October 06, 2004

Changing bodies

Possumy Pumpkin,

It's interesting being in our house at the moment. Your mum and I are both undergoing experiences that are changing our bodies, and mean that we're hungry and tired basically all the time.

While your mum concentrates on making your elbows, (she's been saying that for weeks , I reckon she must have moved on to making something else by now), I'm working on getting fit.

While I've spoken to you before about the fact that I'm going to the gym and working on my fitness, I don't know that I've talked about why.

Along with the realisation that you're coming, that I'm going to be a father, has been a realisation that you're not going to be a baby for long. That before I know it you're going to be a toddler, then a young child, then an older child, then a teenager and a young adult. Along with that journey comes, in my opinion, a responsibility to be the best role model that I can be.

I was lucky enough as a young person to have two men in my life who I saw as father figures. It is through the combination of their examples that I know both who won Bathurst in 1981 (Dick Johnson in an XD Falcon) and the etymology of the word "telephone" (ancient Greek, "tele", meaning "long distance", "phone", meaning "speak"). The problem that faces me now is that I must distil all of the advantages I gained from this double upbringing and attempt to bring it to you.

Part of that is, I think, trying to make sure that I feel good enough about myself to be able to feel like the example I am providing you is worthwhile. It also means trying now, in this final six or so months before your birth, to plug the gaps in what I had planned for you. Going to the gym a lot and learning to speak French are the two things I have identified as being large changes to myself that I can make in a relatively short time.

In the life of a man, it is true that he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to live up to his father's legacy. Now that I am to be a father myself, I only hope that I can provide for you even a shadow of the paternal upbringing I was privileged to encounter at the hands of two very fine men.

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