Posts Tagged colin

Sunday Column (275)

This week started with more unpleasant commute stories. Maybe it is that I never had as many problems in Germany when I was travelling by train, or because a lot is happening on my commuter line at the moment. Whilst I remember sitting on luggage racks or in the bar in the German ICE trains coming home Friday nights from the Navy or University, and I was a lot younger minding paying less, I now pay over 4.5K for an appalling service per year.

On top of busy, overcrowded and slow trains, we live in a part where it seems too common to have, accidental or purposeful, human casualties on the tracks. With only one track going either way, trains piling up between Gatwick and Brighton, or before that if the casualties where higher up the line, and it disrupts traffic a lot. Whilst I discussed the issue recently, I am still astonished about the lack of action. I understand there aren’t 200 buses and drivers on stand by for scenarios like that, yet why not build an emergency train line or at least train staff to keep you informed. Lack of information, standing in the rain and relying on Twitter updates whilst your phone is dying is just not helping any emergency situation.

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This is the same when flying and or traffic yams. Any lack of information makes any situation worse. I had more bad journeys that week. Due to various appointments I took trains that are jammed pack from Hassocks, and one was short formed, again resulting in standing only. Luckily I managed to get a seat half way through.

Enough about the commute I guess. I can’t really not complain about it. For the amount of money you pay you get a shit service. I spoke to so many people that started working from home for themselves just to avoid the commute. Is that the answer? I am thinking more along the lines of off peak travel, working early, leaving early. But that doesn’t always work. We soldier on.

On to more positive things.

The most amazing thing this week was my son’s 5th birthday. Looking back to where we were five years ago, awaiting our first child, not knowing what we got into. Sleepless nights, sleep training, potty training, smart answers, “iPad therapy”, first feeds, first solid food, driving around the block to get him to sleep, crying when you see him cycling without stabilisers for the first time, and I could go on. We just bought our first house, settling down, newly married, the whole life seemed in front of us. What did we know?

Having children is probably the greatest gift someone can receive. The joys are unexplainable, the inner love you feel that keeps you going day and night. As most dads I was struggling with the first 2.5 years of any of my children. The lack of interaction and communication. Yet over the past years things have changed massively. A day without playing Lego or cuddle from either of my boys seems like a lost day.

With work commitments and being someone enjoying to work, it is a fine balance and I slowly find that I can really commit the weekends to spend time with my two boys, enjoying every minute of it. Making up for lost time. Although video conferencing helps to stay in touch during travels, and really, I am not gone that often.

If I am trying to think of highlights over the past five years, I couldn’t even say. Most recently Legoland of course, the smart outburst explaining the universe or how a certain Lego piece works, defending the baddies. The shoe box that turns into a space ship. The cuddles when he is ill (or not), caring for him and sitting next to his bed, realising how much responsibility one has. You feel humbled being able to give so much back to another human being.

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Those moments when they just go crazy, crying for joy, playing and chasing each other, jumping on daddy. And of course when they throw tantrums, being naughty and you send them upstairs to their room to calm down. I love my two sons, the responsibility and building Lego. This seems like the main focus for me at the moment, this is the thing to live for.

I sometimes fast forward and think what it could be like, when they are 13/14 and have their first girl friend. But that’s not important now, I would rather stop the time and enjoy more if the now.

Happy Birthday Colin!

Have a great one,
Volker

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Buddhist Thought: Peace of Mind

Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.
Buddha

When you get presents then do not overrate the material gift.
Be thankful for what you receive.

Do not compare those to whoever else got presents. Don’t envy others.

Those who envy others won’t find peace as they will always find someone who will have more and better presents.

Happy Birthday Colin.

Your birthday is not about material presents as you are a gift in itself.

One day you will understand my son!

I love you,
Daddy.

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Dreaming boy – life as it is

Last night our oldest, 2 year old, woke up. It wasn’t yet 11 pm when he did, e.g. had about 3 hours sleep. You heard him kicking just before it kicked off, then he started crying. Sobbing at first, then slowly getting louder.

I was laying in bed, about to go to sleep. I was paralysed not knowing whether I should go in and speak to him or whether he might go back to sleep. My wife got him up and comforted him.

It took us almost an hour for Colin to go back to sleep.

