I've been a parent for 21 years, therefore it's fair to say it's been a large part of my adult life. It's actually crazy to think that it has been 21 years and it scares me to think about where the time has gone.
I know everybody says it, but I do vividly remember my oldest daughter being born as if it was yesterday. Then, just the other day I was out shopping for cars with her. She now has a better car than me and there's something very wrong about that! Actually, thinking about it having five children has bled me dry! That's why I have no money!
Seriously though I have had many highs and lows as a parent. It's easily the toughest job any person will take on in their lives and everybody knows that there is no manual when it comes to being a mum or dad. I mean how could you possibly write one anyway? A guide to parenting, when every child is completely different and the majority of parents have very different views on how children should be brought up. If we're honest with ourselves and everybody around us, we can all admit that we pretty much just make it up as we go along. I know I do.
My five children are from two marriages. I split up from my first wife when my children were eight, six and fours years of age.
I'd been very unhappy stuck in a doomed marriage for a very long time and I felt trapped. I felt that there was no way out and stupidly I thought the answer was in a bottle.
I was drinking excessively on a daily basis. My three oldest children were being subjected to a drunk out of control father. Looking back now I realise how wrong it was, but when you're unhappy, drunk and suffering with depression I just couldn't see through the mist.
I split with my first wife and moved into my mother's house which was without question the toughest decision I've ever made.
However, I knew I needed to change and I needed to find myself otherwise I was going to lose my children. I woke up one morning and just told myself I'm not drinking again and that's exactly what I did. Now was the time was to sober up and get back into my children's lives. I wanted to be a dad they could be proud of.
It took some time, but eventually I formed strong lasting relationships with my three older children and I made sure that I was there for every milestone in their childhoods. I'd stopped drinking and I actually haven't drunk a drop in 15 years, but it could have been so very different. The choice was simple. The drink or my children? It was a no brainer for me really. My children were always going to win.
Around 12 years ago I met my current wife. It was instant love. Total and complete. I knew she was the one I'd been waiting for all my life. We just fitted together perfectly and that's never changed.
My wife always accepted that I had children from a previous marriage and this was vital for me because I was not ever going to be seperated from them again. My wife didn't have any children of her own, but she knew that she wanted children of her own one day. There lay a a slight problem. You see years earlier I'd undergone a vasectomy. The only route for us was down IVF, which was expensive and potentially heartbreaking, but we loved each other and decided to embark on our IVF journey.
Now I have to say at this point that we were very lucky. My wife got pregnant after our first attempt, and we soon discovered we were expecting twins.The pregnancy was fine up until about 30 weeks when we discovered one of the twins stopped growing. At 34 weeks our consultant decided that the twins needed to be born.
Our twin girls were born weighing 2lb11 and 4lb3. They spent 27 days in special care, but thankfully they came home fit and healthy. It was a glorious day after the emotional rollercoaster of the last 27 days.
So thats my 21 year journey of parenthood so far.
I believe I've achieved many things in my life, but I believe my greatest achievement is being a parent and the reasons for that are simple. I think I was actually born to be dad.
Being a parent comes with a lifelong responsibililty and commitment to a child. You are, after all, half the reason that these humans are on planet earth. I believe that I was blessed to have five children and I've never taken it for granted.
This is how my life has worked out and never in my wildest dreams, when I was a 20 something free and easy person doing what I liked when I liked, did I ever imagine that I would end up as a parent of five children. Would I change it? Never! It is my greatest achievement in life.
This post first appeared on DIY Daddy.