I am more than a little miffed at Myer. Before I realised that I was watching an ad, the baited opening line invited, “Ever wonder where wonderful went?” and my drifting mind was hooked. I had been suckered into a wistful memory of the wonder of my own childhood.

“When we were small, wonderful was everywhere.”

In my world, it still is. My wonder is in taking pause when my Year 5 daughter answered my phone call tonight with an upbeat tone. The wonder rang in my head and heart when she announced that she had been selected to attend a leadership program at another school.

“Dad was the strongest man in the world.”

I was entranced. In my world, dads aren’t talked up enough. Dads getting some kudos on TV is a buzz. A wholehearted, present dad is a nourishing gift to his children.


“Fairies paid good money for teeth.”

I pondered that “paid” is past tense. My two earthly angels know that their guardian angel has not skipped out on them. Their guardian angel cares for the thrill that comes of uncovering a couple of gold coins the next morning with a scrawled note. Similarly, my girls are still wide-eyed by the all-through-the-house footprints of the Easter Bunny. Wonderment abounds in our household, even in the stories I share by phone when they are not in my care.

A torch and a bedsheet turned the dining table into a magical wonderland.” There’s that wonder word again, associated with experiences built of imagination, fun crafted of our everyday surroundings and memory-making made of playful innocence. That is a great childhood. I’m all for that spilling over to adulthood.

Growing Up

“And then, we all got serious. The world suddenly became one great grey blah of adequate. Why, when there is so much to feel wonderful about?”

The tone and music of the ad becomes noticeably dark.  But, the ad is skipping ahead of itself. However, for my daughters and I, wonder is all about and in great proportions. We are not outgrowing it with each homemade birthday ice cream cake we consume.

“That decides it. We’ll bring wonderful back. We’ll slither on sparkly dresses and spritz ourselves in Parisian scent, find impossibly high heels, jewels for our fingers and bags small enough for a mouse.”

The ad tells me that wonderful is waiting and I just need to go out and find it in a shopping spree.

But I get bored by shopping. The pointless expense of bling, the overt fascination with shoes, retail therapy as if it was a cure for some malady or shopping as a hobby holds as much appeal as screeching cats when I am trying to sleep. No, Myer, I don’t love shopping. Shopping, for me, is a chore like stretching out last night’s leftovers and ironing school shirts. It is about as much fun as grooming out-of-control nose hairs.

The star of the Myer ad offers in an interview, “I think there’s something that happens when you get older where you have to pretend you’re not as excited by everything.” Sure, I will concede that I was also “older” at 20; however, at 44, I am marvelling at the fulfilment that comes with being a dad.

Natural Beauty

There is so much fascination in the natural wonder surrounding my daughters and me. There are birds in my garden making my youngest grumpy by thieving her strawberries and others which delight by hovering to delicately draw nectar. The looming mountain close by is sometimes decoratively sprinkled with snow. Nearby beaches shape the symmetrical curves of waves that have an inviting charm and a splash that speaks louder to my girls than my “don’t get wet!” instruction.

I want my daughters to realise that bling and baubles don’t satisfy in the way solid friendships do. I hope they discover that high ideals are more fulfilling than high heels. I hope that they value that spending is not as rewarding as lending — their time, their talents, their smiles.

Louis Armstrong sang of his wonder in “trees of green, red roses too.” He sought friends shaking hands and the colour of a pretty rainbow. Louis Armstrong’s wonder couldn’t be bought. A wise man like Louis Armstrong knew that the simplest and greatest pleasures don’t have a price tag.

The sweet irony is that a classroom quartet played Louis Armstrong’s tune to the friends and family who gathered at my wedding. I held a genuine wonder gazing at the girls’ mum as she glided down the aisle.

I still love listening to Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World, and I believe in wonder as much now as I did on that special day.

And I pray that my girls get it — wonder has to be felt!


Photo by Josh Willink.

About the Author: Greg McInerney

Greg is the father of two daughters.

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