets dodged and all that… but I think, for once, I did something right in my life. So one day, when you find yourself with a tiny bundle in your arms and you wonder how you will ever raise a decent human being. Just look to your Dad – you can’t go wrong.

And while your Dad and I have our issues, and always will (when you grow up, you will have issues with most people, it is normal). Together we are a pretty good team. Because we love you. Yes, we disagree and have divergent opinions on many things, but at the very core of our mismatched agendas we have one sacred thing in common. We love you. The love we share for you is what guides us in what we do as parents. We have an unspoken agreement that we will always do what is best for you. Sometimes we have to look deep within ourselves to see what that thing is. Sometimes we fight about it. But over time we have learnt to look past our egos and petty needs. We have learnt to turn away from our selfish perspectives and look at it from your perspective and what is best for you. And when we do that, our need to do right by you is what guides us and helps us get it right.

You see, no child asks to be born. But all parents decide to become parents. This decision doesn’t happen before a child is conceived. Nor does it happen once you find out that a baby is on its way. You don’t even have to be biologically related to the child. You become a parent when you decide to be a parent. I know when I decided. And I know when your Dad decided. And then, after you came along I realised that decision was bigger than I ever thought it would be and I had to decide all over again. Being a parent is not something that happens to you. It is something that you choose to do. Anyone can father a child. But to be a parent – that is a conscious decision. It is a decision to be an adult. To be responsible. It is the acknowledgement that it is time to grow up and commit to contributing meaningfully to a child’s life. It is a momentous and challenging decision. There are many people out there who are not able to accept this challenge. One day, I hope that you will accept the challenge and that you will rise to the occasion. I can promise it will be the most rewarding decision of your life.

Lastly, a thought on finding a Mommy for these children. One day, when you think you are ready to have children, find yourself a lovely lady who will love them more than anything. Yes, she will love them more than you. It happens. Or should I say, she will love them differently to you. As long as she still loves and cares for you, understand that, for a while, children will take a lot out of both of you. So make sure you are ready for what children will do to your relationship. It will change, but if you do it right, I believe it will change for the better. So make sure you find someone who will protect and defend and cherish your children with everything that she has. That’s what you look for in a Mom for your children. Don’t ever resent the love she gives to your children – she is nurturing and protecting your children. They are an extension of you. She is not there to nurture and protect you. That’s what I did for you – that was my job as your mother – but it won’t be her job. And if I do my job properly you will grow into a man who is strong, confident and secure. Someone who doesn’t need to be nurtured like a child. Someone who is stable and well-balanced. Someone who loves deeply and sincerely and gives with a generous heart. Someone who will be the best example to his own children.





4 Sep

I have been known to put it all out there. Over and over again. Only to regret my words down the line. My blog is littered with posts that were once there but are now hidden.

It’s a funny conundrum. I write it all down to get it all out. But then I duck my head, think it all through and decide that it’s all best left unsaid.

Which is why I really respect those people out there who can lay it all on the line, open the vein and show their bleeding heart to the world. It’s got to do with being brave. And being okay with who you are and saying “to hell with what anyone thinks, this is how I feel and I will not apologise for it”. I wish I could be more honest and not care about the consequences.

Which brings me to Ed Sheeran and “Don’t”. This song was so personal to him that he initially wasn’t going to put it on the album. But I am so glad he did. And the radio version doesn’t do it any justice. You really need to hear the “don’t fuck with my love” version to really get it. Essentially showing the finger to Ellie Goulding and Niall Horan and not caring that the world knows how things went down. Not concerned about the fall out,  he put his heart into a song and made art. Something beautiful that inspires and means something to someone else.

If only I could do the same. And screw the consequences.


Dear Adam

20 Aug

As a parent there are so many things that we feel we need to teach our children. In my case, as I am sure it is with all parents, I have learnt so much over the years and I wish I could download all that knowledge into my son’s consciousness. From what real friendship means and how important it is, to following your heart and forging a career and a place in this world. I could write pages and pages of instruction and “wisdom” for my child. Essays and lectures are constantly running through my mind. It’s a nuisance. So I thought I should finally write something down.

