You make me want to be a better man

It’s been an incredible week, it being F’s first Christmas, her first birthday today and, to top it off, her first King George VI Chase at Kempton Park yesterday.


I say it’s her first Boxing Day at Kempton but considering F was born on 27 December, there’s a strong case to make that this was the second visit. Now, I’m no “pro-life” campaigner nor one to argue that she was a sentient being from the moment of conception, but, come on, if F had opened her eyes and looked in the right direction during our trip a year ago, she would have been able to see some of the racecourse.

Granted, for F to have had any chance of seeing Silvianaco Conti win in style in 2014, V would have had to put herself in a pretty odd position, probably needing some hospital stirrups and the use of binoculars on a selfie stick to position them correctly in front of her tagine, none of which would have gone down well with the regulars.

On the walk down to Kempton, V equated F’s trip to the races last year as akin to her stopping off in Dubai for refuelling on the way to Hong Kong, but not leaving the plane. In her mind, she has never been to Dubai as she was incubated within the plane in the same way as F was incubated within V at the races last year.

Not sure I buy that analogy but I’m not going to push the argument too far, so for the purposes of F’s life stats I’ll stick with yesterday’s trip being her first.

Anyway, you’ll be thrilled to know that she had her first winner having pointed in the direction of Cue Card in the racecard for the big race and then watched him win a pulsating renewal just getting home in a photo-finish, catching the long-time leader, Vautour, on the line.

I appreciate that there’s always a risk that winning one’s first bet leads to a life of addiction, poverty, destitution, drug-abuse, prostitution and a lonely death in an opium den in Hackney at the age of 32, but no need to worry as her first bet was actually Bekkensfirth in the second race that lost by half a length,  so think she’ll be alright.

I’ll be honest, I was less excited about her first Christmas as, not meaning to be Scrooge about it, it’s just another day really, albeit one in which F gets even more excited than normal, becomes totally over-stimulated and doesn’t sleep properly – so all-in a bit of a pain. 

Her birthday is a different matter, not that I’m one for a celebration with all the other local babies, none of whom have a clue what’s going on, but it does give a chance to reflect on an incredible year.

This time a year ago was a surprising but brilliant day with V going into labour in the early hours of the morning and F finally burrowing out just before midnight. F was 18 days early so she put paid to our exciting plans for our last week or so of being a family of just two……not that I am complaining.

It’s hard not to look back at the year without thinking about what an amazing impact F has made on our lives and how she has changed our outlook on things.

I’m sure there are hundreds of blogs with long lists of interesting, funny, emotional and tiring antics of their little ones during 2015 and fascinating reflections of their child’s first year, and many by much better writers than me, so I’m not going to try to replicate. Instead, as normal when trying to put my feelings into words, I draw on my go-to pool of knowledge that I always fall back on at emotional times – romcoms.

Is it strange to draw life-learnings from light-hearted movies with a romantic leaning? Not sure, but personally I think there is lot to be gained from them – anyone who had the misfortune to listen to my rambling speech at my wedding will remember that it was at least 75% based on Groundhog Day!

Anyway, the one that springs to mind when thinking about F and her first year is “As Good as it Gets” with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. The clip below is the famous scene where Jack pays his ultimate compliment to woo Ms Hunt. It makes me cry a bit just watching it again, but maybe I’m just in a soppy frame of mind.

Anyway, I feel the same.

F – I want to be the best I can be for you and the changes I’ve made, and am making, in the last few months of 2015 and into 2016 are all just part of that.

Thank you F, you’ve changed my life, our lives, and you will always will.

I love you.


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