C is for Children
When I was in my twenties, I’d imagined having children was an inevitability. It never happened. I was never with the right person, and the relationships I had ran their course for one reason or another. When I got over the age of forty, the idea of having a child seemed a forlorn hope. My friends had long since procreated. What made things difficult was the fact that I’d always had a really good connection with children and had for a long time worked with them. I got married for the first time aged fifty, and it seemed logical to try to have a child and we would live to regret not trying .
I did not consider it inevitable that my wife would fall pregnant, you read or hear about so many couples who are unable to have children. When I arrived back from work to be informed by wife she was pregnant, it took time for the news to sink in, it seemed so unreal. Then followed nine fraught months of worry. Such worry I had never experienced before in my life. I was not able to go to the first consultation and scan, due to work. However the second I was able to witness for the first time, the little wonder we had created, it was a ball that had a pulse, seemingly a strong one, it’s heart was throbbing powerfully. I dubbed this little ball “Little Pea” because it seemed so miniscule
Fears a Father, late to fatherhood might have…
To some extent there is the danger I might feel a bit self-conscious about being a father at 51 and fearful of comments from other children like “Is that your Grandad”? The child might feel a bit ashamed of having such an ancient parent. These days things are different, there are male parents with mops of grey hair, or next to no hair, the age of the elderly parent is upon us and I am not alone thankfully. Just looking around me as I take my son either to or from the crèche, tells me this.
I worry I am the most uncool father, but my son seems to like things that were around and part of my childhood, he is going through an obsession with Mary Poppins at the moment. At the same time I have been introduced to the delights of Peppa Pig.
Things I have had to learn
I have discovered so much about young children, expect the unexpected, your child can wake up happy singing…then all of a sudden they come down with a fever, all your plans for the day have to be altered. You have to be adaptable.
As a father/parent you spend a lot of time in self-reflection. Maybe a father in his fifties is going to be different to one in their mid-twenties. After all we went through during the pregnancy, and perhaps because we are “elderly” parents, perhaps we have a tendency to be over-protective. In the early days any form of illness sent shock waves. You have to judge, how sick your child is, whether to go the doctor.
My son is full of energy and mischief, but I can say I am fit enough to run after him and will certainly be ok, for a football kick around.
A father at 51, yes it is exhausting, but the rewards are more than there to be had. I know I have been more than blessed to have such a wonderful child, sometimes I can’t believe he is for real.
Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.
This article is part of a blogging challenge,