I wonder if that was his first nightmare. Whether he realised it was a dream. Whether or not he will remember what he dreamed about. He was so upset, nothing could calm him down. No biscuit, no cuddles. Eventually, being over-tired, he fell asleep in our bed and could be safely transferred back into his own.

Surely, a lot of parents reading this will say “this is normal”. This is life. Of course it is. What I am wondering about is how much we will remember of this situation or any other. How much will we remember of those exciting, for Colin so life changing, moments.

My parents surprised me the other day that they didn’t remember me playing Basketball. I played Basketball for many years, it was a very important time in my life, and it still plays a major part in my life that I tried to be a good basketball player. I even sometimes regret that I never picked it up again after I stopped playing when I was 15.

I am afraid. Somehow I am afraid that when I am 50 or 60 years old, that I won’t remember Colin’s first nightmare, or whether he was an easy or difficult child. You live through so many new events and experiences that you only remember the important ones. You need to blend out the less important ones and need to forget about the less important ones. I think that is normal.

However, I believe you start losing memories of some precious moments, some important moments that only happened then, now. And they will never happen again.

That is life for you. It is that simple.

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Frog pizza

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Sunday Column (119)

It was Colin’s second birthday this weekend, and for that reason Oma und Opa came from Germany and granny and Robert from Scotland. A big family feast.

Colin had a great time. He got a rugby ball, a basket ball, a tent to play with and new additions to his train set. His dad, e.g. myself, and his granddad managed to clean the patio front and back, paint the garden fence and get the garden furniture in order. I also washed and polished the beast. A true family weekend. Bless. I was also off work Friday and Monday which made things a lot easier, only spending a few hours sorting things.

But all those developments made me think. How was it when I was young? Why did the now 70 year old kindergarden supervisor that my parents met randomly on a trip to Rome remember me. She said “yes, Volker, the child that couldn’t separate from his parents, I couldn’t help him”. It got stuck in her mind. There was this boy she couldn’t help as he cried when being separated from his mum. And now, after all those years she finds out that actually I am going to be ok. Or am I? Only now she seems to find “closure”.

What I am trying to say is that things stick in your mind. I remember sitting next to my friend “Astrid” on a bench in my parents’ home. I was two. I don’t remember much else until I was three but I do remember sitting next to her. I have seen pictures but still remember it was her and I was looking at her from an angle differently to the one in the picture, e.g. it must have been a real experience. And this experience stuck in my mind, and there are others which took years for me to find closure with – if that is a good way of describing it?

Now I am a dad. I have the responsibility to have only good experiences for Colin and Rohan. I am in charge. How do I avoid them remembering things that might be bad? Things that influence them later in life? How can I avoid this feeling of the kindergarten person that “I cannot help”? How can I avoid them having to find closure with experiences they had when they were young?

Maybe I am paranoid. But I guess us parents are when we don’t have all the answers. Maybe I am just worried. Maybe I just want to have all the answers for my boys? Maybe I am just trying to be a good dad. Maybe I am just trying too hard. Maybe I think that even small bad experiences have a high impact whilst they really don’t?

Bottom line: I don’t know. All those stories are handed down from generation to generation. Some true, some are not, and some become more heroic over time. And for a split second I was forwarding myself by 40 years to when I am sitting there with my boys, them having family and I am the granddad.

And I would be telling them about what they did when they were two years old. I would be thinking back to today. And I’d speak of all those things that are still to come too, like kindergarten, school, sports, travel, puberty, first girlfriend, uni, graduation etc……

There is so much that lies ahead of us. So many more memories to collect. But at the end of the day it is this very moment, this moment in time we have to cherish and enjoy. The stories live on and can be amended.

But what really counts, is the love and the attention that you give to your kids this very moment. Only this very moment is real. Only this very moment can be cherished. Everything else is gone or a “future possible”. But it is the here and now you can change, cherish and enjoy.

I had a fantastic weekend. Not only with my boys, but with my wife, my parents and my in-laws. It was a true family weekend. Annoying, lovely, tense, and great. All facets of life played back to you within a very short period of time. I hate it, and I love it. It was a good weekend.

Now that is it I believe. Much more simple than it sounds.
But I am trying. Once again, I am trying. Because I want to look back to a good time. I want to look back to a time we enjoyed, and where we cherished every moment. Because we could and because we wanted.

And it is great. Life is fantastic!

