It’s New Year’s Eve: the night of the year which highlights more than any other the gulf that exists between the lives of those who have been blessed with children and the lives of those who have been blessed with a lack of children.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying the grass is greener on the other side of that gulf. I don’t think it is inherently greener on either side. It’s just that I like both types of grass, and it kind of sucks that you can only eat, sit on, or smoke one or the other, but not both. Growing up, I always thought that freedom of choice meant the freedom to choose everything, but that turned out not to be the case.
So I won’t be seeing in the New Year this year (again) – I’ll be lucky to stay up until the consolation fireworks at 9.30 – but hey, at least I get to live in a country where the sick, the old, and the parents of young kids get to see fireworks too.
Anyway, my intention in this post was not to trot out tired old whining parental clichés. I just wanted to let you know who my fathers of the year are…. My fathers of the year (drum roll, please)… are Louis C.K. and Tim Minchin. I chose these two comedians for exactly the same reason, because they both say the unsayable, and because in doing so, they describe so perfectly the incredible ambivalence(s) that can lie at the heart of your relationship with your kids.
Before I present the awards, here is Tim Minchin’s song ‘Lullaby’, as an example of what I’m talking about (before you listen, I know some of you have quite delicate sensibilities – yes, I’m talking about you Granny Joan – so be warned, there are concepts and language in this that you may find offensive).
My favourite Louis C.K. take on parenting comes from an episode from season 2 of his brilliant and uncomfortable series ‘Louie’, where he talks about the fact that as a parent you can feel incredible love for your kids, and an overwhelming sense of how much richer your life is as a result of them coming into it; while at the same time deeply regretting every decision you made that led to their birth.
I couldn’t find that clip, but I found this one, which doesn’t exemplify my point at all, but which I liked anyway.
I’ll be accepting both awards on behalf of Tim and Louis, as neither of them were able to come to this year’s awards ceremony.
Happy New Year, everyone. My New Year’s resolution is to take my blog to the next level in 2013, so wish me luck as I try to work out what the next level is, and whether going there requires obtaining some kind of council permit.