Eight years ago, a fresh-faced single young man headed off to Word Alive in its final Skegness installment.
He came back head over heels in love with a lovely young lady and they got married three years later.
Well, not quite, but as we are heading back to the Word Alive conference (in its home in North Wales) on Thursday, I was really excited to reflect on how Jess and I got together back then in 2007 and also on how special a week Word Alive is.
Tez Brooks’ The Single Dad Detour follows the epic and yet all-too-common journey of a father working hard to look after his children in the context of a broken relationship. His struggles are viewed through the lenses of his strong Christian faith which has given him handy signposts to help him along the way.
Through this book, his desire is to offer a practical and biblical perspective on fatherhood, not as a stringent instruction manual but more as a framework for evaluating and changing aspects in our own parenting.
And, even though my situation is different to his, I still found it immensely helpful.
Our original plan for Sophie wasn’t nursery.
In fact, if I’m perfectly honest, I really wasn’t up for it at all. I was worried that it was schooling her too soon (in terms of development targets, Ofsted and all the rest) and I wanted her to go to a childminder in order to almost have a surrogate family.
When we were faced with nursery as the best and really only option, I initially struggled to cope with it. Dropping her off two weeks ago for her first full day in nursery, I was just about ready but incredibly nervous.
Where would you find a baby alpaca called Dennis, an overpregnant cow called Louise and three mischievous little rodents racing up and down?
I’m not talking about a sequel to the horrendous Alvin and the Chipmunks – on a farm of course! And our trip to Smithills Open Farm recently with Sophie was such a great experience.
Alpacas and llamas are such cool animals!
Being off for six weeks is apparently not unusual for teachers.
In fact, if some rhetoric was to be believed, we have half the year off on paid leave, work from 9-3 every day and are simply the biggest slackers going.
Not that I’m entering into that debate.
However, after handing my class over to someone else for six weeks and literally detaching completely from work, it has been very strange going back into school this week.
I’m only just recovering…
Last week was Sophie’s first birthday and so we engaged in a whole host of activities to celebrate with her.
Before our family came over on on Saturday, we wanted to do something with the local parents and children who’d been so important during Sophie’s first year of life.
Which, naturally, meant transforming our house into a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, buckling in for the ride and hanging on for dear life!
As the clock ticked towards 3.20pm on Friday and the storm clouds started to gather, it struck me that my 6 weeks of paternity leave and “full-time Daddy” work was over.
It had been 42 days since I’d walked out of school to become a stay-at-home Dad and I have absolutely loved (almost) every moment of it.
However, now it’s back to reality and normality as I will be heading into work on Monday to carry on the life I pressed pause on six weeks ago.
It’s worth reflecting then on the leave period I’ve experienced. Was it what I expected? Do I feel as satisfied with how I’ve used it as to how excited I was as I began it? What next for my relationship with Sophie?
The public have spoken…
The votes have been counted…
The results are in…
Who will be crowned as the best baby song 2015? Read on to find out!
At 5pm Monday 10 March 2014, I was getting ready to attend an antenatal class before going out for one final “posh” meal with my wife as a couple.
Our unborn child wasn’t due for another two weeks so we had plenty of time, particularly as first children very rarely come early – as a really good friend of ours can attest after her patience was stretched to the maximum, waiting for hers to arrive!
In theory, we therefore had plenty of time then to visit Rio Ferdinand’s restaurant in town, see the singer who sang at our wedding performing and generally have a memorable evening together.
And then, just after I got back from school, my wife tentatively announced; “I think my waters have broken…” and everything changed.
Just as well I’d come home from work actually. Initially I was going to meet her at the antenatal class and she was going to get the bus…that could have been awkward!
On the eve of Sophie’s 1st birthday, this is the very first blog post I wrote about our life with her.
I don’t know if anyone else has experienced these types of feelings when they first met their brand new child – looking back I totally stand by them, even though they seem counter-intuitive and have been utterly overtaken and swamped ever since!
Read on for more.