Today I thought I would like to talk about friendships. My wish for Adam is that he has few friends. I know that sounds like a strange thing to hope for, but here it is…


Dear Adam,

My dear boy, you are the kindest, sweetest soul I have ever come across. Never let anyone make you feel anything less than that. Don’t ever worry that people don’t like you or that you need to change to be accepted. As you grow up you will start to think that you need to be a certain way and act a certain way for people to like you. You may think that the more “friends” you have or the “cooler” you are, the more worthy you are. I am telling you right now that is a load of bullshit.

It is far better to have 1 or 2 real friends than a classroom full of mates. You will have to look far and wide to find these real friends and the only way to judge the quality of a friend is by the way they make you feel. A real friend will make you feel good about who you really are. A real friend will laugh with you, not at you. Real friends are honest and loyal and they will stand up for you and not allow anyone to talk badly about you. They will help you up when you feel down. But, and this is the really important bit, the only way to find these real friends is to first be a real friend. It sounds like a bit of a catch 22, but it’s really the simplest truth out there. Like attracts like. The Golden Rule: Treat people they way you would like to be treated.

There is no more basic rule than this. Treat people like you would like to be treated. Remember how you felt that time someone said something unkind? Remember how it felt to be pushed or made fun of? Whenever someone is unkind, use it as a lesson and say to yourself  “I will not be like this, I will learn from this but I will not replicate it”.  And don’t ever condemn the other person for their behaviour. Remember that when people are unkind it says more about them than it does about you. The little boy who says spiteful things to you at school is only paying forward the things he has learnt at home, trying to make you feel small because that is how he has felt in the past. The bully who tried to push you down and belittle you is only acting out what he has seen happen in his own life. When people cause pain or unhappiness it is only because they are trying to make themselves feel bigger to cover the inadequacy they feel inside. The biggest mistake you can make is to think that the way people treat you is a personal attack. Most of the time it is nothing personal and has more to do with what is going on in their lives than about you. OPS. Other People’s Shit. The way other people behave is all about them and never about you. Don’t ever let OPS bring you down.

So what do we do about these mean people? The key is to never fight fire with fire. This is one of my favourite phrases. Not even firefighters use fire to put out fire. We use the opposite. When someone comes at you with unkindness, respond with love. This is not easy to do. Trust me. I still haven’t got it worked out – so start practising as early as you can! Love is the only thing that matters in this world. In the day to day hustle and bustle this is easy to forget. But try and consciously bring it back into your life whenever you feel like you are losing ground or when things aren’t going the way you think they should. You know that silver heart strung up in my car? That is my way of reminding myself that love is the only thing that matters. As you grow up you will make lots of mistakes and when you look back, I hope that you will realise that those mistakes were made either because of a lack of love or the because of the  presence of fear… which brings me to…

Fear. Fear is a terrible thing. Fear of failure is my great stumbling block. As well as fear of what other people will think. If you don’t do something because you think the other boys will laugh at you, or not want to be your friend, think again. Don’t let fear be in charge in your life. This week at school, you didn’t want to try out for the rugby team – because you thought you weren’t good enough. You also didn’t want to perform at the eisteddfod because you thought you would stutter and everyone would look down on you. As your mother, it breaks my heart to see this. To me, you are the most perfect creature that was ever created. You are packed full and brimming with potential. Never be afraid to show off your gifts and talents. Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid of what others will think – the genuine people out there will respect you for trying and the others? OPS. Don’t be put off because other people can’t be nice. Be brave and look past the fear. Learn to recognise when fear is choosing your actions and learn how to act in spite of it. The more you practice the better you will get!

