Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | May 2020

Confessions of a Queenstown Dad | May 2020 1602 1773 The Flyer Magazine

Captain’s Log: Star date May 4, 2020

It’s been 45 days since I’ve been trapped in this prison with these small alien creatures. All they seem to do is eat and say, ‘I’m bored’, 16 hours a day. They bicker between themselves on whose turn it is to pick the “entertainment”. This entertainment seems to be an online portal called YouTube and consists of cats, kids hurting themselves and dads getting hit in the nether regions. They seem to thrive on this pursuit of human suffering. I’m not sure I’ll be able to take much more of this torture.

I mean they are fairly cute and sometimes do domestic chores, but they just don’t stop, like ever. Even in their sleep they make peculiar noises and the occasional snort or cry. My only refuge is either an amber or red liquid that the natives of this planet drink. One has a yeasty, wheat flavour and the other is fermented fruit. Both when consumed seem to make the evenings and/or early afternoons, sometimes mornings, more bearable. However, I have found that a copious amount of either of these liquids is like a truth serum which has gotten me into trouble with the female of the species that I am stationed with. It also can have an offensive bite the next day if I consume too many. So I’ve decided not to partake in this liquid again.

If this is a familiar scenario to you, then you’re not alone. This six weeks, or whatever it is now, has felt weird. Yes, we have spent more time as a family together, and there have been some awesome moments.  And yes, we have decided that before this lockdown, we spent too much on ‘things’ and need to make a conscious effort to buy ‘better’ and not ‘buy more’. We are also making a conscious effort to support local as much as we can. 

But it’s actually been hard. Two parents trying to work and home school and re-explain why we can’t just go and see Grandma and Grandad and our friends, why we can’t go on holiday and why we can’t go to the shops. It’s been hard as two small businesses navigating all of this while trying to stay mentally, physically and spiritually well, and home school. (FYI – I’m going to ask for another class if this goes on much longer. These ones don’t listen).

So if it hasn’t been all roses and chocolates and all baking together and singing songs in the evening, then that’s ok. We have had some great memories, but I’m under no illusion that I’m a perfect parent or husband. But what I have done is I’ve made a conscious effort to tell my children and my wife that I love them, but not necessarily like them at that present point in time. I’ve made sure that even when I’m trying to get work done, that I stop and make eye contact and listen when they come up to me and ask a question or want to show me something. This is something I’ve had to learn to do as I’m someone who will talk to people while ‘on my phone’. It’s a habit I’m trying to break, because we are human and we need to feel like we are cared for and listened to. Connection is important, and when that’s taken away from us in the normal form that we are used to, we need to make sure that we make an effort to ensure it counts.

Stay safe
Shaun