Nostalgia on a Monday afternoon

I’m pushing fourty which means I’ve been around for at least a little bit. I’ve made some discoveries along the way.

For me, my life is so split into different chapters I can hardly look at old photos of myself and realize it is me I am looking at. This is hard to grasp. And I guess this drastic change between 2016 and 2018 have left a harder mark than I expected. I am still struggling understand it, and in this process I keep having a bit of an identity crisis. Who am I really? What is left from before? What is left of me from 2009? From 2005? From 1999? Why is it so different? I was on the same path until 2016. There were massive changes along the way, but they didn’t feel like this. I am for dear life holding onto what defines me as a person – whatever that can be. And so I get nostalgic and look at old photos of me and remember what it was like. I look at the books I have written and I can hardly understand that I did that – those are my books and my work. It almost feels like it was someone else doing all that writing. It is so far away from what I am now, and have the time for. Did I do all that? Really? I don’t really get it. Now I can hardly sit in front of a computer before I’m being bothered. I guess it’s not all bad. I know I can’t go on like I did with this new situation. It is what I wanted after all.

But yet I guess I wish it wasn’t so brutal. Everything taken away from me so brutally and so unexpectedly. I don’t really consider this place for MY house. Not when she, tired and sleepy, says the house will always be more hers than mine. Not when she still asks her ex boyfriend about technical computer stuff when I have spent a week figuring it out and giving her a good explenation. I don’t know why she does that.

If I tell her all this, all of how I feel some times she will go on the defensive and say something like “I expected you to be ready for a daughter” but you know what – it’s not about her at all. Not at all.

And so I go through old videos and photos and I look at me – this stranger – smiling or doing something with the camera. There’s me with my long hair in 2010, there’s me all skinny and naive in 2001. There’s me with my dogs in 2014 and there’s me where I want to be before anything else, an airshow in England. That’s all me and I can’t understand it is actually what it is; ME. It feels like a crime watching someone elses life. That guy died sometime in 2016 or 2017 and never really returned. Someone else stepped into his mind and body and controls it now. That guy is gone. He is no more. It’s like I’m intruding on myself and my former life looking at it and digging into it.

It should have gone away by now shouldn’t it. A few songs still gives me the absolute creeps listening to. I still miss my old house. I miss my dogs and I miss my computer. I miss so much.

But, I was prepared to sacrifice, and that I did. I did that for you Emma, and never worry about it. I was stubborn as hell. That’s why you are here. It’s all me. I did that. I was stubborn. I did not give up. I rode that bull until the end. My stubborness and my willing to NEVER give up is the reason you are here. I saved you before you were even born, But all this about me is not your fault. I got nothing to do with you. I see that clearly. I had to so drastically change things and in such a short time that I was bound to loose most of myself on the way. It’s just really weird. I have to come to know this new person now – me – and when I don’t know myself any more it is hard.

And so I look back to my old self to try and remember me, and pick up a few pieces of myself that I have dropped along the way. They are still lying around. I just need to find them.

 

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Paternity leave for men – the story so far

In my country, men get 3 months off work with 80% pay. Roughly. Rather good eh? So the state pays me to be with my one year old daughter. It’s a once in a lifetime thing for me. I have worked since I was 18 – except for one year where I focused on being a student only. It’s a whole new ballgame for me. I can easily understand why people want to stay at home and do little – because that way you create something out of nothing and you keep yourself busy. Well, that’s another story.

I am halfway into my paternity leave now, and it’s been more than interesting.

It started off fine, but after one week I started to develop allergies. I have always been allergic, but I have barely noticed the past years and this was off season. It caught me off guard totally, and it didn’t really help that my girlfriend thought I only had a cold. On top of that I got some kind of virus on my lungs, so I have been breathing in asthma medication like never before. To finish off my health first, I continued to cough and feel shabby until like a week ago. By then I had seen my doctor several times and gotten new prescriptions for more allergy medications. Something happened to my allergies one week into my leave, and I am now taking allergy meds every day alongside the odd inhaler (I did lots more a month ago, believe me). And you know what, my throat is sore again now. I was barely back to my old self and now I get another cold. I will go through this entire duration of my leave halfways sick. My lungs still hurt from coughing so much from that goddamn virus.

