If in doubt, write about what you haven’t written about even though you’ve been trying to…
In the past when I’ve struggled to find time/motivation/words for this blog I’ve resorted to some cliched posts and, well, here’s another one.
I had planned to write about Father’s Day, given it was my first one as a Father myself. Admittedly I’m not big on these types of manufactured ‘days’ but it did give me pause; time to consider the fact that I’m a Dad and to wonder what my own Dad might have thought, the latter of course leading me to a place of melancholy that he isn’t around and didn’t get a chance to meet Jack.
But back to me and, on the whole, I think I’m doing ok as a Dad. I love spending time with my son, watching him play and learn, and learning how to be a Dad from him. It’s a wonderful, emotional cycle that, even during the not-so-fun moments (he’s currently only wanting his Mum at night) I still can’t quite believe how much I love him.
Elsewhere I’m still working from home – a huge boon with Jack around – and enjoying the freedoms that allows. I’ve not been out on my bike as often as I’d like but foot injury remains (ultrasound appointment soon), and we are settling into life in our new house well with the garden scheduled to be useable by August (from 8 years of neglect it’ll finally have a lawn and a small patio, just in time for a small crawling boy to explore!). Ohh and married life is pretty sweet too (she’s a keeper!).
Of course in the world of social media it’s easy to sway to the good stuff. On the whole life is very good but there are hard moments, as any parent knows. We are both exhausted for different reasons, but remain a good team. There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by with a spare minute in it for either of us, but we are muddling through.
I’m not as active on social media for these reasons as well, but I’m still around, and it’s largely what’s prompted me to grab 10 minutes to write this post; there is still a desire to share my thoughts here, to capture moments of my life and, whilst a lot more of those go into my private journal, it’s nice to write for public consumption for a change even with the knowledge that it’ll only be read by 7 people (on a good day).
Anyway, enough about me, I hope you are all well and prospering in the life you’ve chosen.
All 7 of you.
If in doubt, write about what you haven’t written about even though you’ve been trying to…
I’ve been goal driven most of my adult life, it’s part of who I am and over the last few years I’ve been slowly changing my approach to it so I’m confident that these days it’s a healthy thing, not a potentially self-sabotaging mechanism.
Which is just as well as, somewhat predictably, my goals for this year are slowly shifting. This is mostly due to injury, a little to do with bring up a 7 month old boy, and a lot to do with being sensible and not letting myself getting too downhearted when things don’t go to plan.
For example, this weekend we are supposed to be heading up to Pitlochry so I can take part in a cycle sportive, one I completed last year, but I’ve decided not to go. I’ve not been able to get much training done due to issues with both feet; I had podiatrist visit on Thursday to cut out some of whatever is stuck in my left foot (and has been for over a year) and have another podiatrist appointment next month to see if I do have Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot.
On top of that, we are working Jack into a sleep schedule, Becca is back to work so we are adjusting things around that too, and truth be told I’ve just not had the energy or mojo to get out on my bike enough. And when I have gone out recently I’ve hit the 1hr mark and started to flag. Amazing how quickly your fitness disappears!
So the sensible thing is to drop out of the sportive this weekend. And I’m happy to do so, which is a nice change from where my head may have gone in the past where I would’ve looked at the reasons I’m not doing it as excuses or some sort of weakness, whereas it’s more just down to circumstance.
I set out this year with the vague notion of getting my fitness up to the 100km cycle mark but given it’s May already then that’s unlikely to happen, never say never of course, but instead of beating myself up for failing to meet a goal I’m simply adjusting and focussing on enjoy life. Enjoying taking long walks with my son in his pram, enjoying exploring Bothwell with our dogs, and enjoying when I can get out on my bike.
I do have more sportives booked, but the more I think about them, the more I realise that if I don’t do these there’s no harm to me. I can always try them another time.
5th June – Tour of Mull – 43 miles/70km
17th July – Helensburgh – 50 miles/ 80km – provisional (still to book)
21st Aug – Round Strathaven – 50 miles/80km
4th September – Tour o the Borders – 55 miles/88km
Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’ve not done these sportives before, perhaps that’s why when I decided not to take on Etape Caledonia this weekend I was more relieved than I realised. I’ve done it before, I set a good time for it and I know myself well enough to realise I’d have done it and felt disappointed if I didn’t beat that time. After all, we are always supposed to improve, right?!
