My adult world is full of rich delights. I am gifted with hearty friends who circle their wagons of calm and joy around me from time to time. Close by is the great peace of an imposing mountain with the settling sheen of a pure white coat. I can gaze towards the tower of dolerite while the nearby waves shush my racing headspace.

My grown-up place features work that is rewarding, yet not so demanding that I can’t flit off early to gather my daughters from school. Sometimes, the plenty of this place will even feature boysenberry ice cream (which is awesome because a boysenberry ripple is several superior slurps better than any other ice-cream flavour). In this space are various contrasting complexities such as the altruistic delight of funding my lawyer’s next resort holiday and the overly earnest claims of, “Seriously dad… we didn’t get homework this weekend!” to the tickle-wrestle fun of bean bag play.

Sometimes I humorously ponder, “What do my friends make of being invited into my boysenberry ice-cream world only to discover that the bits that look like choc-chip turn out to be capers and anchovies?”


I like to think of my place on God’s good earth as being conventional. However, the reality is that the joy that comes from being a dad does butt roughly up against the death and taxes stuff. Like any fully living dad, happiness and heartache get to co-exist.

In fact, I love the peculiar sweet-and-sour blend of the express-pace big-people place alongside the bean-bag cocoon of my little people space. Our bean-bag home is just expansive enough for one dad and my two finest works of art. From the cosiness of a four-stack of bean bags, I hope that the world of taxes and “take your shoes off at the front door” and big zits that appear just before the delivery of a presentation and get-to-work-on-time looks to be very distant for my girls. Yet, I know that bean bags will soon enough be outgrown so that space can be made for adolescence.

I wonder what thoughts form for my girls when they gaze into the grown-up space that all too soon they will be living in. How do they go about shedding their tender children’s skin to have a new hide supple enough for child-like play, yet hardened to the complications of forging themselves in a big-person world?

Growing Up

Beyond my pondering, we recently dined in the grown-up playground of Mavis’s Kitchen. I puffed up with pride when my eldest explained to my gentlemanly cousin how to place a knife and fork to indicate that she was still working at her meal, or how the cutlery should sit to show she had wrapped up. For me, it is important that my girls make regular forays into places most often populated by adults. All my conventions, rules, policies, etiquette, manners and mannerisms are new, until practised and mimicked by my daughters. Part of me is old-school, so I appreciate that my girls know of manners and being treated with respect.

Around the same time, my dearly loved six-year-old mimicked: “I wish I had make-up to cover the black under my eyes.” I almost instinctively ran from the kitchen to the bathroom to hug and squeeze that bit of adult-world out of her. I want her heart and soul and a great sense of self-worth to be well-formed before she ever has to think of painting her pretty features.

Just now I have tucked them into doonas of Minnie Mouse and pink butterflies. Sleep time softens their child features. Then, in the morning they will transition into the routine and responsibility of getting sorted for school. Right now, if I had a choice, I would be hitting the snooze button a few times on the alarm clock that is set to prompt me to help the girls navigate those places where their kids-world and grown-ups meld. However, leaving them behind in kid-world does not serve them well, so we will mix it up with bean bags for a while before our next foray into the world of big kids’ stuff.


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko.

About the Author: Greg McInerney

Greg is the father of two daughters.

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