Monday, 18 June 2012

Fathers Day goes up in flames...almost

Do you know those Father's Day surprises arranged by the kids - the ones where the kids bring dad breakfast in bed, then wait with bated breath while he opens his present - all without setting your premises alight?

Well, that would be the exact OPPOSITE of the father's day surprise my kids planned for Mo. Shakeel (13) had a friend sleep over, which could account for him (as chief organiser and co-ordinator) being more daring and over-the-top than usual.


Like with Mother's Day, they set the breakfast table outside. Unlike Mother's Day, Fathers Day fell on a flippin freezing day. Anyway, a singular table was set in the backyard. Underneath the table, in stones, they spelled the word D A D, which I thought was really cool. What I didn't know was that Shakeel had made his way into Mo's workshop, acquired a bottle of thinners and carefully poured the highly flammable liquid onto the stones. While I was inside calling Mo out to his surprise breakfast, they set the word alight. Upon hearing the excited shrieks I looked through the window and witnessed the word D A D, ablaze in all it's glory. My horrified ear-piercing shriek got Mo running and by the time both of us had made it outside, the fire was starting to spread. Shakeel was standing with the hosepipe hosing down the flames. A few flames moved onto the stone pathway. In response to my shrieking, Shakeel, in his attempt to maintain some semblance of coolness in front of his friend, proceeded to extinguish it the cool way - by stepping on it. I could have throttled him there and then.

Anyway, to cut a long traumatic story short, the fire was doused. Although it hadn't grown beyond a few flames, I cannot stop thinking how close we came to disaster. What if it had spread uncontrollably?

Mo and I decided to leave 'the talk' with Shakeel until later. After thanking a despondent-looking Shakeel for his efforts, Mo moved the breakfast indoors.

I was really surprised at my son's lapse in judgement. We knew that he knew where the workshop key was, but didn't think he would do something like that. He is usually so sensible. It was just a reminder to us that he is just a child and we should take the same precautions with him that we do with his younger sisters. What an eye-opener!

Later the afternoon we headed out for a drive. Instead of heading for a pre-determined destination, one of Mo and my favourite things to do, is to drive to a neighbouring dorpie (town). Despite the fact that we usually do this on Sundays when everything is closed, this allows one to appreciate the town for its beauty without the distractions of large amounts of people.

Yesterday we headed off to Paarl. We drove up the Main Road admiring the beauty of this little town. Oh and how beautiful this place is! I wished I could stop to snap pictures of every beautiful sight and every historical landmark. But the kids would have none of it. They kept reminding me that it was Father's Day, not Mother's Day - implying that the day should not be spent doing what I want - but what they want instead.

Die Afrikaanse Taalmuseum

Up to the Paarl Mountain Reserve

After stopping off for lunch and exploring the sights, we ended up at a park where the kids played soccer and ran around to their hearts' content.


Mo's tendency to always be prepared came in handy - when Aisha's nappy failed to hold her pee, he had a 5 liter can of warm water ready to give her a quick wash.

When the older kids all complained about needing to pee before we left, we headed to McDonalds to buy ice-cream so that we could use their toilets.

On our way home driving down the N1, both Mo and I became a bit teary listening to the radio, thinking of our own fathers. Josh Groban's ''To where you are'' transported me right back to the intense grief I experienced immediately after my dad's death.

Those emotional few moments also made me realise how lucky my kids are to have such an amazing hands-on dad. He is so thoughtful, always anticipating and addressing the needs of each of his kids (even if it means working two jobs, which he does without complaining). His silly sense of humour and clever wit never fail to bring a smile to their faces. My kids truly are blessed to have Super-Mo for a dad.

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