My father nearly died. In September they discovered a tumor on one of his kidneys. They decided to take away all of the kidney, and into surgery he went a week ago. He was unlucky, and the tumor had grown onto his colon. The first surgery was botched. When they took out the kidney they ruptured his colon in the process without knowing. Back from surgery, he was rather quickly poisoned by intake of food and water. A very serious condition which needs immediate surgery. My mom was called up by a surgeon informing her of what went down. I called her in the middle of all of this without knowing the state of affairs, and she told me. She was extremely upset. I immediately walked outside for some fresh air. Walking alongside the small river, I stopped somewhere and cried before I walked onwards and collected a few ordered bottles of beer from the mall. My father survived the second surgery, but is now in a very sorry state. I don’t know how close he was to dying, but I have a feeling it was too close. I talked to him today and offered him a few magazines to read. He said he was so tired he had no interest in it. When my brother and cousing visited yesterday, he nodded off when they were there. I saw him on Saturday, and it shocked me how much he looked like his mother from when she was ill during her last years. He wasn’t really the man and dad I used to know any longer – not in that condition. I can only hope he will be fully back to his own self within a month or more.

My mother in law came home to her house on Monday to find it had been turned upside down by a burglar. She was of course scared shitless, and this didn’t do much to help her already massive anxiety. I went straigh on the case, made phone calls, talked to the police, called her security alarm company and so on. Her veranda door lock has been broken for years, and she haven’t used her alarm in years either. Well, being that sloppy with your affairs came back to bite her massively. I mean, no one deserves a burglar, but when you can’t even bother to fix the lock on a veranda door…

Anyway, nothing was stolen. While I don’t know who did it just yet, he had turned the bedrooms upside down taking all her clothes out and so on. He also had a knack for underwear and had collected several of those into a pile in the bathroom. It couldn’t have been worse. It would have been better if it was just some silly Eastern European robbers making their rounds. I went online and managed to track down a drugged out guy visiting several houses on his way south during the night. He had also been caught on tape. It’s more than likely this is the guy who broke in – sorry – walked in the veranda door and screwed the bedrooms up royally. The idiot left his cell phone in the house though, so if the police actually manages to lift a finger we will know soon enough. All of this detective work thanks to me. My mother in law is still sleeping here – a week after the incident and even after 99% knowing for sure who did it – a random drug addict. She have barely started to tidy up. God knows how long this will take. My God what a nightmare. In the middle of all this there’s me, screaming on the inside for some privacy. Just an hour ago I found myself just staying in the bathroom a few minutes longer than I had to, just to feel the quietness. Tomorrow I’m going to my mom, I’m taking Emma with me so she can be with my mom and I will just lay on her sofa. That’s what I will do alright.

This has been some paternity leave you know. I had no clue it was this bad to stay home. I want to go back to work almost, maybe all of this other shit will stop happening that way.

I’m tired. My throat is sore, my mother in law is in the living room watching TV, and I want to go to bed.

Please help?

Someone?

I miss my old house

Sometimes I watch old videos on my cell phone. Videos of my dogs, in my old house, barking or playing around. Other times just recordings I did with my GoPro when it was new. Other times, when I briefly stop by in person, I glance around and I see all those things that once were mine and the work I did on it.

Just outside the door there’s a patch of gras. How I worked to make sure the gras would grow there. It grows really nice now, I can see that. Behind that small patch of gras, there’s at least two rowanberry trees. I remember those well. They have grown so much! It was my mother who suggested I could plant them because apperantly they are useful for something. I remember walking into the forest to find some of them. I dug them up, took them with me and planted them by our house. They are still there, growing. Not all of them, but a few.

On the other side of the house there’s my redcurrant bush I managed to plant there. There’s also the (now) large bush of blackcurrant I planted. The then small plant have grown considerably since then.

Some of what I did has not fared so well because of my ex-wife non-ability to take care of it. Like the flowers by the veranda. They are not really there anymore. Weeds are growing in the driveway like no other, again because she can’t take care of anything properly.

Why am I writing this?

I miss my house sometimes. It’s like I just left it behind. It’s still there, just growing freely and wildly. It’s like there’s no one there any more. The house and the garden is just there continuing on without me. It is a peculiar feeling, and a somber feeling. There’s nostalgia connected to it as well. Sometimes that was so firmly rooted as mine. My project. Something that I was fully in charge over, and could do whatever I wanted with. At my own pace and my own terms.

There’s another way of doing things now. More chefs. More trouble. More difficult. Like the room that is intended for my daughter. I want to start fixing it. Sure, I’ll even paint it even if I think it’s a complete waste of time. Inside this room there’s a huge IKEA bed. I figured that if I was to start painting anything in that small room I had to dismantle that bed no one ever used except me for a couple of months. And so I started. Well, I grabbed a tool to dismantle it with. Then my father-in-law came and suggested I should just leave it for now, but he made it clear it was up to me. Then my girlfriend came and said the same thing. Why not keep it and paint anyway?

No! I don’t want it there when I paint. I had a plan, and now it’s all confusing and I lost all inspiration doing it. And so I put the tool back in its box. I haven’t touched it since. I just don’t understand why things can be done easier. I guess I was really spoiled when I was the sole master of my own house. My ex-wife didn’t really care. She was a city girl. Gardens were unheard of in her vocabulary. I was in charge.

And so when these things happen I just miss my house and my own pace, projects. I miss my blackcurrant bush, the gras I spent hours making to look nice. The redcurrant, my tulips in the now wilderness of a past flowerbed. I have been making a few things here too, notably weeding out a large area behind the house with my mom. Here, I simply have a feeling I am doing it for my girlfriend and not for us. There’s no ownership from my side to it. Neither paper-wise or feelings. My feel of ownership is back at my old house. I guess I still feel that it is my home and my real house. Because it was my mine. When my girlfriend are tired from four night shifts, she says the most rude things like “this house is mostly mine and will always be mine” or “you came here to a set table”. Like I am the one being spoilt and having it all easy. It’s the other way around. She doesn’t know what it’s like to leave a home for a new one. All the things you leave behind. Stuff you can’t bring. Like the room itself, a plant or a bush. Even emotions and feelings of ownership. It’s all there. The feeling you have when you simply give it all away to someone else. It’s yours now, all of this. I have no ownership any longer.

I miss my house, and it’s been three years now. No one will understand this. Not my ex-wife and not my girlfriend. No one. Just me.

Happy birthday my lovely daughter

This is an updates version of this post https://severeddreams.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/1379/

Dear Emma

You never existed, up until that moment when you did. You were born. One year ago today. At first, uou existed as a zygote, splitting into four, five or six parts. And then you continually developed like crazy inside your mothers womb.

I often found myself picturing what you would look like, what we would be doing together when you were growing up, how happy my mom would be when I told her about you, and what you would be doing with your life. I imagined our relationship. Me as a father and you as my daughter. And you know what, its just like that. I told my mom you were on the way, and she was so happy. You are only one year, so I don’t know that much about you yet, but when you wake up in the middle of the night that’s alright with me. It doesn’t matter. I’m not mad.

In the end it turned out that you would be one of the endless mix of cells that struck luck and was born. Life is a lottery, and you won big. Very few do. Most of us will never be born at all.  The odds are so low that it was you that ended up being born that is truly astronomical to think about. You are so lucky you don’t even know it. I am so lucky that I have a hard time grasping it.

You know what’s also funny? I had no idea it was you. I didn’t know that you would look like this and that you would stretch your arms out trying to make it look like you are very tall. I didn’t know you would laugh like you do, or that you would give your teddy bears massive cuddle. I didn’t know that you would cry when your grandmother would leave, and I didn’t know you would have such blonde hair. All surprises, all so much fun.

I used to miss you a lot. I used to imagine you being there with me. At times it was so real I could almost feel you brushing my shoulder. I once sat down watching TV when the sensation of you standing beside me was so real it was one of the heaviest and most heartfelt things I’ve ever experienced. I cried that time. Because I missed you. But I know I imagined it. It wasn’t real. I was in a depression back then. And now you are here. I don’t miss you any more. Sometimes I miss a different version of you, something that never came to be. But you are here now, and I can spend my days with you as I would like.

I guess I have come to understand and respect why some can go mentally insane and start visualizing invisible children, animals or even dead parents. There’s an instinct in a humans mind. It is a hidden wish and desire that sometimes gets fullfilled, and other times do not. Some, of course, do not have it. But I think we all got it somewhere, deep inside.

And that is you, and this is me. I am alive. And you were born. You got this one in a  million chance. The more you grow, the more you mean to me. I protect you and care for you in any way I can. You will most likely be the only daughter I have, and I will spend my days with you.

You. My daughter.

The one that was born and lives a life as a one year old baby girl.

Happy birthday the love of my life.

I just wanted to bake a cake for my daughter

She asked me what I thought about it, so I answered honestly. It is always the right thing to be honest, no?

Well.

The first birthday for a little girl is a very special day. A defining moment. A baby have managed to survive being born, manage herself through those first twelve months of being alive. It calls for celebrations.

However, in this family (not mine, the other side of the family) things are sometimes done in the best intentions but creates confusion and arguing. But, hey, maybe I am wrong about all of this? What do you guys think;

A few weeks ago I was told by my girlfriend that her stepmother had offered to host our girls first birthday party. It would take place in their house, and my mom and dad plus my brother and sister would also be invited. Only if we wanted to, the stepmother said. My girlfriend said yes, She did ask me about it, but I felt I had no choice but to say yes to it as well.

Now, is this within the cultural norms? It is my daughters first birthday. I wanted to bake a cake, and host a celebration here at home. Here at home where both parts of her family could come on equal terms so to speak. I mentioned the stepmothers plans to my mom, and she wasn’t super thrilled. I guess she felt the same as me, that the center of power so to speak is not equal but lies with my girlfriends side of the family.

It is my opinion that stepmothers and/or grandmothers should know, based on their social skills and cultural upbringing, that a first birthday celebration should be hosted by the parents of the child, in their home. In that way things won’t get awkward for anyone. Not for me, not for my girlfriend, not for my part of the family.

But in this case, I find no way of saying no right out of the bat as my girlfriend thinks this is a good idea. I would be looked upon badly from many sides as the grumpy guy who says no to someone hosting practically a “free” party. I would also, I suspect, hurt the stepmothers feelings badly in refusing.

And so I told my girlfriend all of this, and I also included that if it had been my mother asking to host my daughters first birthday party at her house, I would decline the invitation. It wouldn’t be right, socially, culturally and so on. There’s something to this idea that makes me feel awkward and unruly. There’s also a matter of inviting like the stepmothers brother which I find a bit strange in a setting like this.

But yeah, I voiced this opinion to my girlfriend. I was asked. I was being honest about it, trying to explain my hesitant feeling towards this in detail. It didn’t go as planned. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t rude. I was trying my absolute best at explaining why I felt awkward about this birthday party, and also the reasons why I wasn’t refusing it. There are several reasons, a few already mentioned in this text.

It turned out to be a two hour discussion where my girlfriend, at her absolute finest moment, said that short people was more angry than tall people – and therefore I was more angry than most people. She also accused me of not liking her family in general because of me feeling awkward about it which is not true at all. However, everyone on her side are “a bit too much” at times as there’s almost a revolving door of grandparents visiting this house. That’s another story.

I tried to explain to her that it is not healthy that my girlfriend goes on the attack on matter like this as she should be supportive and act like a team member. We’re supposed to be a team, and it is completely unecessary accusing me of all weird ideas and feelings when I simply voiced my opinion that I found her stepmother arranging this to be rather awkward for me and for my family.

