I read somewhere that we never know the pivotal moments of our lives until they have passed. I understand that and agree with it but as with most things, there are exceptions. The day I joined the Navy stood out for me as well as the day I left. Another was when I lost someone very dear to me. Today is another one of those exceptions. You see, today, the 27th of June 2013, my wife and I brought our daughter home from the Special Care Nursery of Mater Hospital in Crows Nest, Sydney.
She had been born one month premature so needed the extra 2 1/2 weeks to grow bigger, breathe better and develop her sucking reflex before we could bring her home. It was quite difficult for both of us to leave her each night and to come home to a cold, empty apartment without her. However, if there is an example of enlightened beings in this temporal world, the nurses of Special Care must be them.
Of all the great nurses who cared for Marina, one managed to have a special bond with all three of us. Her name is Donna. She managed to guide and advise us in those early days without minimising our role. Each day, she would reassure us of our baby’s progress as well as our future potential as parents and was able to deliver commonsense, affirming advice that served to build up our confidence. Thank you Donna.
With Marina home now, I have time to think about the world she is born into. When she was born, our country had its first female Prime Minister, one who had to endure some of the most outrageous, misogynistic, vile commentary from the media, other politicians and ordinary voters. By the time our child came home today, PM Gillard had been deposed (just last night) and was retiring, making way for Kevin Rudd, a hypocritical egotist who sadly, is our only hope against Tony Abbott. I could write a whole blog about that guy but for now, I will just say that anything would be better than Tony Abbott.
She is being born into a world that continues to voraciously work its way through its dwindling resources while building up a level of pollution that will radically change the world in her lifetime. It will be her generation that will have to develop remedies for the mistakes of our current political leaders. Unfortunately, society is getting less and less co-operative and more and more individualistic. A society where concern for where the next dollar is coming from has a higher priority than concern for our poorest brothers and sisters; a society where a billion dollar casino project is needed to get this state moving again rather than the hospitals, schools and civil society which continue to fall apart around our ears.
I had always had an abstract understanding of how a father has concern for his children. I have enough mates with children to see some great examples to model my behaviour on. This brotherhood of fathers is a great resource and my daughter will have the benefit of some exceptional and loving aunties and uncles but ultimately, her health, safety and happiness will rest upon my shoulders and my wife’s for the foreseeable future. It is a heavy responsibility but one that will have tremendous rewards and some pitfalls along the way, but one thing is certain; it will be an adventure and it begins today.