Sunday Column (201)

Happy New Year.

New traditions: curry night on the 31st which resulted in me ordering my first ever Vindaloo. Fantastic….but I didn’t finish the sauce 🙂 Then the following:

It happened. After years of thinking about it and living in a big city, we finally joined the National Trust. We got the car sticker and feel really mature. We have four venues close by and visited one on the 1st of January for a New Year’s walk (tradition again). Wakehurst (www.kew.org) which offers a fantastic scenery to walk your heart out. For our small family after being stuck inside with bad rain, this was a fantastic change in the winter sun. Three knackered boys and a tired wife 🙂

20130101-200001.jpg

New Year Resolutions? No 🙂 I don’t really make any resolutions. Drink less, join a club, use my energy, keep exercising, be a good dad and husband and continue doing well in my job. Enough for me. Nothing specific to be honest. A few things I want to do, achieve and so on, but with the move this year, knowing it is going to be for 30 odd years, I am glad if I settle in, find a routine and get on with it. Go with the flow. Everything else can be done in 2014 😉

I had two weeks off. Yes, the first week I was checking emails, sorted some requests but it wasn’t a full day in the office. The second week, e.g. after New Year, I took off completely. That means for me to turn my work phone off (I hate having two phones but on those occasions it is unbeatable), and not checking any mails. A week with no work disturbance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not too bothered seeing emails or staying on top of things, it is more the factor to make clear to colleagues “I am off, leave me alone”. If you don’t send that signal and you are available all the time people expect you to be. And to be honest, I am not irreplaceable, am I? Maybe I should be? Never mind.

Now, the best experience over my holidays is simple: the boys. I enjoyed them cuddling in bed in the morning, sitting with them for three meals a day, watching TV, playing train tracks (less popular these days), going for walks, soft play, building castles, having chats, comforting them, telling them off.

20130102-084424.jpg

I like to think I am blessed having two healthy boys at a great age. Whilst I cannot wait for R to be a year older and not needing a pram and nappies anymore, I don’t want to miss this “two year old” stage he is in. He just runs off, tries to grab attention, being stroppy, waking us up at night (less often though), and being a little “Quälgeist”, German for “ghost/spirit that annoys and pesters you”. A lovely little fella though and I love him to bits. He develops his own, very strong character, without me really noticing. His language is better developed than Colin’s at the time but he is less fore coming, more coy but cheeky at the same time. We shall see how he will be like in a few months.

Colin is a typical three year old, coming up to four years next summer. Trying to help mummy and daddy, educating Rohan and being the big brother. Very well behaved, or shall I say he knows when he oversteps boundaries. We still have to tell him off, but that’s quite normal. I love his statements like “not yet Daddy, 5 minutes” as if he had any sense of time. Or when we went for a walk and my wife had his frog (comfort blanket) coming down a steep hill, I said to C “should we just leave mummy up there”, he looked at me and said “my froggy”, he really got his priorities right 😉 He seems to understand German, speaks little and he slowly gets into that “why” stage and you can explain to him what’s going on in the environment. He wants to understand or learn what certain noises or things are. A great age.

I enjoyed the time off with the boys. Soon I am back at work and they are going to school and daddy time will be limited to the weekends. No point beating myself up about it, that is just the way things are and to make up for it, I need to be 110% there at the weekend. My dad was a teacher and home after lunch, so was my wife’s. So we both grew up having both parents around in the afternoon. I really had to work from home or locally but then I couldn’t do what I do now, and I wouldn’t want to miss that in the world. Probably a philosophical question, but whilst of course family and kids are more important than a career and self fulfilment, there is this bit in me that is very career oriented and likes to work (ever watched “Up in the air”?), enjoy moving up the career ladder. The best of both worlds is just not always possible but we are trying to make best possible arrangements.

I guess that sums up a great break. We met up with friends, had lots of fun and enjoyed quality time. The next long weekend is not too far away, then there is Easter, summer holidays, and before we know it, it is Christmas again….time flies.

Have a great 2013. A good start unless you were back to work this week. We looking forward getting our routine back and I look forward going back to work tomorrow.

Best wishes,
Volker