Later on, I checked with a friend of mine if I was wrong in judging this like I did, and she said I was completely right. A birthday party like this, which happens only once, should be up to the parents to decide and host – and grandparents, mother in laws and stepmothers should politely stay away from it. It doesn’t matter how politely this stepmother asks. I am confident she thinks that we can give her an honest answer back, but I don’t think either of us can do. We don’t want to hurt anyone, and besides, my girlfriend thought it was a good idea anyway. It is borderline rude towards my parents in taking the center of power around my daughter and put that on her side of the family when it should be focused in the center – here, at our home. This is where people around my daughter should meet up.

And you know what, I wanted to bake a cake. It wouldn’t have been the most fancy cake ever, but I wanted to bake a cake for my daughter first birthday party. I can still do it of course, but I feel like it’s been taken way from me. That first time, that first birthday, snatched away from me by do-gooders with no social knowledge. Stolen from me by a way too eager stepmother and a girlfriend who doesn’t seem to understand the social implications of this. She accuses me of being rude, but she doesn’t seem to see the bigger picture.

But I am right, or am I wrong? This is one discussion I would gladly welcome in a comment field on this blog.

Yeah, I sneak off to McDonalds

You know what is bliss? To sneak off to McDonalds.

Like today. I have terrible problems with dry cough and breathing issues – like asthma, so I went to the doctor to sort that out. And I did. It took me like 20 minutes or so. All cleared with everyone. My mother babysitting and so on.

And so I decide, like I often do when Im out like this, to buzz off to the closest McDonalds 10-15 minutes away by car for a Big Mac. I drove down there, music blasting.

I bought my Big Mac with extra cheese and no pickle and drove a further 300 meters out to the lake to eat it with a view in front of my old car. To eat that burger in silence, looking at the lake – it’s just bliss. I love sneaking off like that.

My girlfriend doesnt like meat or fast food. Certainly not a Big Mac. I love fast food – not just every day. I’m no fool, I stay healthy. Sort of. And so I get little meat in this house for that reason. No problem, there’s always McDonalds.

I love sneaking off, taking those 45 minutes or so and just eat my burger in fucking peace and worry of nothing else than my fries getting too cold.

Long may it continue.

What the fuck? Part A and part B

Sometimes I’m just lost for words. Do I utter the word “women” with a sigh and throw my hands up in the air, or do I utter the words “people” or “relationships” with the same disbelief and/or the feeling of simply giving up. Like, giving up in ending the conversation and going to bed. And while I’m doing that I will be fighting my instinctive feeling of saying A) “I told you so!”, or B) “are you completely dumb?”

And so this was Monday. It is now Wednesday. The day involved one ex and one current girlfriend. In the end, I called a friend and just told her both stories. I just had to out of my own sanity.

So what happened?

I have a key to my old house again now (I used to have it, then gave it back – long story). I have the key now because I’m taking my dogs for walks when my ex is working long hours. That means I have access to the house again (which feels weird in itself). And so I went there Monday to take the dogs for walks. My ex gave me like six paragraphs of stuff to remember before I came. Just stupid shit like “their leashes are on the staircase” or “I have locked the bathroom door with a key so they won’t get inside (like dogs can actually open doorhandles). Or, her never ending “this room is being cleaned, so it’s off limits”. What, do you think I’m stupid? You have locked the room because it looks like shit and you haven’t mustered yourself into cleaning it!

What the fuck A)

I drive over to my former house, and greeted my dogs. I can’t help but notice the entire house looks like absolute shit. Dirt everywhere. Dirt on the floor, filth and muck everywhere – everywhere! My key barely goes into the keyhole because it havent been oiled, so I go to the kitchen to get some oil. The fridge stinks like hell. The kitchen have pots, plates, glasses and cups everywhere. All dirty and uncleaned of course. There’s still a photo of me on the wall. The curtains are the same as they were in 2012. I kid you not. The floors have insane large dustballs like huge galaxies in space swirling around. The veranda door all worn down by one of the dogs scratching it. I could go on and on. I was shocked. I shouldnt be shocked though. She never did clean anything. I just thought she had gotten her act together now with me gone, and actually taken som control of her life. Nope, not at all. I feel sorry for the dogs living in such a place. And, hey, this is coming from a guy – a normal guy with a normal view on what’s clean and not. A guy often being confronted by his current girlfriend for not being thorough enough when cleaning. Yeah. That’s right. I’m normal. A normal guy with a healthy and sane relationship to what is clean and not.

