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Life on the edge (of being a father)

A veteran dad reflects on a changing landscape of fatherhood

When a new life is created, it gives a new perspective on what went on before this momentous occasion, especially if those creating life were also soldiers charged with the taking of lives to protect the Crown.

When I was young, I was a carefree, adventurous, happy go lucky child, so with that outlook I joined the army at the age of 15 1/2, hardly a man joining a mans army… happy days, sad days, hard days, fun days. All were part of the daily life in a regimented and controlled life, which prepared you for all things one was told. Well, except one thing, parenthood and all that entailed.

Having a child, not only brings responsibility, it also brings a whole new meaning to the concept of life in general, a vulnerable baby that is solely reliant on its parents, and watching, nurturing that baby into childhood. All of this is a challenge, you have no internet, google or apps to guide you, it’s all based on general common sense and advice from friends and family. Difficult? Yes. Challenging? Yes. Rewarding? Yes. Inspirational? One hopes so.

I have been blessed with three children from two mothers, my eldest daughter is 35, my eldest son is 32 and my youngest son is 18. The two eldest are a real credit, they have always worked hard, and done well in life, never been in trouble, done drugs or  any of the things we as parents are fearful of, they buckled down and worked hard with the right set of principles and standards in life that you get out what you put in.

What next? Not much else I can do to advise and guide them, would be nice to see them more frequently, but then they have their own lives to lead, also with the Internet, Facebook etc. We can of course meet in the virtual traffic jam that is the Cyberworld, although i’m at the age where it is sometimes a little challenging. We do sometimes chat on line, and discuss various issues, but the real challenge comes when we come to the end of our lives, will they be there to give us the care, attention and moral support we gave when they came into this world? Only time can answer that ponderous question.

In the meantime life goes on and we hope we are being good parents, and we can continue the bond we may have with our children, but with them having different interests, hobbies and commitments we sometimes wonder what is more important, them doing the very things we did when we were their age, or to sit with ageing parents who do little other than complain about the ways of the world and how it has changed so much?

Me, I am still young at heart, and doing many of the things I did then, parachuting, motorcycling, working hard and sometimes in my mad little busy world I just like ponder and to think back to those early days when the children were children and enjoyed their childhood, doing many of the things we did together, the bonding and the fun we used to have, by doing that then it doesn’t matter if we can’t see them every day, our memories and photos allow us to be with them when we choose to do so.

MS

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