Since becoming a dad three and a half years ago to my daughter Edie, and then again three months ago to my son Arlo, I’ve swamped Instagram (probably to the annoyance of many – #sorrynotsorry) with countless photos of my children. I’d hope it’s obvious that I adore them through my incessant posts but perhaps I’ve never actually written down why I love being a dad.
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So, I thought now, as life has settled down a little after the birth of Arlo, it might be a good time to record just what it is that leaves me as high as a Peppa Pig shaped kite.
I’ve always wanted children. I grew up with two sisters and enjoyed a wonderful childhood. Despite on occasion driving our parents up the wall and giving their credit cards a good walloping, we brought them huge amounts of joy and still do - hopefully (despite further credit card wallopings!) So as a ‘grown up’, I kind of knew as soon as I met ‘the one’ there would be no holding back. Aged 28, I met Georgia, the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen and within two years we were expecting.
Edie being born changed everything. I’ve never felt my heart ache with so much love before. It’s different kind of love you feel for you partner; I mean I’d take a bullet for either of them but a child is so helpless and pure, that you feel life has led to this moment – you must protect, guide and love this perfect bundle of beautiful innocence as if your life depends on it. Such responsibility is huge, the challenge is immense but the fun you have along the way, whilst teaching your child about the world that surrounds them, is enormous.
With the birth of Arlo, I’ve been reminded again of the early joys, most notably the initial milestones. Whilst being born is clearly the biggest and most important of milestones, there are many more that bring so much pride, joy and happiness. Getting home for the first time as a family, the first smile (when it’s not wind) and the first giggle and brilliant babbling chats that can last an age (what are they banging on about?!). But the milestones and happiness don’t end there; every day brings more to melt my heart and having already enjoyed so much with Edie, I’m perpetually excited to do it all again with Arlo. I can’t wait for the joy of afternoons on the floor surrounded by mountains of teddies as early crawling attempts are made followed a few months later by those unforgettable first steps.
Further happy times and milestones are found as the outside world is explored with them, whether it’s at a local park feeding the ducks, on a swing or on a sunny holiday – it’s wonderful to see them absorb their environment and thrive with new experiences.
Then, as their talking begins, the world’s funniest comedian and astute philosopher fills the days with comedic and wise observations. Waving goodbye for that first day at nursery soon follows as the heartstrings are pulled and the hankies are dampened. Milestone after milestone follows and like a set of dominos, another stage of life quickly tumbles by… but happily, and here’s the good bit, there are infinite dominos.
I’m repeatedly filled with excitement, anticipation and a sense of wonder as I contemplate life with my children. What a magical and fortunate journey we’re on as parents guiding our extraordinary children through milestones and challenges, helping them overcome countless seemingly simple things which actually to them, will feel like humungous missions; whether it’s eating their first solids or using the potty, to doing their best in everything they do at school, in sports, with their hobbies and even further down the line becoming a ‘grown up’ themselves. The journey with them goes on and on. The immeasurable happiness and pride goes on and on.
I’m lucky to enjoy the most beautiful moments of life with the most beautiful of people – my children. The unwavering love, affection and responsibility I have for Edie and Arlo, and seeing them thrive and be so happy in life is simply why I love being a dad.