no-jacket-required

No Jacket Required

My wife’s first labour was long. Twenty-six hours long. And this was after she was induced a full fourteen days after our due date. Our son was in no hurry to embrace the big wide world and taking his sweet time is a character trait that has continued throughout his life.

Miles does things at his own pace, whether it’s taking a bath, putting his shoes on or getting out of the damn car. In peaceful, relaxed places like Fiji, they operate on their own time scale known as Fiji-time. In not so peaceful, stressful places like our house before school, we operate on Milo-time.

After fourteen hours of labour and with things progressing painfully slowly on Milo-time, my wife was having a nap and the nurses suggested I head out for some fresh air. As any dad-to-be will tell you, when the nurses and midwives tell you to do something, you do it and I dutifully wandered out into the daylight.

Not far from the hospital, I found myself in a Gazman store unable to resist the urge to try on a brown cord jacket. An interesting item of clothing at any time, but neither its colour nor its material are the most peculiar part of this story. After trying it on, I actually bought the jacket. Again, not the most peculiar part of the story.

That particular honour goes to the fact that this jacket didn’t fit me. It will never fit me. It’s enormous. A good five or six sizes too big. It’s the kind of jacket your mum would helpfully suggest you’d grow into one day. But I was 33 when Miles was born, my growing up was as done as it was going to get. Growing out? Maybe. Growing up? No chance.

In not so peaceful, stressful places like our house before school, we operate on Milo-time…

Now, who knows what the shop assistant thought I was doing. Maybe he thought the birth of my firstborn was an occasion worthy of a jacket, but some kind of intervention would’ve been helpful. I can’t have been the first sleep-deprived nit to wander in and do this. And who knows what the midwives thought when I wandered back into the delivery suite with my brown jacket poking out the top of my shopping bag. And who knows what I’m thinking now.

Ten years on, I still have the jacket. It lives in a cupboard and every now and then I get it out, try it on and realise that while I haven’t grown physically, I’ve grown plenty personally since Miles came along. There’s still no chance of growing up, but there’s an even smaller chance of throwing the jacket out; that jacket is definitely on Milo-time.




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