It's tough for Monkees to blog sometimes

Well it’s been a pretty mixed up week with lots of things happening, some great, like Friday, (you know, last day of the week), some not so great, (the distance that happens between loved ones sometimes), but in all reality, it is a pretty charmed life that I lead. (Others may disagree!)

Friday night was another great Critical Mass Ride through Adelaide, with a pretty decent sized group. Critical Mass meets the last Friday of the month at Victoria Square, and travels various routes through the City, including roads, parkland trails, and the Linear Park. It is an opportunity for cyclists to gather, and enjoy the security of riding together in a group. The majority of the Mass are very responsible, and occupy only the one lane as requested, but there will always be one or two who like to stretch the boundaries a little!

Saturday was a cruisy day doing the fortnightly shop, followed by a nice leisurely coffee and snacks with Belinda at Copenhagen Henley Square. (Nice food, ok coffee!)

But today, Sunday, was the day I was most looking forward to. Originally it was because I was going to be taking photos of the CX race in the City run by PACC, followed by the second annual Tweed Ride. Tweed Ride is awesomely great fun, with everyone decking out in their finest tweed, and rolling out on some amazing classic machines from a time gone by. But a text message on Thursday night changed all that. Shorty, (My 13yo daughter), sent me a text saying that she would like to catch up with me again over the weekend.

Well, what is a keen cyclist to do, when his daughter says that she wants to catch up with him on Sunday? Well, I ditched the cycling events faster than a dose of epsom salts of course! I was excited to be able to see her again, as it had been quite some time since I had seen her. You can imagine my dismay then when another text came through on Saturday night, suggesting that she might not see me on Sunday after all, as she had played a tough game of netball that afternoon, and had taken a slight bump on her hip, but would text me Sunday morning and let me know.

The black dog came nipping at my heels again after that message, as I had been pinning so much hope to seeing her, and as I tend to do, had been saying to all and sundry how excited I was to finally be seeing her again! For those playing along at home and not fully aware of the situation, I left her mother in May, and understandably, Shorty has been quite angry at me for doing that. So, until she started to come to terms with things, and was prepared to see me and ask me her questions directly, I had to wait. There was no point pushing to see her, as that would have only angered her more.

Thankfully this morning, I got another text from Shorty saying that she was ok to see me, and that I could pick her up at 11am from her Mum’s place. Woohoo! Much rejoicing by me! So, I made sure I was there at 11am, and she really did seem happy to see me. To ease the inevitable tension that I knew would be there, I had some Emily the Strange goodies for her, that she really likes. So after having a look at one of her most recent school projects, and her report card, both of which were outstanding, we left to go and have some fun, and a bit of a catch up.

Shorty is an active kid, but also loves her games, so first port of call was Tunzafun Elizabeth, where it took sweet little time to blow a rapid fire $50, but she did love it, so well worth it! We ventured in to the Centre for some lunch, where it was an opportune time for us to have some deep and meaningfuls that she really needed from me, why I left, what I had been doing, all that fun stuff. Shorty is a bright girl, and she had been reading through some of the information that I had sent her Mum on financial settlement, then more importantly to her, parenting agreements.

She does not want to have two addresses, so I told her that would not happen, that her Mum’s address would be her address, so she was happy with that. But then she hit me with the big one, that she does not want to have a parenting agreement set up, she would rather it just be a random thing, therefore she would not feel it such a chore to see me. Well, that hurt a bit, but I can understand where she is coming from.

We ended up having a nice walk through the centre, and it gave me the opportunity to have some laughs with her, and buy her some new clothes that we had picked out together. I guess this is new territory for both of us, so it was a nice way for us to start to rebuild our relationship. Over the next few times that she wants to see me, we will look at more activities that we can do together. I really want to welcome her in to my world at some stage, an area where she has never really ventured, and get her playing on bikes with us, take her along to roller derby when that starts up again, and maybe even along to events like the City Bay.

I can really understand why some Dad’s out there get so frustrated at the system, and how it can seem to work against us Dad’s. I am luckier than many, I have the support of an amazing network of friends, and am also able to afford to pay the amount of financial support required, and have a little bit left over for myself. Mind you though, I am also lucky in that I have free rent at Dad’s place! If I was renting, living some sort of lifestyle, groceries, bills etc, the amount of child maintenance I have to pay would be killing me financially, which when coupled with reduced contact time with my daughter, would add to the emotional anguish that I can only assume most separated fathers go through.

But I also have an advantage in that no matter how bad things may seem to be, I know that the sun will always come up tomorrow, and that I have to be here to enjoy that sunshine.

I think, therefore I can resolve. Also my serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor tablets help me! (Ahh, Cymbalta, where would I be now without you? Deep sixed.)