What I’ve Learnt From 16 Months As A Parent

It’s a surprisingly short list if you remove the mechanical elements such as changing the odd nappy.

  1. Your child is the greatest child that ever was and ever will be. All others are merely flawed imitations.
  2. Things that work for other people probably won’t work for you. Things that work for you probably won’t work for other people.
  3. 45 minute sleep cycles introduce a new, deeply enduring level of fatigue by about the second month. 80 hour working weeks are a laugh by comparison, as is sleep deprivation due to acute illness. It is a different animal.
  4. You don’t need half the shit people think you need.
  5. Second hand is better than first hand, for every reason.
  6. Having help is helpful. Hats off to single parents, they are warriors.
  7. Children are like dogs in many ways; one is that they force you to meet new people. Helpful for an introvert, and also helpful that mine is super cute. I’m the dad with the super cute daughter. Get your 16 month old to high-five or wave at a stranger and they become like putty in your hands. I’m not sure what you do with the putty, though.
  8. Those special possessions you loved when you were childless and were so proud of that you decorated your house with need to get put away. Those possessions you don’t really care about need to get put away too. Screw, lock, nail and chain anything and everything down, and don’t use 1 nail for a 2 nail job. 3 nails, minimum.
  9. Quality communication with your partner is hard when your fatigue level is pushing 11.
  10. If you genuinely try to do a good job, it’s good enough.

If I can do 16 months you sure as shit can too. A highly recommended experience.

Special thanks to my high fiving, animal loving, arm crossing, face pulling, waving, kiss blowing and truck noise making daughter.

 

Legacy

Legacy is a strange word.

To me, it means shitty, old software. No one likes old software, except for that weird guy that writes the Game of Thrones novels. I’m pretty sure he writes his novels on a preschool xylophone plugged into a potato, or some other similarly under-appreciated root vegetable.

Line 2 and we’re off on a tangent, things are going well. Let’s start again:

Your legacy is what you leave behind.

I’m unlikely to leave behind a multi-billion dollar estate and world-changing body of work, but I’ve recently started to consider what my legacy might actually look like.

I’ve been very aware of my own mortality since my early 20’s, but now that I’ve got a +1 in the family I’m more curious than ever as to what I’m going to leave behind. As a software engineer, I’m sure everything I’ve ever written and ever will write will be horribly redundant by the time I’m gone. Even if I meet an untimely end, my body (a poor pun) of work will age (nailed it) almost instantly, such is the nature of software and computing in the modern world.

I’ll probably last at least a few years in the minds of a few people as a slightly (largely) irritating, over-sized dork. After a few years I’ll probably be remembered as slightly more handsome though, so that’s nice.

Will there be anything else, short of the fallible and ultimately fleeting human memory of me?

There is a small chance some of my woodworking projects will still be around. Possibly a chair, possibly a bench seat, maybe a stool? I should really move away from wood, and into the warm loving embrace of steel so that my shoddy workmanship can live on through the ages. Welders are cool, welding is cool, and the helmets are great. Being able to stick 2 pieces of metal together like they’re nothing is a special skill indeed.

I’ll hopefully have some form of legacy through my kid(s), so if I do a decent job there I guess I can claim that, but that’s a little weird. Their achievements are their own, mine are mine and ours are ours.

If I was gone tomorrow it looks like I’ve got some oddly assembled sticks, some soon to be obsolete code, and some words to my name.

And I wouldn’t have even owned a welder.

Sad.

Words are powerful, and so I’m going to try to write some. I hope that the things that I write will give my family insight when I’m gone.

No one lasts forever, and that’s a good(?) thing.