Sunday, May 4, 2014

Don't call me daughter

It has been a while, so let’s throw a few vague screenshots from rooms you didn’t see before. Nothing too fancy, but hey, better than nothing. These are part from a little “test-demo” I’d like to show you somewhere… I’d better not make time-related promises… I wish I could, but we’re still busy finishing the other “official” demo movie, everyone is extraordinary busy at work, AND, I have a new excuse in my sleeves…

Or well, not a good excuse (yet), but I'd like to share it anyway; I'm going to be a daddy again :) If everything goes well of course, 10 weeks is still quite premature. And yes, I will annoy you with some father & daughter stories this time. Dedicated for all the daddies, and I’d-like-to-have-kids-but-I’m-not-quite-ready-yet fathers (and moms of course).

MTV Teenage moms
I became a dad pretty young. Well, for Western standards at least. Aged 30 now, in some countries I could have been a great-grandmother already. Anyhow, I was 23 when a panicking girlfriend text messaged me, writing she wanted to die. Not literally I presume, but getting kids at that age was a privilege for MTV teen moms, trailer trash, and fanatic servants of the Lord. In addition, I still lived with pops & moms, sleeping in my solo manhole game dungeon bedroom, fresh from school. And moreover, no one else in our direct circles had kids.

My girl-magnet skills didn't work out very well so far, so when predicting our futures with friends, my prognoses was that I would find a charming cow called Bertha somewhere in a singles bar at the age of 40. Although I found this "little twist" pretty funny actually, I was also ashamed to announce I would become the "first dad”. I told my friends and brother pretty early, but telling mom and dad felt like climbing the Atlantic wall. "Rick! You should know better!". Finished school, just got a promising job, and look who's a MTV Trailer kid now?!

Well, pride is something you can swallow. Self-mockery also helps. But more trivial was the fact I didn't knew my girlfriend that long back then. Not much longer than a year. Hence not even a year if you exclude the periods she wasn't here. As she comes from Poland, she worked here for random periods, then had to return again for a few weeks or months. Or maybe forever in case there wouldn't be new work anymore. After some years, a real man is glad he can be home-alone or gone-with-friends without having to listen to Nonstop Female FM. Orders here, complaints there, guess what Suzy said?! No she didn't! But when being just in love, it's terrible to get separated, not even knowing she'll ever come back. And no, we didn’t have Skype or anything. Let’s say in my girlfriends household, they still wind up the TV with a donkey.

Not exactly a solid fundament for getting kids. Hence, at that time we couldn't even normally communicate. As said, now she yaps the ears of my head but back then her Dutch was pretty bad, and I don't speak a single Polish phrase either. Cuddling doesn't require much language. Arguing in strange languages downgrades the arguments and reasoning to childish levels. So how about real serious matter, such as living together, and raising a kid together? It's not like giving your girlfriend a rabbit for her birthday. Your whole life will change, playtime is over. And needless to say, she had the same concerns.

Almost forgot, the screenshots. Not the best looking scene every, it's "programmer-art".

Flee Forest!
If I ever had good arguments to flee, this would be it. Drink beer with friends or change diapers? Start working and save money for a nice place later, or spend all your bucks on a crying kid in a little house now? Put an end to an already difficult relation, or get forced to live together because of a baby? Wait for the right moment, or put a kid on the world in turbulent conditions? Pride or shame? My girl was prepared for the worst when she text messaged me that November day. A pregnant young woman, all alone in a strange country, without any guarantees...

I received that message while I was working. Thought for some seconds, and then replied with one of the few smart things I ever said: "It's going to be all right.". That evening, I drove to her, and gave her a kiss on her belly to pull her a bit out of her shock. I'm far from a romantic, thoughtful type, but I'm still pretty proud on what I did that day. If there is a shipwreck, you'll need a vast rock where the drowning can clamp on. My perfect future picture was shattered, but I only needed a few minutes to decide I would help her. And the baby. Period.

Words can be hollow, but in case you ever get in this situation, never forget there are worse things. I always wanted children anyway, and how hard can it really be? Billions of people did it before. Some without a husband, or even without a house or food. You can make drama as much as you want, but it isn't going to fix anything. We aren't stupid. We are fixers, here is the moment to prove what you're worth.

And it all went well. Baby is getting a real spoiled princess now. Girlfriend speaks, works and lives like any Dutch now. We live in a little but nice house, and I still drink beer with friends. Maybe not as often anymore, but if you can get some help you certainly won’t get trapped in your house. Be creative, switch tasks with your girl, call the babysitter, or ask mom and dad. Yes, they were shocked when I finally had the balls and told them. But as soon as they can start buying little socks and then see a little critter 9 months later, they will become a proud grandpa and grandma. Despite the fact babies can't do much more than sleeping, burping, crying and overload their brand new pants, they have that mysterious skill to charm another. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, friends... the whole discussion of right or wrong fades away like rain in the sun when they can finally hold that little guy. Mother Nature overrules.

