Today I finally caught up with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in months.
We met about five years while she was doing some PR work for our organisation. (That’s one of the great things about doing IT work—you get to meet pretty much everyone in the place.) We got along straight away, and she quickly became one of my closest friends. I was quite upset when she left for another job a year later, but thankfully we’re stayed friends ever since.
So it was great to catch up with her for lunch on her day off, especially after the meeting I had before I left the office. (I won’t go into the details, but let’s put it this way: the relaxing ferry ride across the river couldn’t have come at a better time.)
A lot has changed since then. We’re both parents now, and so I got to have lunch not only with her, but also her 15-month-old daughter. (We worked out we’d last seen each other on her first birthday, so it’s been a while.) And I realised just how much of a parent I’ve become.
A couple of years ago the phrase “relaxing with a small child” is something I would have only used in a humour column. But now that I’m a dad I realise it’s actually possible. As we ate our lunch we chatted about our families, our work, and how much things have changed at work in the past five years. And apart from the occasional pauses while she fed her daughter it was just like old times.
In fact it was better, because I could actually help out. When her daughter started crying on the way to the park I didn’t hesitate to carry her and sing a few silly songs to try and cheer her up. Two years ago the most I would have done is make silly faces from a distance. Hold her? You’ve got to be kidding!
(And in case you’re wondering how I know everything changed two years ago, it’s my son’s second birthday tomorrow.)
Maybe that’s why it’s so great being a parent. You can sing silly songs. You can play on the swings (which I did). You can be a kid again, and rediscover the world through their eyes.
To my friend (who may be reading this) and your beautiful daughter, thank you for lunch, for the chat, and for the chance to be a kid for the afternoon.
It’s just what I needed.