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Daddy Moments... The playground

Daddy Moments... The playground

Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 19:48

So there I was, boldly marching through those gates, proudly leading my children into the playground, after a hectic struggle to keep them on the pavement and out of dog poo. In front of me stood hoardes of people. All of them busy chatting with each other while their little ones ran around like lunatics. It was my first school drop-off.

Everywhere I looked, mothers. Mothers chatting, mothers licking tissues to wipe across struggling little faces, mothers making arrangements, mothers nodding, mothers laughing, mothers....mothers mothers MOTHERS!!! Where were all these drop-off dads I kept hearing about? Suddenly I felt all alone. My little ones had now flown my temporary nest and were running around the playground like lunatics, leaving me on my own. I stood there, only able to watch on, as mothers greeted each other, laughed, arranged things on their phones, and licked tissues for little faces. The only reason I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb was because absolutely no one noticed me.

 I stood there alone and afraid. The mothers all knew what they were doing. This was their domain. They were filled with confidence and they knew how it all worked. But I had no one to talk to. No one to share the details of my day with. I was cast out from this society and nobody cared. I was scared, nervous, embarrassed...and ashamed that I had put myself in this position by trying to please my grateful wife. Now I was really in trouble. I stood there, a solitary figure, and the loneliness was eating into my soul. Me; the playground outcast. I was left with only one option. Run. Run as fast as I could and as far away as possible. Escape as quickly as I could from this hell pit. But I couldn’t do that. I would be abandoning my children. Okay one option left. Take the kids with me. We would escape, me and the two little ones, find somewhere new, and live as refugees, far away from this place of persecution...

 But I couldn’t do that. This was their school. They were among their friends. And their mother was one of these strange unfriendly playground people. She was part of this hostile tribe. It wasn’t my duty to take my family away from these herds of unsympathetic wildlife, grazing on their unforgiving, unwelcoming playground terrain.

But the loneliness was deepening, and the air lay cold around my bones. In front of me I witnessed mothers in unity, communicating with each other, happy to be together.

And still nobody noticed me.

But then to my incredible delight... a glimmer of hope, a ray of sunlight. I saw at the far end of the crowd, another man. He was similar to me, standing alone, looking uneasy. Our eyes met for a brief second and I felt the relief oozing off both of us. Another dad!!! He started to walk towards me. He wanted to be near me. No longer would I be a lonesome figure among billions of mothers. He was standing close to me now.

 And then suddenly to my amazement  I saw another man. A tall dad, coming towards me from a different direction. He stopped and stood near me, close to the other dad. Now there were three of us. Three dads! We could communicate with each other. We could now talk, and laugh, and nod and arrange things, and be dads together as a group, and not feel lonely.

All at once we pulled out our phones from our pockets and tapped away, ignoring each other, pretending to be busy.


For more information go to Neil Kerber and follow him @neilkerber1

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