I love being a dad. I love being part of (a) family (ies). I truly do.
Volker

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Saturday Night

So what were you doing Saturday night?

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Two

Two – two years since you were born Colin. I remember as if it was yesterday. I just got made redundant from my job, was interviewing for the next opportunity and we were in the middle of a recession. Yes, I could have stayed where I was and moved away from London, but that wouldn’t have been an option, particularly with you on your way.

Two – there were only two of us before you arrived. Your mother and me. A two bedroom house, two cats, a more or less two seater car, and “two” many evenings out in town. And you, Colin, didn’t want to make an appearance.

Your mother got induced, and I remember holding you in my arms for the first time. “Why is he not crying” I asked the midwife. “First baby?” she replied, adding that I shouldn’t worry, you would be crying more than I had ever imagined. I couldn’t tell you how right she was.

Your arrival changed my life, it changed our life. The sleepless nights at the beginning, the different bottle feeds, the weaning, and you growing up. Just last weekend I watched some videos from you being 6 and 8 months old, and you had changed so much. And you have changed so much since.

You babies grow up far too fast. I was paralysed, almost to the extend that I didn’t want to bath you. I didn’t want to make a mistake. I was afraid and curious at the same time. I didn’t have the bonding your mother had, any mother has to her newborn.

You changed the way we think. We started to think about the future, we got more considerate towards others, and you became the focal point in our life. You became what we started living for, and with.

Colin, it has only been two years. Two of hopefully many more. I keep joking that you will leave the house when I am 54. But I don’t mean it like that. I believe that time will pass much quicker than I would ever imagine. And, I have so many plans.

Apologies if I am struggling to find new ideas for us to do things at the weekend. Swimming, train rides, walks and playing in the garden seems to be the standard. But soon you will speak and we can go for walks and have chats. We can speak about life and what you can expect.

I cannot wait to show you my world, for you to discover your world, and for you to understand life. What is important in life, and what is obsolete. So you find your own way, your own life, your own priorities and make the best of the given time you have here on earth.

You are a fighter. You are a strong boy with lots of energy. Of course I’d love to see you playing rugby, going to university and get a good job. But maybe that is not what your plans are. Maybe life has completely other plans for both of us.

So let’s see what the next two hours bring, the next two days, weeks or months. Our holiday, time we can spend together.

I love you Colin. And the last two years have passed so fast, that I’d like to turn back time sometimes just to pick a few moments we spend together and re-live them.

Happy Birthday,
Your dad.

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Sunday Column (115)

Now this was, you might have guessed, another wild and quick week. Looking back on what has happened this week I can say that I grew from both a personal but also from a professional point of view. That means life is good, I am progressing 🙂time.jpg

Colin, for the first time, used a potty this week. He is growing up so quickly. His vocabulary is growing by a word a day. My wife says that other kids his age come up with the same words, e.g. “nee-naa” for fire engine, as this is the sound they hear and associate it with. Fascinating. His favourite word is “outside” as he cannot wait to get outside the moment he wakes up in the morning. Guess we just live in the right country for that 🙁 The sandpit finally arrived on Monday and I was keen on playing with him in it this weekend. Despite the unsteady weather we went for a fantastic walk, played in the sandpit for a while, and went to the swimming pool.

As of my post the other day about food and life (or life and intention and food), I am working hard on my personal development and improvement of my energy levels. I have the feeling that I make a lot of progress given the little time and sleep (regeneration) I have at the moment. Hence my progress seems to accelerate all the time with my regeneration and hours of sleep improving. Does that make sense?

St-Pauls-Cathedral.jpgOn that note, Rohan started to slowly but surely move himself using his arms. He just turned 3 months! A strong boy, less weight than Colin though at his age. So it looks like we are blessed with another energy bundle but quieter, lol. He is great. For a baby I really enjoy having chats with him, e.g. when Colin was that age I didn’t really know what to do. One grows up so much oneself by having children, hence I started the new column “precious moments“.

I guess those were the highlights of the week. Our solicitors threw a party in the Shakespeare theathre opposite St. Paul’s cathedral. Nice to say the least.

Our friends from Essex visited on Sunday and little Katie & Colin had a great laugh. It is great to watch your children engaging with other kids the same age. A lot of fun. At the aforementioned party I ran into two mums and we ended up discussing babies and kiddies all night. Life has definitely changed 🙂 I am getting old, lol.

