On 6 June 2018, I made the decision to leave my two roles—web architect within the digital communications team and warden of Agnes Blackadder Hall within student services—at the University of St Andrews and strike out on a new adventure.
My plan, such as it was, was to take a few months out to focus on my health before plunging back into gainful employment. The previous two years had been rather brutal on my health
Those plans came to a shuddering halt two weeks later while my (now late) mother was visiting. As I got up off the sofa I felt an excruciating pain across my lower back and I dropped to the floor in agony. I couldn’t stand up; I crawled upstairs to bed. I knew that something terrible had happened. A few days later my physio confirmed that I had herniated a disc in my spine. L5.
This morning at breakfast I realised that it’s exactly one week to Jane’s birthday; six months to Reuben and Joshua’s birthday; and six months minus one week to my birthday.
So I couldn’t let today go by without wishing Reuben and Joshua a very happy 1½th birthday! That’s right they are 18 months old today. I can hardly believe it: we’ve survived them and they’ve survived us.
A year and a half
The last year and a half has been such an emotional and physical roller coaster; an incredible learning curve for us all. Not just in terms of the practicalities of how to look after two babies (now toddlers) but also learning about ourselves under pressure, and Jane and I learning more about each other.
It’s not been easy. At times it’s been really, really difficult. But it has been an amazing journey, an amazing adventure. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. In the past I’ve worked in homeless hostels, in a prison and as a hospital chaplain. Those jobs now look easy in comparison!
And we have the loveliest, sweetest boys who wave “bu-bye!” to their feet when they are zipped into their sleeping bags at night, or who tilt their heads to the side when coming in for a cuddle before racing off after the cat (pronounced ‘soos’) or to carry a mop around the house. (Cuddles from Reuben and Joshua I’ve realised are amongst the two greatest things on the planet.)
Jane had them weighed and measured last week. Joshua’s doing really well with a pretty bang-on average weight and height for his age. Reuben, however, is currently at the 95th percentile for weight and off the chart for height. It turns out he’s the average height of a 2½ year old!
I have no idea where he gets it from? It’s certainly not from his 6’4″ father or 6’0″ mother! 😉
So, Reuben and Joshua just know that Daddy loves you and is more proud of you than anything else I’ve ever experienced. I love you.