Always be proud of your achievements and abilities without being boastful. You are a bright, intelligent, massively creative little boy. Never feel that you have to hide this from people or worry about what other people will think. This is one of the most important lessons that I have to pass on from my own life. I was always ashamed of doing well. I thought other people wouldn’t like me if they knew how smart I really was. I thought people wouldn’t like me if I did too well at school. And you know what? Some of them were openly resentful that I could do so well with a minimum of effort. But do you know what else? I now realise those people and their opinions never mattered. 20 years after matric, I have realised that I should never have been concerned about what anyone else thought, because those people aren’t in my life anymore. What they thought was never important. But the important people are still in my life – and they don’t care how many “A’s” I got in matric. There will be people who are jealous and will want you to underachieve – but remember OPS – this says  more about them than it does about you. Work hard, and always, always, always do your best. Sometimes you will do well, sometimes you will feel like a failure. But win or lose, pass or fail, what matters is that you did your best without worrying about everyone else. You will not lose friendships because you have either done well or failed.

Sometimes, when you think you have found a real friend, they may disappoint you or let you down. What you do at this point will be your own decision. Use your heart to guide you. You have two choices. Continue to treat them with love and respect (and caution) or move on and accept the lost friendship with grace and dignity. In most cases I would argue for the former, but sometimes the latter would be necessary. In my life I have been betrayed more than once by a friend or someone I loved. And I am sad to say that it will happen to you too and it will hurt like hell. My wish is that you don’t allow these moments to make you bitter or hurtful in return.  I have had the friend who chose the other side in a bad breakup when I desperately needed someone on my side. I have had the friend that promised she had my back only to turn around and betray that promise. I’ve even had the friend who had a relationship with my ex/boyfriend. Not forgetting the friend who pretended to be a friend only to “tattle-tale” or gossip about the “juicy bits” or talk me down behind by back. I am glad to say that some of these people are still my friends and that I still treasure them in my life. Know that people will do selfish things and everyone makes mistakes or errors in judgement everyday. No one is perfect. Don’t allow one selfish act to cancel out all the positives that went before. Forgive and hold no grudges. Unfortunately sometimes an invisible line will be crossed or a friend will repeatedly treat you in an unkind way. When this happens, and you feel like there is no love and respect coming back to you, it is okay to say “I don’t like the way you treat me” and distance yourself from that person. If you find that you don’t feel good about yourself around certain people, then it is time to respectfully move away from the friendship.

Which brings me to gossip. I hate gossip. I love to know what is going on with people and have a genuine need to know if people are happy or sad – only because I feel that I can offer support in some way. But I hate gossip. Don’t ever talk about someone behind their back. Hopefully this is a “girl” issue and you won’t be having too many issues with it. Just as there are lots of boy-related friendship issues you will need to ask your dad about (like why all boys call each other by strange nicknames) and why sport is so important and why toilet-talk is so funny, this is a girl-related friendship issue. But it still has relevance. Hopefully you will have a friend that you trust and can spill your heart to. Someone that you can moan to. Someone you can tell your frustrations to. Just make sure that this person will never betray your confidence. Even so, even if you trust that person, always remember to never say anything about anyone else that you wouldn’t be prepared to say to their face. By all means, moan and express your frustrations but always imagine that that person is eavesdropping on your conversation… you will be surprised at how you change your words. Remember… if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!

Finally, don’t ever, ever, ever (never, ever) repeat what a friend has told you in confidence. Ever.

Remember that you will only (if you’re lucky) find a handful of genuine friends. These are the ones that matter. Look after them and guard those friendships with everything you have. Those are the friends who will be there in your darkest times and they will be the ones who are genuinely happy for your successes. All the rest deserve your love and affection but know that they will come and go. And that’s okay.

So what my little ramble has come down to is this: Friends are important, they support you and love you and laugh with you. If you are lucky enough to find a real friend, treat them like a precious stone – because a real friend is the most valuable thing you will ever own. But it starts with you – first be a real friend.  Being the most popular kid on the playground is not what you should be aiming for. Always be kind, always act with love. Don’t be afraid of what other people think and don’t feel like you have to change or be “cool” to make people like you. Be yourself. Be loyal (protect and defend) be honest (keep confidences, never lie) and be true. Forgive others quickly for their actions and don’t hold grudges (remember OPS) but don’t be afraid to say “that’s  not okay” and respect yourself enough to step away from people who don’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

Always remember the words of  Maya Angelou — ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’  Remember no man is an island – your friendships will keep you same when everything else seems crazy!










