My poor little baby girl has been ill for the past week or so, and I think it’s quite telling about the relationship I have with her that whenever she hurts herself or she’s feeling unwell, she comes running to me.
Actually, she comes running to me most of the time. It’s not that she doesn’t get on with Mrs Nobbs or anything, she absolutely does, and she idolises her Big Brother just as any little sister should.
But when push comes to shove, she’s a “Daddy’s Girl”. Or, rather, a “Papa’s Girl.”
And I’m sure any parent knows just how ‘clingy’ a four year old can be when they are feeling unwell. I’ve spent a good portion of the last week or so with her clinging to me like a limpet, sleeping on my chest either in her bed, my bed or on the sofa or sitting on my lap as I try and use my laptop at the dining table.
And let me tell you, it’s difficult to type with a wriggly little four year old in your lap, hell bent on ‘helping’ you to type whatever it is you’re trying to type, playing with the mouse, or asking if she can play the Paw Patrol games on nickjr.co.uk.
Still, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I know how lucky I am to have my little girl, and to have the relationship I do with her. I know how lucky I am to stand in a cold, wet field watching my boy play football or sit with him as we learn to play the guitar together or get thrashed by him on FIFA on his Xbox any day we damn well please.
Far too many men these days are denied the opportunity to play the fullest part in their children’s lives that they can, either through their own failings or through vindictive ex-partners. And this, I feel, is one of the real tragedies of our times. To my mind, you can’t really call yourself ‘a man’ until you’re a father—until you know what it’s like to see the utter, unconditional love in your childs eyes and felt that unconditional love in return. Until you’ve wiped their tears dry. Until you’ve chased away the monsters under the bed. Until you’ve cured whatever ails them them with a ‘daddy hug’.
I love being a father, that more than anything else, defines who I am.
Some people might say I’m wrong for say that and for what I’m about to say. Well, you know what? Screw them.
Children, both boys and girls, need their fathers and fathers never feel complete without their children. And every day I thank whichever deity happens to be listening that I have both my kids taking up so much of my time.