And you know what is pissing me off? For all those years when we lived together I was told it was MY fault she didn’t clean or tidy her shit. Apperantly I didn’t clean as good as she wanted, and since I didn’t do it right – she didn’t want to do it at all. Yeah, that was her words. I called her out on her bullshit then, but then I simply gave up. She wasn’t cleaning. I did it for her, my way, and decided it had to do with her mental stability this way of doing things around the house (or lack of). It was something to do with her state of mind – which may or may not be true. I know she had (and still have) issues. And so I was nice and did my best. I always said it was better to do some than not anything at all. She didn’t agree I guess. And so when I moved, according to her previous statements, she would now be in charge of her own house and the place would be spotless. She could do anything she wanted with me gone. Did she? No! The place looks like a fucking dump. It has degraded beyond belief in those three years since I left. It’s clear to see now she just blamed me for the house being filhty and untidy. I should send her a message saying “I fucking told you so!” But I’m not. I’m not saying one word. I will just keep my mouth shut. It wasn’t me. It was her all along!

Goddamnit. Really.

Goddamnit!

What the fuck B)

And so with that having gone down, I drove home. To a clean house. Clean floors and a very tidy kitchen. My current girlfriend knows how to tidy and clean. Her mother is around when I come. She had been there since like ten in the morning. I came home around three. In the meantime, I had made an appointment with my mom for Tuesday (visiting my parents) and so I tell my girlfriend. Now this apppointment is apperantly a problem because she made a tentative apppointment with a friend of hers of a visit on Tusday. So I’m like “is it actually a sealed deal, or you don’t know yet?” She doesn’t know.  I have no clue how to deal with a plan like this. So, I’m like expected to not make any arrangements with anyone because there MIGHT be a visit to her friends house? I tell her I can’t do it like this, and tell her that because of this weird way of planing I will have to push forward my appointment with my parents to today (Monday). The time is now like five in the afternoon. She agrees.

By the time I wan to leave, it was already getting late. It was like 18:30. My girlfriends daughter suddenly wants to come with me. I tell her politely that she has not done her homework yet, and since she stayed up until 23:00 on Sunday before going to sleep – going to my parents at this hour without having done her homework and because of Sunday is not a good idea. I will be back around 21:00 most likely, and with her slow motion speed she won’t be in bed before 22:00. And this is with still homework to be done. She starts to cry. Quite loudly. She’s not used to getting a no.

And here comes the surprise; my girlfriend attacks ME instead of supporting me in this decision.  She accuses me of not being bighearted enough by taking her daughter with me! And I’m like “what the fuck!! She still has homework to do!”. In the background I hear a grumpy mother in law thinking I’m being evil. I don’t hear her, I simply feel her. My girlfriend rolls her eyes and tells me “there are other people here reacting to this!” referring to her mother in law. So? I’m trying to spoon feed all of them why my decision stands. Your daughter stayed up until 23:00 on Sunday. She havent’ done her homework yet. It’s almost seven in the afternoon. I had to change my plans because she and her girlfriend couldn’t make a proper deal in arranging a visit, and shockingly I am being accused of not being bighearted?? The daughter is now on the floor crying because she can’t go with me. Shocked at all of this, I leave anyway. I come home around 21:00 (like I expected). My mother in law, seeing me returning home, rushes out the door not interested in talking to me (first time in ages she’s out the door before midnight). Luckily, my girlfriends daughter is in her pyjamas and goes to bed in a reasonable hour. Which was my intention all along.

After days like this I am simply shell shocked. I question my own normality. Am I wrong in any of this? Any at all? No, I’m not. I’m taking reasonable and proper decisions for the sake of the well being of everyone. I keep my mouth shut even if my old house is falling apart from the inside out. It pains me to see all of what I spent time and money on in a state like this. It is horrible. I get worried for my ex well being. And when I come home and try to do the right thing I’m being accused of not being generous enough??!