31 Dec

In the world of pain and heartbreak there are a few words that you hear over & over.

“Give it time”.

“It will get easier”.

These words are never a comfort. And there are times when you wonder if it will ever get easier.

If you’re like me, you find comfort in music & words. You latch onto phrases that give you strength… sometimes without truly believing that they apply to you.

One that I leaned on heavily was this one:


I never really believed this one. But I now realise that everything is actually okay. More than okay.

The other one that I held onto (really really tightly), was this one:


I recently had the chance to re think this. Somehow I never truly believed this one. I hoped for it. I wished for it. But I never really believed it.
In a moment of clarity I realised that someone is  thankful that you let me go. That someone is me.  It was a stunning realisation. I’ve been more than okay for a while now. But I had never thought to add gratitude to the mix.

To you, in a world of pain, I wish I could offer you my perspective. But I can’t. My wish is that one day you will be grateful too. Because you are worth so much more. Until then, I wish you courage and strength and fortitude.

It does get better.


Thoughts on me, integrity, and reaping what you sow

10 Nov

I have lost my way slightly in the last few weeks. A presence insists on pushing her way into my life. Challenging me to live what I believe. Forcing me to accept that other people don’t live by the same set of rules that I play by. And fair play to her – we are not all cut from the same cloth. The challenge is to maintain my integrity in the face of disrespect and to find some sort of tolerance for someone else’s game play.

My philosophy is to lead with love. I truly believe that love is all that matters in this world. Not our possessions. Not money. Not things. It is our relationships that matter. When I look back on my life, it is the people that I remember. The friendships that I have formed. The people that I have loved. Not the things that I have accumulated.

Lately I have found it very hard to walk my talk. I am angry. I am hurt. And I have lost the thread of love that is usually woven through my life. I want to get back to the “me” that is me. I want to find myself again. But I am a pendulum – swinging back and forth – and I can’t quite find my true north.

I need to learn the lesson that not everyone thinks the same way I do. We all have our own moral compass and we are all on our own journeys. The hard part is convincing myself to trust. Trust that I need to “be the change” without expecting others to change. It is hard to open up and care, knowing that you are likely to be hurt again and again by people. One of my favourite quotes is “never let the things that matter most be at the mercy of those that matter least”, but how do you live by that code while accepting that there are people who allow the things that matter least to guide their decisions?

Wipe Your Hands, Shake It Off

10 Nov

My theme tune of the past few days.

Rascal Flatts – Stand


23 Apr

I shouldn’t take great delight in Karma. I shouldn’t. But I do. Slap me.

There is a delightful pin that turns up on Pinterest every now and then. It says “When Karma comes back to punch you in the face, I wanna be there just in case it needs help”.

*snigger* … What? Don’t look at me like that. You know it’s true.

At this point I need to direct your attention to a post from over a year ago. Firstly, can someone give me props for knowing my shit when it comes to music?

Secondly, I will never, never, for as long as I live, never forget hearing the strumming beat of “Rolling in the Deep” for the first time. I was in my car. Porterfield/Link Road. I heard the beat and I felt something stirring deep inside me. Something “rolling in the deep” if you will.

That song and all the ones that followed helped me to deal with my pain. Adele helped me to feel angry when I needed anger. She helped me to cry when I was sad. A fire started in my heart, it reached a fever pitch and it brought me out the dark.

And “finally I can see you crystal clear”. You, who throws your soul through every open door.

And so it is fitting that the song that started it all, is the one to give me the last bit of closure. The song that started off stirring only sadness and bitterness in me, I now see as a triumphant declaration of joy.

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