We’re on our way to Bunny World for the start of the summer season. Gilbert O’Sullivan is playing in the car, just like he always does. He’s reliable like that.
It's over now
you've had your fun
It seems it’s not just me. Or maybe I’ve been listening to him too much (some would say any O’Sullivan is too much). Is it the move? Is it age? Will I be like this forever now? Or just while my daughter is growing up? Is this what being a parent is?
..that much easier to be gone
One way to mask all this is to sit in an office doing something you don’t care about but which occupies most of your time. Not me, I’m off to Bunny World.
We arrive, my daughter drooping in her seat like a thirsty flower. I wake her up and she totters towards the turnstile with her thumb in her mouth and her hand in mine. We buy our tickets and bag of feed (one bag only allowed today, as the animals ‘might not be hungry’). We move through to the play area outside and the mums everywhere. I had forgotten the mums everywhere. They cluster. They chat. They laugh. I like mums as much as the next stay at home dad. But it’s always a shock. They watch me, I think. Well you would. A hairy guy with a girl in a bunny mask. It’s amazing to think I used to sit in an office pretending to be interested in computer screens and telephones. While the mums were all at Bunny World. I had no idea.
A few weeks ago at the Cotswold Farm Park there was a maze with questions and answers, one of which sent you down a dead end, the other onto the next question. I got half of them wrong, sending us careering down cul-de-sacs and having to squeeze back past annoyed parents and children. I feel like that nowadays. I’m a little lost. But it’s ok. It’s better than the charts and meetings and suits and all the stuff I could never work out the meaning of. I know now. There isn’t one.
My daughter runs to the swings, feet flapping and arms whirring. “Chase me daddy, chase me…”