Age of reason

By the end of the year I’ll be 42.

That’s okay. I don’t really have a problem with my age. A lot of people say I don’t look that old, and I certainly don’t feel that old.

Most of the time.

Occasionally my age is not so much thrown back in my face as gently whispered in my ear. Friday night’s get-together was one of those occasions (though it would have been impossible to hear it over the music).

And today was another one.

Our almost-two-year-old had a great afternoon nap. A little over three hours in fact, which means we have a major battle on our hands getting him to sleep at night. So we did what any parent would do: took him somewhere where he could run around and wear himself out.

So after a brief search on the Internet we headed to the Go Wild Activity Centre. We chose it for three very important reasons:

  • It’s indoors (it’s bucketing down in Brisbane at the moment)
  • It’s air-conditioned (unfortunately all the rain does is make it muggier)
  • It’s just down the road.

When we got there we paid our money, put our socks on, and headed for the toddler section.

Our son had a ball—hundreds when he played in the ball enclosure—and the only help he needed was getting up the ramp near one of the slides. He was grinning the entire time, and I was reminded why we’re so lucky to have him.

Then we decided to try him out on some the “big kids” activities. He’s pretty fearless (unlike his father), and in no time he was crawling up the ramps and getting lost in the maze-like structure. So I went up there to help him out.

And that’s when I heard my age being gently whispered in my ear.

I’m lucky that I’m pretty slim (which my wife hates me for, because I can eat anything), and so I could fit through most of the doors, holes, and slides to follow him. But in the space of 20 minutes I managed to graze my elbow, hurt my back and bang my shin on something. (My son got through completely unscathed.)

I’ll be fine in a day or two. But what will I be like when he’s five? When he’s ten? I don’t want to be the father who has to watch his son play from the sidelines. I want to be there to catch what he throws, mark what he kicks, and field what he hits.

Chances are we’ll be going back soon, and not just after a long nap. It’s relatively cheap, our son absolutely loves it…

… and I’ve got to toughen up somehow.

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