Todays photo from Sundays 10km solo run around the reservoir taking a much improved 57 minutes.
If there is one thing that changes the way you see life, its becoming a parent. Its something I tend to reflect on from time to time, about how my life, perspectives and priorities have changed. Thinking about how important that little lady has suddenly become to me, and trying to work out at which moment the realisation sank in that there was now nothing on the planet more important than my daughter.
I thought maybe it would happen when I found out Clare was pregnant, but it didn’t. Clare was very much my number one, she was the other half of me, she made me complete. I felt very protective of her, and as much as I wanted to feel protective about the baby I knew she was carrying, it was no more than a bump at this point, the idea of a baby was simply that, just an idea. They were just words. I couldn’t imagine my life being any differs, although I knew it would be, but I couldn’t visualise it. I thought maybe some kind of bond would develop as the pregnancy went on, but it didn’t. Shouldn’t I be feeling something at least before she was born? I was starting to feel slightly guilty about it, this was my child I was thinking about, but still my focus was on Clare, she was the most important thing to me.
It was when she was actually born and placed in my arms for the very first time, I nearly went into an emotional melt down! I could feel straight away that life had suddenly become very different for me, but I couldn’t describe how. It actually felt like I was in some kind of dream, or even like I was ridiculously drunk, either way, it just didn’t feel real. I loved my wife, she was my number one… but suddenly a nurse had thrust this little thing in to my arms that began to challenge all those thoughts, and totally overwhelming my logic. How could one tiny little thing suddenly stop my wife from being my number one any more? In the days and weeks that followed, it all started to become much clearer. My emotions went from the saucepan that was boiling over back to the simmering saucepan, as having a third person around the house started to feel normal. Looking back I don’t remember the defining moment when the centre of my universe shifted, but at 7:35am on the 5th of September 2013, approximately 60 seconds after she had landed in my arms, Olivia meant more to me than life itself.
I had always wondered about what it would be like to be a parent. In my 20s and early 30s, I had friends who had kids and listened to them talk about their life and their children, and I thought about my own life, and the things I was doing without kids. Back then I was free, I did what I wanted, when I wanted, my money was my own, staying out late for parties or going on holiday had no implications, there was only the two of us to consider, and sleeping in at the weekend… well, that was a basic human right, wasn’t it?! I guess I am not the only person who felt that all their fun and freedom was threatened by the needs of a tiny person invading their life and demanding an unlimited supply of attention.
I sometimes tried to imagine my life with a child, perhaps even more so as I turned 30 and age started to become a consideration, and I just couldn’t. I simply could not visualise how different things would actually be, and I couldn’t understand how my life could supposedly be better when so much of my “freedom” was gone. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but how was something so restrictive going to improve my life? The holidays would be gone, the nights out… well I could just forget those, right? Besides, who would want to miss out on sleeping through the night and Sunday morning lie-ins?
Still, I knew that all these silly little concerns were trivial, they were the immature thoughts of a much younger me who wasn’t ready for children back then, and they meant absolutely nothing once I’d met Clare, I knew she was the one for me, someone I could actually settle down with, and have a fantastic future with. Eventually I knew I was ready, and so when the subject of children came up between us and we talked about it properly, I was actually quite excited about it all. By this point so many of my friends already had kids, and I realised that life didn’t actually end, the nights out and holidays still happened, I knew it was finally time for my own.
Life did change drastically for me, as did my mindset as soon as Olivia arrived and suddenly I had become a dad. I held her in my arms and instantly felt a magical bond, that connection I’d been waiting for. This wasn’t just a new chapter in my life, this was volume 2, it was a whole new book! I knew that I was holding the most valuable thing I’d ever seen or touched, and suddenly I was prepared to do anything for her, and it became quickly clear to me that my sole purpose in life was now to protect her and help her learn and grow. Now, 16 months on, have things changed? Yes, of course they have, the little baby that lay on her back, stared at the ceiling and kicked her legs, playing with the toys that hung above her… well, she became a little person. The baby is gone, the term toddler now fully applies and she really doesn’t like a baby any more. In fact, depending on what she’s wearing, she looks like a proper little girl, and it melts our hearts. To see our little baby become a little lady makes us so proud, yet so sad, as it all seems to be happening so fast. People warned me that the time just slips away, literally disappears in front of us, and it really does! I think some of my facebook friends and some people that follow this have felt it too, as her journey has been fairly well documented in photographs. Having the skills and the equipment to capture the journey like I have has meant a lot to me, and I am so glad that she will have some wonderful memories to look back on!
In other news, recently this little boy turned one year old…
… our god son has caught up with Olivia in having an age in years and not just months any more, and so we were off to his first birthday party.
It was a lovely afternoon, and always good to see our friends Kat & Andrew, and who can’t resist tucking into a bit of party food?! We soon realised as the afternoon went on, that there is a downside to having a visible tableful of tasty goodies such as crisps, biscuits, bread and sweets, in that after having some Olivia then refused anything with any colour or nutrition in it. No grapes, tomatoes, peppers or celery, which was a bit disappointing as this was technically serving as lunch for her. In reality it wasn’t going to hurt much, we could still do her a proper dinner for her when we got home, and we already know that she eats well during the week. She’s at nursery for two days a week, and always eats a variety of meals there, and the other three days she is with her grandmother who usually does her a fairly healthy lunch! Generally our little girl eats reasonably well, I just don’t want her growing up to be as fussy as I was as a child. It took me years to get around to trying certain foods and actually enjoy piling the veg onto my plate! Now things are different, and while I confess to not being much of a fan of seafood, I’ll pretty much give most other things a go! I just hope I can make our daughter a little more open minded than I was as a child.