Thursday March 7th – I stood at gate 2 at Coolangatta airport waiting for the wife and toddler to emerge through it. I was nervous. I didn’t know if the toddler person would speak to me and if it still believed I had betrayed it by leaving for work. Then they emerged and my heart beat faster. My family was going to be with me again and I was fucking excited.
I watched the toddler leading the wife into the arrivals part of the airport. It was so confident, it had taken charge as it led its heavily pregnant mother into this world it didn’t know and something quite profound hit me. This tiny 2 year-old was taking on the responsibility of looking after the wife.
I know all folk think their kid is smart – but damn – not only is the toddler smart, it has an empathy way beyond its years – and that to me, is the true sign of humanity. Love. Care. Support.
Then – its gaze met mine and it stopped in its tracks. My heart stopped for a moment and then the toddler’s face lit up and it ran into my arms screaming “da!” I lifted it and it wrapped its legs around me as its face pressed hard against mine. I finally felt whole again. Being without my family is very hard for me.
The toddler looked me in the eye and said “I missed you da”, as its little face turned sad and it hugged me hard again. The tears smashed from me. I was a blubbering mess as I held it – trying to impart how much I had missed it. A six-feet-four hundred and…. kilo man, losing it in public over a 13 kilo girl that was hanging off me as though I was the last thing on a sinking earth it could cling to.
I had been forgiven for leaving.
The toddler then regaled with every moment of the plane travel as all walked arm-in-arm to the baggage collection. It told me about all the clouds it had seen. It stuck to me like glue through the airport and insisted I carry it so it wouldn’t lose me. At the baggage claim it showed me its jumping skills and helped me put its car seat in by sitting in it and generally getting in the way – but hey! the toddler was with me.
On the weekend I had a blast with the nutters that are my kin and my best mate and his wife whose house we’re currently living in and trying not to toddler up. It’s very easy for a place to get toddlered. All it takes is one toy left on the floor as you turn around to get your phone. When one turns back – the walls have been destroyed and the toddler has somehow got into the locked cabinets and is covered in peanut butter holding a flare gun. Those of you that are yet to be parents – this is what happens.
Watching my wife and daughter play in the pool – I know I was favoured by some higher power. The toddler swims as though it’s the greatest thing on earth. The sheer joy on its cabbage-like head is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
As I write this, they are both asleep on the couch. I took a photo of them for my own amusement and memory. They leave me on Thursday to return home as they both have a movie they are in. It will be weeks before I see them again and I feel like howling.
The toddler has been loving its time on the Gold Coast. It has been to Dreamworld (which I never have and I used to lived here) and it got to drive the Aquaduck – which was a real highlight for it. It gets to swim in the Jaccon resort pool every day and its swimming skills are coming along well. It’s seen so much of the Gold Coast and got to spend time with great friends. There is so much love around the toddler.
I will attempt to milk the limited time I have with them until they fly out. At least the toddler will get to float among the clouds again and Easter isn’t that far away.
TO BE CONTINUED: