I am not a grown-up. Surely I can’t be a grown-up if I sulk at having to fold the laundry or stack the dishwasher. I can’t be a grown-up if I still don’t quite understand the stock market. I mustn’t be a grown-up if I can’t change a car tyre or properly control my own heating system and regularly go about with odd socks on. Right?? And yet, here I am, grown. And with three whole, smallish, growing humans I am responsible for. Ahem. Co-responsible for.
Matt and I met when we were even less grown-up than the faux (hahaha no way, really?) grown-up we are now. We met, we married, we made a family. I became a mother and he became a father and we fell neck-deep into impersonating adults. Parenting is an insane thing to share with another person I’ve discovered. It’s terrifying, exposing and incredible. It’s an experience of love so elevating mixed with fear so searing and banality so deathly dull it cannot adequately be described. It certainly cannot be prepared for. Through parenting Matt and I have never been more tested. Parenting has torn us apart and soldered us back together, a scrappy, patched-up mess. Our marriage, our grown up-ness, if you could see it, probably looks like something ungraceful and tattered, made stronger from its tears and scars, robust and delicate, worn and hopeful. At this point, almost ten years in and with three madcap daughters in tow, the love and laughter we share is earned and hard won. Magic and luck has run low and hard graft has had to make up for the shortfall.
As parents Matt and I are utterly imperfect. I shout too much and lose my cool too quickly. We are often on our phones when we should be paying attention. We say and do the wrong things, all the time. Except, of course, when we manage to the right thing, which does happen too. Before I had kids I thought that loving them would be enough and that loving them would see us through everything. I had complete blind faith in loving as the clear and simple answer to absolutely everything. Now I know that loving isn’t always enough. There are things that loving cannot miraculously, instantly fix. But it is something. It’s a big something.
Matt loves our girls and me; he loves us like crazy. Sometimes, when he’s staring at one of our daughters, I can see the love in his face, in his eyes; love so fierce and explosive he could spontaneously combust. Into rainbows. He is perpetually cuddly and steadfastly protective of us. He is probably more optimistic than I am, more likely to think that things are fine even when they are a bit not-fine. He works doggedly and in earnest, with unfailing integrity. He believes in us all madly; is completely convinced we are the best people on the planet. Even when he comes home grumpy or distracted he can still make us laugh, can still act like a huge, charming (somewhat irritating) toddler and have us in stitches. He looks at us like we are the most beautiful beings he has ever seen. He is, undoubtedly, a good Dad.
Matt wasn’t very keen on being interviewed but I persevered and eventually he paused the Netflix. That’s right, take note, he paused the Netflix for you guys. So you’d better read his answers and comment and make him feel good, or you might never hear from him again…
Hi Matt. So, who are you (other than what you do for a job)?
I’m a man who loves his family, who wants to enjoy life to the fullest and see amazing places and watch my children grow with my wife beside me.
What are some of your favourite things?
The ocean, the snow, my children, my family, markets, farms, meat, barbecue, soup… I have this idea lately of cooking heaps of onions and making a French onion soup.
What are some of your least favourite things?
Selfishness, egos, judgmental people, balloons, wind, Auckland winters – being hot one minute and cold the next.
What’s the best thing about your kids?
They are thoughtful with each other. They respect each other. They are kind people.
What do you wish for?
To see my children’s children, with my wife by my side. To travel places with my wife by my side. For my wife to take up skiing and love it.*
How did you meet Hannah?
She worked with me in my first job in NZ. She came into my office and I remember thinking “Wow.”
Tell us something funny about your love story…
Something funny about it? I’m not sure it’s really funny but we did snog at a Christmas party. I shared with her that I’d had lightening bolts about her. That seemed to do the trick. We got married two years later.
Describe your marriage in three words
Love, laughter and gratitude.
Anything else you’d like to say
I believe you get one life and you should live it how you want to, don’t listen to anyone else. Be nice to people. Be polite. Love a lot.
Thank you, Matt. You are a good Dad and bloody decent grown up. We love you a lot. Happy Fathers Day to all the great Dads out there, being imperfect, being great.
Hannah x x x
* Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! No.
Happy Fathers Day Matty! Hanzy I love that you called it “the” Netflix! I’m curious to know why soup is in Matt’sr favourite things??? Great read team. Xo
Aw, Matt. We miss you so much. You’re one of our favourite humans. Hannah, you’re not bad either. 😉
Awh love it!! I wanna know if you made the French onion soup?
I love that you both love fiercely, whole heartedly and are lough out loud funny ( I can’t bring myself to do the lol, I’m too old for that cool text) … big love and happy Father’s Day Matt, enjoy lots of cuddles with your 4 gorgeous girls ❤️
The Netflix, The Facebook, The Interwebs, Amanda Lololol Matt – can you explain your soup thing? I don’t quite get it myself. I’m more about cake and biscuits.
Thanks Ria! Glad I kind of almost sort of make the cut
I added emoji (‘the emoji’) into my comment but they did not show up. If you could please just imagine a much more expressive tone of voice…
You know those people in life that make you grin from ear to ear at the sight of their face.. Will Farrell, James Corden, .. Matt Ballesty.. ha ha! I think it’s an expression that’s summed up in your first pic Hannah. The dynamic duo are you two, full of warmth fun, humanity, heart, honesty (sorry out of H words). Love that you are my friends… Oh and quick sticks get into the kitchen and whip me up some french onion soup .. Big love always, Hope your gorgeous girls spoiled you lots on Fathers Day x
Aww, Faithy T – just got this!! Bless you x x x