I feel good about this decision, having mulled it over for most of the day and, as Becca has pointed out, we’ve already had a helluva few months. So, I might participate in the ones to come, or I might not, but I’m feeling good about making it a ‘wait and see’ decision, removing the pressure on myself to hit training goals, removing the fear of failure, and letting me get back to enjoying just going out on my bike.
Yesterday we had a Naming Ceremony for Jack. Just us and a small group of friends and family, the people we know will be in his life for years to come. Alas some people weren’t able to be there, but we know he was in their thoughts on this special day.
We all gathered at Pollok House and after a lovely humanist ceremony delivered by https://www.facebook.com/gerrie.douglasscott we all applauded as we welcomed Master Jack McLean! What a great wee guy he was on the day, all dressed up in his shirt and waistcoat with smiles for everyone, blowing bubbles at every opportunity, and generally reminding everyone just how cute he is.
I’ll happily concede that the day was more about bringing people together than any notion of a ceremony for Jack. We aren’t religious, this wasn’t a ‘substitute christening or baptism’, but we did want to do something for him, and hopefully he can look back on the photos and videos and get a sense of how lucky and loved he is and how that hasn’t changed as the years have gone by. We did appoint two Champions though, my sister Jennie and Becca’s brother Robbie, who promised to be there for him, and support him and help him grow in ways we can’t.
For Becca and I it was a wonderful day, bringing both our families and all our favourite people together, and the love and joy in the room was palpable. It was so nice to be able to mingle with everyone afterwards, enjoying donuts (thanks Nic’s NYC Deli) and cupcakes (thanks I Love Cupcakes) as well as the food served up by Pollok House staff. And what a glorious venue it was, even if the day was a bit dreich, it felt cosy without being small, and the staff were wonderful. Can’t wait to see the photos (we hired the wonderful Leigh at Pearl and Plum) to see all the love and laughter that filled the room.
Ohhh and Becca and I got married too, cos why not! It was a surprise for everyone, and just made the day so much happier and giddy.
Which is exactly how I feel, so very happy with my life, with my amazing son who is coming on leaps and bounds, and with the knowledge I’ve just married my best friend
What a great day.
Entry 582 of an ongoing series of posts about how minor injuries and life events continue to get in the way of carefully made plans.
Safe to say it’s been an eventful year so far, in no specific order…
At the end of January we had booked in to a hotel for a night to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement. It would also be our first night ‘away’ with Jack. We had a lovely time, the hotel was great, and all was good until we started the car next morning, only to hear a horrible crunching sound. That was 10:30am.
The tow truck eventually arrived at 4pm. Thankfully the hotel graciously allowed us back into our room for the day (there wasn’t anyone booked in it anyway) so we hung about Kenmore for the day, and with the car finally assessed (DMF failure) and towed it was Granny Morna to the rescue! She drove up to get us and got us safely home. The car is fixed now, all under warranty, but what a long day.
We’ve also had our landlord serve notice so we have to move in a few months. She was very apologetic as she knows our circumstance with Jack (she’s been a great landlord!) but she needs to move back in. So we’ve moved to Bothwell! From a maisonette in the city, to a 3 bed semi, with a garden and conservatory, a good place for Jack to grow up, maybe ever cloud does have a silver lining?! All depends on how much it’ll cost to get the garden turned into an actual garden as, at present, it’s more of an overgrown and neglected wasteland.
We also had a wee trip to A&E after Jack banged his head. He’s fine, but as the first ‘scare’ it was NOT fun for Dad who had to wait outside (thanks COVID rules) for a few hours until he could see his boy and hold him and cry over him as, lo and behold, he’s fine!
On top of all that and I’ve developed a sore foot which I think might be a nerve issue. Not a quick fix at the best of times, but with NHS still ‘behind’ thanks to COVID (not a complaint about the NHS!) it could be weeks until I get a proper consultation, looking at private options.
That said, we’ve moved in to the house, and now my mind is turning to cycling as I’ve three Sportives coming up and with next to no training in the last 6 months it’s time to get out on the roads (and up the hills!).
However the overarching positive is our son, our chunky little boy who is growing fast, and brings us smiles every single day even through the worst of the teething so far. I never knew that I could adore, love, and be so overwhelmingly consumed by fascination with anything, I am cherishing every single moment as best I can.
Life is Jack. That’s pretty much my update.
There is so much more to it than that of course, it’s a whirlwind ride of sleepless nights, smiles and giggles, nappy changing, pram walks, and those moments when he looks at me and my heart melts all over again.
