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On the occasion of Father’s Day, a story without an end

Yes, the moment you become a father is the most beautiful moment in your life. Afterwards, however, it is often not so beautiful, it’s worth remembering that, instead of writing another wistful text: the day drastically becomes shorter and shorter, you have less and less time for your buddies, and if you have time for yourself, it is at the crack of dawn or late at night. Have I mentioned that it is also difficult to have some time for your relationship the children are the fruit of?

I understand people who deliberately give up on having children. I really do. And I’m perfectly aware of the fact that this is a terrible sentence for a parenting blog, which is also the case of Sure, we write about travels, but mainly about travels with our children, so the term “family travel blog” is by all means justifiable.

However, I will repeat: I understand people who don’t want to have children. I am not condemning them, I am not judging them. As every parent sometimes does (or at least many parents do, I think), there are moments when I think to myself: what was all of this for? Some parents won’t admit it, but they’ve probably been thinking this way. It’s the same as with dog owners – they are divided into those who let their dogs sleep in their bed and those who tell everyone that they don’t allow that.

I admit that sometimes I do think to myself: what was all of this for? 35 years of having fun as a bachelor, thousands of books read, always at the disposal of my friends. I was working hard, had a great time and did not complain. And then love came along (I already know that Ela won’t be delighted to read this column), two children were quickly born. Don’t believe those who say you can live your life the way you used to and that the world doesn’t change – it doesn’t change as much as it stays far behind the tail of the rocket you’re flying on into space at a dizzying pace. All the more that my Parents – my beloved Parents, as I’m raising Nela and Żywek I appreciate them even more every day – aren’t able to help us, and Ela lost her Dad many years ago. I will also add that I consider myself to be an almost exemplary father – I spend a lot of time with my kids, I always bathe them, since they were born, I talk and read to them a lot, I give up on many more or less important professional and private meetings. You could say that I’m sacrificing myself, but this is not a right word, I wouldn’t like it to sound this way. I’m simply there, with them. I’m a responsible dad.

When children are born, after euphoria, fear arises. Often you haven’t quite yet realized that they’re already there, and they are standing next to you, laughing insolently. This fear, for your children, will be with you throughout your life, regardless of whether they are with you (I know and experience this fear when two-and-a-half-year-old Nela jumps off the couch’s backrest, or when they are both racing on their bikes) or are attending a summer camp at the other end of Europe (this fear I am yet to experience). “I” am no longer – it is “us”. There’s no longer such thing as quick shopping, as there is always some cool book for the kids catching your eye, some clothes or a toy, which they already have so many of that you would prefer to throw it all out – especially since everything is lying all over the living room. There are no mornings lasting until noon, no evenings ending in the morning. I could also write that there’s no fantasy and spontaneity, because everything has to be planned and adapted to the rhythm of life of the kids, but here, however, me and Ela do everything we can to have some of it for each other. Because somewhere in your head there is a thought that if you gave yourself over to the kids, you’d actually do yourself and the kids harm.

Thus, I understand those who consciously choose a lonely life. Those who spend money on travels, books and broadly understood entertainment. They divide their time between work and pleasure, and not work and home duties. And sometimes I envy them...

But these are just moments, even if there are many of them. Because, in the morning, it’s not a cat or a dog that wakes you up, but Żywek or Nela, asking whether they can hug you. Because every day you look at the small copies of yourself and your wife, you try to pass on them everything you’ve learned, or what you once lacked. Because you see how these two creatures develop, how they get bigger and smarter every day. You know that in a few years’ time they’ll say that “they weren’t asking to live in this world” and that “parents are stupid”, but you believe that this will happen rather late (or you delude yourself into thinking that it won’t happen at all). You are happy to sacrifice your professional and social life, because you know that there’s someone who needs more attention and time than you do. Just one gaze of those small giant eyes is enough, one grip of this delicate hand, the words “hug me”, and you know that all this makes sense, and you’re the luckiest man alive. And when you hear them saying “Dad, Daddy” – and you hear it dozens of times a day – you know that it is as good as it gets.

Today, on the occasion of Father’s Day, I received two wonderful cards and even sweeter wishes from Nela and Żywek. I also bought Nela a balance bike, because she broke the one Żywek used to ride, during one of her falls. In addition,
I registered the whole family for Runmageddon – in a week, we are all going to Jastrzębie-Zdrój, to face the mud and ourselves as well. So the weekend looks very promising, because our kids on the road are actually fantastic and the number of small cries and crises is in inverse proportion to the number of attractions we come across during our trips. It’s actually harder to get them under control at home.

And what did you buy for your little ones on Father’s Day?