Lockdown 3

It was a tough month. Longer, five six weeks maybe. I don’t even know, the days all seemed the same, Tuesday the same as Saturday. The weeks turned into Groundhog Day.

I’ve been able to make my peace with the day it happened, though it took a while. My natural reaction is to do the very Scottish ‘ach your fine’ thing, let’s get on with playing. But she was making a noise I’d never heard from her before. Eight years ago, when Thorin was just a small puppy he got his teeth jammed on the bars of his cage; mouth fully agape, two sets of front teeth trapped and a panic in him as he was unable to get away. He made a similar noise.

My daughter was brave, braver than ever I would be as the pain came and went in waves and she wanted the ice pack on her knee. She couldn’t explain what had happened and was too young to know bits of you can break.

I feel infinitely sorry I didn’t do anything quicker but it wouldn’t have made any difference. She got help as quickly as she would’ve got anyway and the moving around made no difference. Her leg was broken and thankfully it didn’t get any worse.

I did precious little in this time, it zapped me of all creativity. As a result I’m using social media less, and posting little, not worrying about daily updates. During the time of her stay in hospital and recovery I was using it more, scrolling endlessly and having to tear myself away from it as she slept. The addiction of watching knockouts, police chases and blackhead popping videos is real, and I’m disgusted in myself for it to have entered my life in such a way. I could blame the situation, but that would be passing it on. It’s my fault.

The anxiety is real though. Being off work was a horrible feeling, like I’m letting everyone down. I know how hard my job is and how disruptive even one person being off can be. But my family needed me and that should always come first. Always. Why does signing off, dealing with doctors etc. make me feel even worse?

A sign of weakness. A chink in my implacable armour. The hole in my guard game. We’ll get to that.

The week before it happened, my wife was ill. Probably Covid, though she tested negative the whole time, the symptoms were the same and she was out of action for at least a week. The reason she wasn’t at the party was because she was meant to be resting before going back to work on the Monday. Instead she spent the next 48 hours feeling dreadful and the next week in hospital not leaving my daughter’s bedside for the entire time. Did I mention it was Mother’s Day?

Going back and forward to the hospital was hard. I had endless jobs to do, and when our eldest was at nursery I had a little bit of time to be able to do them. I was adamant my wife had to eat well, good quality food, not just canteen chips so I spent a lot of time cooking or preparing meals and fruit based snacks. She couldn’t get away from the hospital bed to get anything anyway.

Evenings were dark and lonely after my oldest daughter was in bed. Thorin’s walks were over quickly on the grass outside the house. I spent a lot of time lifting weights and trying to distract myself in a positive way that wasn’t on my phone. I couldn’t sleep very well; I don’t when she’s not there. And I read a lot of books on chess, downloading the chess.com app to play while at the hospital. At night I worked through games on the board. As the weeks went on I found myself sitting, with little purpose, knowing the things I need to do, and not doing any of them.

Just over four months later, as the eldest got her blue belt, our youngest daughter, now a newly turned four years old, got her orange belt from her amazing Little Ninjas Tae-Kwon-Do class. She couldn’t walk for most of these months, having to wear a near full body cast for four weeks after her stay in hospital. Then she had to learn to walk again. Then she had to learn to run, jump, balance, kick and hop again, and she’s done it. She even ran in her nursery sports day.

Both her and her sister have been a complete inspiration to me. My focus has had to shift, and my old love for Brazilian jiu-jitsu has re-emerged as a beacon of drive, attitude, action and lifestyle in my mid-40s. The way they both love their martial art, enjoy it and have fun, yet get the job done and take it completely seriously when it has to be is incredible to see in such young girls. In my girls. I am equally proud of them both and the people they are becoming. They were chuffed to bits for me when I got my first stripe and I couldn’t wait to show them.

“Don’t worry dad, you’ll get a belt one day”.

And maybe one day I will, but for now I’m just as happy to see where these guys are going.

Live Deliberately,


Currently listening too: Clifford Brown with Strings. Thanks to Harry Bosch for that one.

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