2 + 2 = 4

4 children?! How did that happen??

Before you start reminding me about the birds and the bees (there’s always one…) let me put that into context.

I never expected to have four; whilst none of my children will ever have to worry about how their dad feels about them (the answer is sickeningly proud) – none were expected. All four were wonderful surprises that have enriched my life and emptied my bank account in equal measure.

If you had asked me many years ago when I was free of responsibility, what number of children I would have, I dare say I would have gone with an answer of two. Yet here I am, father to a teenage girl, a nearly teenage boy, a feral toddler and adorable cabbage patch doll of a baby girl. So how did I get here?

It all started in 2002. I had moved into a flat with my then girlfriend and was decorating the bathroom while she was away for the weekend. It was whilst covered in paint and polyfilla that I heard the news that I was going to be a dad. My world was about to change. And change it did. My daughter brought a new attitude to life and responsibility for a living breathing human being. Would I be able to look after a baby? Would it like me? Do nappies really smell that bad? The answer to these questions was soon to be discovered…

My world was changing again when I found out I was to be a father for the second time but in very different circumstances. My wife (remember that girlfriend; yep, we got married) and I had separated a few weeks earlier (so didn’t live happily ever after) and I had moved back to my parents. Our relationship was on very rocky ground and as a result, I wasn’t able to be involved as much as the first time around. My son was born in 2004 – the one bright point in a difficult year.

I have been fortunate that I’ve been given a second chance at full time fatherhood. My other half was concerned that it wouldn’t be as exciting for me as our baby would be her first but my third. She need not have worried; I was a weepy emotional mess as I met our baby boy for the first time – the time passed between baby 2 and 3 made it feel like it was the first time all over again and no less special.

And the same happened two years later when our daughter was born. I was convinced the baby was going to be a girl (although I had said the same thing two years earlier) so I was totally overwhelmed with the joy of a new baby and the fact I was right about the whole gender thing when she made her first appearance.

So there you are – a whistle stop tour of how I became a dad to the four most wonderfully different children I could imagine or hope for. I should tell them every day how much they have changed my life for the better – even when times were hard, they have added the context and perspective to my life and made me appreciate what is really important.

Hopefully one day they’ll have kids of their own and find out for themselves. I can’t imagine anything I could say would even get close to the unique reality of being a parent.

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