It comes as no surprise to anyone that knew me before I was married that I had no desire to get married. Then I met Melissa, and though our courtship was no fairytale, I knew that I had found someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Likewise, anyone who knew me before the twins knows that I never wanted to have children even though I had compromised on the marriage thing. However, as life goes sometimes, fate, luck, and really expensive trips to a fertility clinic took over. I put on the good front, but, in all honesty, I felt I wasn’t ready to be a father. I still loved my toys, my sports, and my “me” time, and that didn’t leave a lot of room for a baby. But, I knew plenty of guys with one kid, and they still had lots of free time.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, we weren’t having one baby, but two. Everyone told me my life was over-- that I could forget about doing anything fun anymore (which turned out to be only partially true). Inside, I was in knots and wasn’t sure how I felt. I could have lived my life sans children and never regretted or questioned it, but that’s not the hand that fate and Carolina Conceptions dealt me.
As the months passed, my anxiety grew as it became real to me. Most everyone still gave me a hard time about life being over. Though I knew they were probably joking, I wasn’t quite sure. Then, a hockey friend of mine told me that having kids was the “coolest thing ever." That was the first time any guy had said anything positive about having kids. It gave me a new perspective.
Fast forward to when the twins were born and home for a while-- I still just didn’t seem ready or willing to take on this huge responsibility. I still wanted to play and have fun and pretend life hadn’t changed, but it had. Life was now nothing but work. Work all day at a job, then work all night dealing with babies. It felt like we were feeding, changing, or burping a baby 24/7, and there was no respite. Luckily, we did have babies that slept well and weren’t very fussy for the most part. This was a small consolation to someone who felt his life had gone from fun- filled to bottled-filled. I felt I was doing all of the right things such as playing, talking to them, reading to them, but there was very little return for me, which made it hard to keep up the enthusiasm for those things. I took them out by myself a lot when they were little babies, but let’s not kid anyone. I did that for the attention and because it would give Melissa a break for a few hours.
Then, one day things started to change. Andrew and Emily started staring at me with awe and wonder--like I was some sort of super hero. Then they slowly started mimicking things like opening their mouth when I did, or sticking out their tongue. They were sleeping soundly each night and waking up happy. They were interacting more and becoming more than just formula- eating luggage. They would get excited to see me and had their own personalities taking form. I still questioned if I was doing the right things and if I would be a good father to them, but it seemed to be working.
Then one day Emily gave me her first kiss. I don’t know if there is anything sweeter than a baby girl giving her daddy a kiss. I believe it was that moment that I KNEW I was made to be a father. I no longer liked to take the babies out just for attention or to give mommy a break. I wanted to take them out to spend time with them (and, yeah, the attention still didn’t hurt). I began enjoying them and couldn’t wait to see them when they were away. I was lucky that they were home the first 15 months. I work at home so I was able to see them whenever I needed to brighten up my day.
Now here we are with the year and a half old twins walking, running and starting to talk. The last 6 months have been the coolest time of my life. Yes, they still occasionally wear me out reading books, but it just proves that all of those nights of reading to them before bedtime were worth it. When one of them comes up to me and shows a sign that we having taught them since sign and sing class when they were less than a year old, I know that the hard work was worth it.
It’s now a running joke with Melissa and I that we won’t get divorced because neither of us wants to have to take the twins. The truth of the matter is that neither of us could stand to be without them. Okay, so maybe there’s a little truth in the first statement. Even though I still like my toys, sports and “me” time and often wish I had more time for those things, I couldn’t possibly imagine my life now without Emily and Drew in it. Being their dad is truly the “coolest thing ever.”