What the fuck?

Seriously, what the fuck?

What the fuck with A

What the fuck with B

I live in bizarro world.

Want to sleep well? Have a baby!

I’m writing in a bit of a bewildered state of mind at the moment. Get this; I am more refreshed and feeling more energized than I have been for a long time.

It should have been the other way around!

How did I do this? Why am I so energized?

Here it is; I had to become the sole caretaker of a 11 month old baby, my daughter, alone – at night. At night. Because her mother is working night shift for four nights.

The first night, I admit, was troublesome. My daughter was used to waking up and asking to be breastfed. She wasn’t too pleased when she woke up and realized there wouldn’t be any feeding. I was quite drained that first night.

Second night was much, much better. She woke up twice, and I put her back to bed immediately. She accepted this, and fell asleep once more.

Third night was a bit problematic, but not because of my daughter. The weather outside played havoc on me and my stepdaughter. The 9-year old woke up, scared, and wanted to sleep beside me. And because of this, my daughter woke up a bit early. However, even with thunder and lightning outside – I wasn’t suffering badly during the day.

The fourth night was the best. My daughter slept a tad too late for her regular afternoon nap which meant she had problems falling asleep again at night. But, when she fell asleep she kept on sleeping. She slept until it was me who woke up instead. It was 05:30 when I woke up and had to check on her. She had apperantly woken up during the night without me noticing (that means she didn’t cry – good girl!), and fell asleep again on her blanket – the wrong way. When I tried to put her blanket over her again, she woke up. However, it took only two tries to put her down again – she fell alseep once more. And, so did I. She woke up again 07:45. I woke up 06:40.

Wow!

We had dreaded this week badly, and I expected to be sleep deprived and in a sorry state all week. To my surprise, I feel better than a I have been in a long time.

Why?

With my girlfriend working, I had no desire or need to stay up watching TV. I went to bed at 22:30 – 23:00. I adapted to my daughters sleep routine. I gained over an hours extra sleep by doing just that. It is what I would have done all the time if it wasn’t for my girlfriends never-ending need to “relax in the evening when it’s all quiet” (which means TV shows until midnight). I try to follow her on this routine, and I like to watch the shows we choose to watch (don’t get me wrong), but I often find myself falling asleep in front of the TV – completely worn out from a long day at work. This time I was more in charge of my own routine and I’m no fool. There’s two kids in the house. I go to sleep!

And so, expecting to be halfways to a zombie state by Friday, I ended up with more energy than in a long time.

Imagine that, having a toddler makes me feel more awake!

The tables turned last night

We had been dreading it for weeks. Our daughters first night alone with only me as her company in the bed besides hers. That meant no mommy, and more specifically no boob to fall asleep on. Nope, mommy is back to working night shift. I’ve mentioned to my girlfriend several times how other countries, like the USA, doesn’t have these amazing state sponsored mommy and daddy times. It’s like she doesn’t even understand how all that is possible when she’s dreading all this so bad. The basics to that is that she’s been home, paid 80% of her income, for over a year. Now it’s my turn, and I’ll be home, all paid 80% of my income, until December. However, there was one week that interlapped with me working. This week. That meant a possible night with no sleep because the baby going nuts mommy isn’t around.

Turns out, the baby slept more than me. She turned the table on me.

She had only napped once during the daytime, and we attended a birthday party in the afternoon. Coming home around eight, the baby quickly fell asleep besides her mommys boob. I wanted her in her crib, mommy wanted her outside. She went outside. At 2130, she woke up. Mommy left for work. I gave her food, and off to bed we went. She fell asleep at 22, and I followed at 2230.

At 01:30 she woke up screaming like a banshee. Like I suspected, she freaked out when mommy wasn’t there and there was no boob to hold on to. I turned the light on, and attracted her attention to the mobile above her bed. Her screaming instantly stopped. It had been ongoing for maybe 10 seconds, possibly 20. The problem was dealt with. I put her back to bed, and she almost fell asleep at once. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t belive how tough she was and how she adapted to her brand new situation.