I hope you have a great week yourself and things are good for you whereever you are. For the future I’ll try to post more often, to share a lot more insights about personal development and progress from an energy point of view. And of course the life of a family man.

Keep looking. The answer is out there.

Cheers,
Volker

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Sunday Column (114)

May started out nicely. A few things happening really. We chilled on the bank holiday Monday, knowing that I had to go back to a full week on. Little idea did I have.

Also, Osama Bin Laden got killed, and the news broke on twitter, see here for a great visualisation of how the news spread on twitter. Social Media rules once again 🙂

I believe it was the first time in many years that I went out every night of the week. 4 nights in a row. Tuesday I had diner and a few beers with our German analyst who was over visiting, then on Wednesday a great diner with a good friend, and on Thursday one of our suppliers invited me to their “influencer diner”. So work was full on, despite the average 9 hours during the day, making a lot of decisions, analysing a lot and making plans for the future. It was a fantastic week at mexad, and very productive. Onwards and Upwards.

On Friday my night was solely social, e.g. after a few beers with one of my staff, I joined my wife at a birthday party in the Tate Modern. Drinking champagne, watching the boats go by on the Thames and looking at St. Pauls at night was a great wind down to the weekend. Another one of those “London is awesome” moments.

I could only do all that because my Mother in Law has been in Beckenham. She is staying to see the grand kids, and she is fully involved. As she is now retired, we can tire her out whilst babysitting, then she can rest for a few weeks at home before she comes back again 😉 Great to have her around, although I hardly saw her all week.

On Saturday my wife and MIL went to town for some high tea and shopping. Bending plastic 😉 I think they had a great time. I myself watched the boys having a fantastic time. It shows me how much work it is, and how little other things than having to look after the 2 you can do. Having had time to sit down for 10 minutes was good. I have a lot of respect for any home stay mum, and it just reassures me that I wouldn’t have kids if that was me 😉 A thank you to my wife! I think she does a great job.

However, once in a while it is fantastic me having all day with the boys, playing with trains, then going to the garden, or just being silly. I can do that too 😉 We now need them to grow up so we can play basketball together.

Saturday finished with a nice diner in local Beckenham, a few drinkies, and an early night e.g. before midnight: just. And Sunday was chilling in the garden, sleeping in, bacon sandwiches, Homebase….and just making sure life is nicely ticking over.

Have a good week!
Volker

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Sunday Column (110)

Now first things first. I got myself another toy which I am using just now. Since I got a bit fed up with carrying my work laptop, I thought of a solution to have a device that can do almost everything my work laptop could do, and is not as big as my wife’s 17inch. So I got myself a netbook. Still being a big fan of physical keyboards and looking to have a machine that can work mainly in the clouds, I got myself the Samsung N145 which I might upgrade to 2 GB RAM but other than that it is a nifty little thing.

Of course I need to get used to the screen size, the small keyboard and that I cannot personalise anything on Windows Starter without using some tricks, but overall a nice little companion. With stunning up to 8 hours battery life I am confident I will love it. I got it Friday night, special delivery and have done quite a bit with it. Easier than starting up the laptop or sharing with my wife 😉

Other than that my week was dominated by our office move. mexad moved to 33 Newman Street, London. It was a difficult and exhausting two days. However, the weather helped to unwind in the pubs after work. Only drawback is that BT still hasn’t been able to activate our internet. Ridiculous, I must say.

Summer seems to be all around us. Colin loves to be in the garden, plays with the slide, a tunnel and his toys. We had to get him some summer cloths and he looks so cute in them. He really enjoys himself. To the extend that he also attempted to climb on my chest of drawers in the bed room, getting it to fall over including the 22 inch TV on top. Not a good idea. Luckily he didn’t get hurt but it was close. So the weekend was all about to “super childproof” our house.

Not much else has been happening. We wanted to visit our good friends and Colin’s god father Krupesh and his family in Winchester on Sunday. However, due to a really bad nappy rash Colin got on Saturday, we weren’t able to go. We had planned it for a long time and were really looking forward to it. Not nice to cancel but part of the game.

So we conclude a full on weekend and looking forward to a new week of work in a new office. Things are moving in the right direction. I at least like to think so!

Have a good one,
Volker

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