“How can I help you Mr Ross?”
“I’ve been feeling a little down recently”
“You mean depressed?”
“Yes I suppose I do mean depressed”
And there you have it; one moment I am telling anyone and everyone how lucky I am to spend so much time with my son and yesterday I was hassling my GP to refer me to a counsellor for a little one on one couch time. A combination of factors have ganged up to send me down this path and I have been left feeling in need of a little nudge in the right direction.
I have days where getting up and putting on my Super Dad costume feels like a bridge too far. Don’t get me wrong the costume is always on and Max is none the wiser, it’s just that some days require more acting than others. I’m rational enough to know that I am going through a tricky time and that things will get easier and I am not so blinkered that I don’t see the special times as they pass by but that has obviously not been enough.
And so as of today I am on a journey to rediscover the good old me, to pursue those things that put a pep in my step. Never one to overcomplicate things I am going for a “more smiles” strategy, real smiles, not the fake ones you sometimes flash at passing parking inspectors. You can’t underestimate the power of a good smile in a parent’s day……….this gave me an idea, a slightly alternative idea and not necessarily a good one, but an idea all the same.
I will write letters, I will write letters to strangers, furthermore I will write letters to strangers telling them how fantastic they are. Who does not smile when they receive a compliment? Who does not smile when they receive a handwritten letter? And so I will handwrite compliments in the form of letters and leave them scattered around and about local parent hang outs!
I bought some beautiful stationery for added smile factor and set about putting pen to paper. I wrote 10 letters in all, each one was addressed “Something to Cheer You Up if You’re Having One of Those Parent Days” I understand that at this point some of you will be thinking “that is soooooo wanky” but I know that if I opened one of those little envelopes I would smile and that’s enough isn’t it?
Here are my little messages of happiness;
You are such an amazing parent that I thought I’d put it on paper
My little boy drew you a picture because he likes the way you parent
Voucher to the value of: One big well deserved hug on a job well done. Redeemable by: An outstanding parent…….you
You are an amazing, beautiful, wonderful person and you just happen to be a top drawer parent to boot
Your child can’t write yet so I thought I would do it for them – you are the best parent in the world
I left a daddownunder calling card at the bottom of the letter for anyone to reply, no obligations of course I’m just interested to see who got the letter and whether it had had the desired effect. Perhaps there might be a feel good follow up post?
And so in the still of night I got on my bike, thought about putting on a cape, thought better of it and pedalled my way around St Kilda’s top parent habitats pedalling smiles in an envelope. I taped letters to swings, stuffed them in cafe toy boxes and wedged them between books in the baby section of the library. I must confess that one of the letters had an intended target, a lovely lady and fantastic mother I have been lucky enough to meet and who has spoke candidly about feeling overwhelmed by the size of the task, this card I made sure found its recipient.
As for me I will give myself a little bit of maintenance and get back to being a glass half full kind of a guy. For anyone questioning why I am choosing to share this tale of woe, it’s because up to this point I haven’t been sharing what’s going on between my ears and perhaps it might resonate and help someone else out there. And yes knowing that I put a smile on someone else’s face did put one on mine.