Me, on the other hand, had problems. I couldn’t fall asleep and stayed half awake until she woke up again around 03:30. This time, she was in a good mood, and wanted to play. She pulled herself up like seven times, sang a song and it looked to be at one point she was done sleeping. But no, around four she fell asleep once more. I got on the cell to my girlfriend and told her the good news. Then I finally fell asleep as well.

Strangely enough I woke up two seconds before my girlfriends car drove up to the house. When I tried to get out of bed, the baby woke up. And so I thought this would be it. I put her back down again though, and to my surprise she fell asleep once more. It’s eight now, and she’s still asleep.

And to think we expected the baby to be awake – when it turned out to be me who couldn’t sleep…

A brother biking away into the morning sunrise

I have one clear image in my head from the fall of 1999; my brother biking to school in the early August morning sun, leaving me behind in the kitchen of our parents home. It was like a scene out of a cowboy movie, and I knew back then that things would never be the same again.

I was 18 back then. Until 1999 I had lived at home, gone to high school and almost finished it as well (flunked math). I had no idea what to do come fall of 1999 finishing high school in June. I remember I had simply applied for more high school, naively thinking I could simply continue on as normal and go to school. I had always gone to school, and this was no different. I didn’t get in of course, I had spent all my school years already. The state basically told me to progress further into adulthood.

I remember my dad taking action that summer, making phone calls and pushing me doing the right thing. I didn’t know what the right thing was, but since I qualified for a health care trainee position, that’s what he had been trying to strike a deal on. I thank him for that because if it wasn’t for being on the offensive from his part, I would have simply stayed in total confusion of what to do with my life that fall 20 years ago.

And, so during the summer of 1999, I was called up by a woman working for a municipality about an hours drive away from our house. The woman on the other side asked me if I had gotten a trainee position yet, to which I said no. She offered me an interview for one. I said yes but was rather lukewarm to the idea. It felt so far away. When I got off the phone, my mom asked me who I had been talking to. I explained it was about a trainee position. When she asked where it was located I said the towns name with as much disinterest I could. I didn’t really want to go, but I knew I had no choice. And so I went to the interview, and got the job. My dad told me, when we drove home, how he was pleased everything worked out for me. I wasn’t so sure, but I guess in the end I was. And, in retrospect 20 years later, he was right.

Up until that point I had always been close to my brother. He is seven years younger than me, but we still did lots of things together during our childhood years. Actually, we did most things together. Football, ski jumping, watching TV sitting both in a comfy chair from the 70s meant only for one person. We slept in the same room together, and even shared some friends as well. He copied me in many things and interests.

I knew that once I moved out, things wouldn’t be like that any more, and I dreaded this day that would come when I would drive to this new town and start my job as a trainee. I could no longer mentally reach down towards a younger me being with him doing our things. I would release the final grasp of childhood and be fully connected to an adult world. A more complex world at that. It would turn out to be a more lonely world and a more challenging world, and maybe I knew as much that morning.

I don’t remember much else besides that specific image of him biking to school. It’s funny that. I don’t remember anything about driving there, or staying the first night there. Nothing. I do remember my brother had been talking about getting rid of my bed from what would now be his room all alone. It sort of hurt my feelings that his first task would be to get rid of it, but I guess he wanted to experience what it was like to have his own room at last. He deserved it. And so that morning, I got up as normal and I would drive to this new town starting my life as a trainee and he would continue his life at home. We had breakfast, and then – in the bright morning sun – I saw him bike those 3,5 kilometers to school. I knew that was it. A chapter closed with him disappearing down the narrow country road. While I still would come back and we would do many things like before, it was never the same again. The first step towards a family of five not being so close any longer. That first step of many for all three of us children slowly creating our own lives. I knew it was the first of many. That’s why that image of him biking off is burned into my memory.

I guess I remembered this image of him biking into the sunrise today because of the weather today. It’s warm, bright and the sun today looks and feels the same as that day in 1999. It’s also his birthday today, now all grown up and 32 years old. Many chapters have passed since then.

Happy birthday to him, my brother.