To the uninitiated, parenting can look like a total shit-storm. And it is. But it's worth it. (I swear).
A prospective father walks in, carefully tiptoeing over the toys strewn across the floor. He makes it to the kitchen, (unscathed), and seats himself at the table covered in a light clutter of dirty plastic cutlery and bowls. He looks at me, a father of two, and asks that burning question: “What’s it like to be a dad?”
I take a deep breath, smile to myself and start to answer: Being a dad is an amazing thing. There’s much to do and so much love and – Hang on, my son just threw up. Oh god, it’s everywhere. I hope we don’t all get gastro again. Oh he’s upset. Sorry, he’s literally whimpering, that stuff must have hurt coming up. I’ll just get some paper towel and disinfectant. I’ll be back with you in a minute. Mum will take him to bed.
Alright, all better now. Where was I? Oh yeah, being a dad. It’s a journey, like no other. You can’t help but be caught up in it and…. What’s that? The spew? Yeah cleaning that up was pretty horrible, but I’ve dealt with worse. You know what I mean by worse, right? Come on, you think you won’t be changing nappies when you have kids? Anyway, word to the wise: It doesn’t get really bad till they start solids. Oh, and don’t freak out too much if it comes out purple, it’s probably just beetroot. They’re not bleeding, they just don’t digest things very well early on.
But back to what we were discussing. Being a dad is amazing. I’ve never laughed so hard or smiled as much as…Crap. Did you hear that? He’s calling for me again. He’ll have a bit of trouble settling down tonight for sure. I mean, wouldn’t you? You know, I’ve spent so many hours just sitting by that bedside, waiting for him to sleep. Not ideal, but it’s what we do. Back in a minute…
Sorry, that took longer than I thought. He wanted some water and, well, when they’re sick they’re needy. He can’t help it. So, being a dad. Well, it’s involved and, hang on, here comes the other one.
“Back to bed sweetie, daddy’s already read you four stories tonight and… yes, I’ll get some water, just go lie down and I’ll bring it in.”
It’s hard to explain (literally)
Yes, kids are needy, infuriating, and they often smell bad. Kids will push your buttons, take you for granted and miraculously fall deaf when you want them to do something for you.
But, it’s different when they’re your own. They’re the ones you’ll hold onto and cuddle, they’re the ones that will one day say the word “Daddy” and mean you, the ones who will squeal with joy, laugh and cry with you while they learn how to be people.
I remember when they took their first steps, first words and when my son first used a spoon. I can remember watching Star Wars with them for the first time (A New Hope, of course). I remember the first time I held him when he was crying and I rocked that little sucker to sleep. He was so beautiful. And now, my girl throws her arms around my neck, almost strangling me, and shouts “DADDDDDYYYYYYY”. Sorry, someone chopping onions around here?
Anyway. You will never, and I mean NEVER, love anything as much as your kids.