We are finding a balance though, Becca getting to the gym, Jack going swimming, and I’ve started nice long walks with him on my lunch hour. Needless to say watching Jack grow (fast and big!) is amazing, his motor skills are coming along, and at almost 5 months old he’s almost sitting up and is grabbing everything in sight to cram into his mouth.
It does mean time and energy for other things is taking a back seat for now, mostly this blog, but even that will come around.
Until then we’ve got a house move to organise. Fun timing eh!
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Right. You can stop now. Stop all this growing up and going to school and becoming a young woman already. I will not stand for this nonsense!
I jest, a little, but your Aunt Becca and I were just saying the other day how sometimes we see photos of you and can’t believe how grown up you look. Of course you are a big girl now, and a smart one from what we can tell, enjoying doing Maths at school (I’m no help with that I’m afraid) and I definitely think you are enjoying being a big sister to Daisy.
It’s been quite a year hasn’t it, and it seems like no time at all since I was last sitting down to write to you for your birthday. A whole year of learning to be a sister, which I know it’s always fun for you but you’ve adapted so well and it’s clear that you care for Daisy and awful lot. You are also sprouting up again and are constantly full of intriguing questions and wanting to learn about so many things, mind you a lot of that right now is focussed on make up but that’s ok, you’ve got to figure out all the things you like and don’t like, I’m just glad I’ve not had a makeover (yet?).
I do feel a little bad that we haven’t been able to see you too much this past year, the joys of a pandemic followed by the arrival of your cousin Jack curtailed our time together but I’m keen to make up for that when I can, after all what’s the point of having a niece if I can’t spoil her now and then, right? And we’d better take time now before your wee sister starts to get involved too!
You do remind me of your Mum at this age, she had the same wide-eyed fascination and endless energy that you have and I makes me realise how lucky I am that you still want to spend time with me and even trust me enough to show me your secret diary! (sshhhh I won’t tell anyone about your boyfriend, or that his name is Sam!).
What a pleasure and privilege it is to be your Uncle, although I definitely owe you some ice cream I think, so let’s make a date!
Uncle G x
I’m still not sure how I feel about going and standing in a busy venue, next to hundreds of other people, especially given the current (re-?)rise of COVID instances but given how many gigs I had booked that got rescheduled thanks to the pandemic, it’s something I need to figure out.
I have some time to get my head around it mind you, with gigs from 2020 being rescheduled to 2022 (and one in 2023) and whilst I’ve already missed one (sorry Elbow!) there are a couple on the list below that we will NOT be missing!!
- Skunk Anansie – 26th April 2022
- Pet Shop Boys – 29th May 2022
- Crowded House – 10th June 2022
- Brass Against – 23rd June 2022
- Hella Mega Tour – 29th June 2022
- Elton John – 17th June 2023
Of course we also now have the wonderful additional complication of Jack to consider too – I can see me dragging someone else along to Skunk Anansie – but by the end of May hopefully the wee man will be able to be babysat for an evening whilst Mum & Dad go out and have some fun.
I’ve missed live music, more than I think I even realise, and I am excited to get back to the venues as long as I can shake this unsettling anxiousness that remains. Part of me thinks I’m worrying too much, part of me thinks I should just cancel the lot of them and sell the tickets because I just don’t trust ‘people’ enough to feel safe. That said, many people I trust are back out at gigs, although the pervasive notion seems to be “double jabbed is good enough and sure I might get COVID but I won’t die so what’s the harm?” which doesn’t really set my mind at ease.
Equally I have a family to think about and, as a contractor, if I don’t work I don’t get paid and whilst we have a small buffer in place I find I’m more cautious these days about such things; sidebar to being out on my bike and almost having a very bad incident which was entirely down to my own folly, to which end I am now much more careful on descents and corners lest I end up skidding into another turning on the wrong side of the road and thanking a deity that there aren’t any cars there.
I know these fears and worries will fade, just as I know that as time goes by I find myself yearning to get back out into gig land. I know too that by the time these gigs roll around I’ll feel a lot more comfortable within myself about being out and about amongst the masses, as we unite at the alter of live music. Oh Happy Day!
In fact I know I’ve turned a corner in my thinking because I’m already keeping an eye out for other gigs, although I’m going to need to be pretty picky given the additional logistics to consider. And even if I don’t pick up any other tickets that still leaves Skunk Anansie as a ‘first gig’ back which might just be perfect; it’ll be rammed, hot, busy, and LOUD. Just the thing to finally shake off my COVID fears and get me back out into the world.