It’s a regular occurrence
Load the car
Into the night we drive
Hoping kids will sleep
Relief as I see emerging
The lights of the city
But still hours to go.
A child cries, time to stop
Toilet for all, a drink, a rest
Point the car, drive.
Into darkness following a dotted line
Leading to family, rest, recreation.
A man on the radio discusses religion
Inviting other late night crazies
A welcome distraction
Each caller an important opinion
Stressing their point to the few caring to listen.
Later the traffic thins
I am the only one awake
Everyone sleeps, curled up
In dreams of Christmas and birthdays.
The miles go by, stay awake I urge
There is a lot at stake, not far now.
Mileposts flash by, trees stand sentinel
Like a guard of honour watching
Guiding me home.
I will worry should they move.
Past midnight, the home stretch
Familiar tracks, lights on roadhouses
Sheltering the weary, the insomniacs,
As I journey on, my goal in sight
‘Are we there yet?’ A pleading eight year old.
‘Nearly sweetie, not far now.’
My music floods me, a favourite song
My mind comes alive, I sing along
Casting memory to other times
Times when I felt free, alive
Now my life is prescribed,
Fatherhood dictates behaviours
Children demand attention, needs and wants
Far beyond my own, my life not my own
But dedicated to them, their safety
Their lives taking shape, their dreams.
My time will come I know, some day
At the far end of another road
My deserving end will arrive.
I will take that road, willingly,
My time served, then to enjoy the spoils
Of a promised life, my own.
A light shines in my eyes, reality sinks in
A few more bends and then a turn right.
Kids stirring, Nanna’s is in sight,
I turn the corner, see my mum,
Standing on the veranda, waiting.
I sigh, relief, home again.