Perfect timing
This time, the pregnancy period will be a little party. Not having to visit the gynaecologist in silence. Not having to buy an house in a rush and beg your employer for a contract. Not having to delay the inevitable confrontation with your parents. Not having to worry and doubt about each other anymore. This time, we can enjoy.

What is the right moment to get kids anyway? When looking at my friends, we're still the only couple with kid(s). Not that my friends don't want kids, but they await the right moment I guess. School, work, house, be happy together for at least X years, marriage maybe, realize your own plans first. The logical order. But even then, there won't be a "Goddamn, I can use some kids now." moment. Like the little bastards or not, they don't come for free. They eat your time, wallet, and your girls breasts. And you can't exchange them, or put them in a freezer for some days if you had enough. Being a parent, is forever. So of course, I don't judge or blame their awaiting.

But unless you really hate kids, have far more important priorities, or just live in a shitty situation at the moment, the good things in life sometimes require a sacrifice. If one expects or demands everything for "free", he or she isn't worth a kid. There won't be a perfect moment. You're always busy with something. Whether it’s getting a promotion on work, moving to another house, redoing the garden, or mourning because of family tragedy, there is always something. When you turn 35, you probably still like to go on vacation. When you turn 40, you still may get a busier job with more responsibility. Getting up early on Sundays will always suck. And your house will never be perfectly finished either. I'm not saying one should rush. Hell no, do whatever you like. But don't forget the clock is ticking. It's a bit like going to the dentist, whether you go right now, tomorrow or next week, it's going to suck anyway.

Have some faith in yourself. Even if the house is isn't finished, the baby will sleep fine. Maybe you won't, but hey, that's only temporary. If there were some financial problems, in Africa they raise kids with absolutely nothing so just hold back a bit on whatever isn't really necessary, and you'll be fine. You can miss more than you think. You see, anything can be fixed. And looking back now, I'm actually quite happy we're "young parents". It's not only biologically justified, you have more energy to overcome hectic tasks, and it's easier to understand their world (being still half a kid yourself).

Centre of the universe
But ultimately, it's not only about making offers. If you can love your girl, your mom or your dog, then sure you will love your baby just as much, if not even more. Giving love and being loved. That my friends, is priceless. You can't translate that to 100 times drinking with friends, sleeping 4 hours more in the weekends, 3 expensive vacations, or a 20% bigger house. Personally I don't believe luck can be bought anyway. A faster car is fun, but you'll get used to it. A new video game keeps you amused for approximately 10 to 30 hours. But they aren't going to help you, cheer you up, or play Bingo with you once you're 82 years old and all alone. You already feel it when dropping of your kids, and being alone for a day. The house feels… empty.

I think people are too much busy with themselves these days. And so am I. Work, work, work, Tower22. Check telephone, check emails. Talk about what you did, show your new stuff. Train yourself, develop yourself, treat yourself. Face it, how much hours each day are you doing "your stuff"? Probably more than listening or taking care of another. The best example is our distinguished classic house-mom-slave. Just like men, women are busy making a career and often don't even know anymore how to turn on the microwave. I'm not judging, that's our society. But with a kid, you'll realize and accept you're not the main act on the stage anymore.

Next Saturday I'll bring my little girl to swimming lessons for the first time. 8 o fucking clock in the morning. But I can guarantee you, watching her trying to stay above the water, having fun, and proudly telling mom and me what she did afterwards will make it all worth. I'll be there to watch my little girl, not to have some more "me-time", which would have probably been "stinking in bed" at that time.

And in case you're just not really a "kids-person", well, neither am I. just never really knew how to react or behave when someone else kid is there. Tell a dirty joke, and an angry mom will slap you. Touch them and an angry dad will kick you. Do something wrong and they suddenly start crying. Being on their level, with the same kind of humour and interests is difficult. But don't worry, you will learn. Just as long you spend some time with them. Notice I said "spend time", that's not the same as buying iPads to keep them silenced. Read them stories, play games, make jokes, teach them all the wonderful things. Allow yourself to be a kid again, just a little bit. It might be your last chance this lifetime.

Like it or not, but our kids are the future, not you and me (anymore). And it’s good to know someone will continue our journey. What you teach them, will eventually become your legacy.


  1. Thanks for your insights Rick, that was very enjoyable reading. Wish you and your family all the best! :)

  2. Merci! Over week we'll have a look again, if somebody is home within that belly :)

  3. Kippenvel Rick! Geen woord aan gelogen. gr. Ruben

  4. Good read and insight. :)