I was 34 years, 6 months, and 26 days old when I had my first child; well that is to say when my wife had our first child. And while for some strange reason, the universe thought that it would be best for me to wait that long, if I had had my way, I could have easily become a dad a lot earlier than that.
Yes, from late in my teen years, I was clucky.
I hate that term. My ex-wife’s mum used to say that all the time when babies were around. It never dawned on me at the time as to why I hated the term so much or in particular, when she said it, but many years later the penny dropped. Her daughter was not clucky. Her daughter was not maternal in any way. Yet I was clucky.
We had plenty of friends who were married at what now seems like a very young age. Some were married and then started their journey into parenthood straight away. Some took that early journey into parenthood “by accident” and then married shortly thereafter. As a result, in my early twenties, and even in my late teens at least once or twice, I visited friends in hospital to welcome the birth of their first child.
It would come as no surprise to most people reading this that when I went to visit these friends, the new mother would look over at my partner and offer her the first hold of the baby. Every single time this resulted in her recoiling with what became a common cliché for this situation; “Let Darrell have a hold first. I’m sure he’d love to give the baby a cuddle.”
In the just over six years that my first marriage lasted the timing was always poor and we could never get our act together to agree on when we should have children of our own. From me playing in bands and hoping to become something greater than a D-grade rock star, to her working her way through the ranks of her company and focusing on her career during my bands downtime or eventual demise, the two of us were never on track to make this happen.
In reflection the fact that she showed no signs of wanting a baby nor even having any elation or enjoyment when holding our friends’ newborns was possibly a underlying subconscious thought process for me holding back on those “when are we going to have a baby of our own?” conversations with her. And yet, truth be told, I really wanted to have a child of my own.
Fast forward to late 2008 when my first child was born. The universe got it right. The first few years was tough on the new relationship; my wife (back then girlfriend) and I having only been together for 1 year, 3 months, and 3 days when we became parents, but despite this, I have found a woman who was ready and wanted to start a family just as I had.
Not only that, she showed plenty of maternal instincts and wanted to hold our friends’ and family member’s newborn babies just as must as I did. And that was good seeing that the month after we had our first child her cousin and his wife had their first, a month after that my wife’s sister and her husband having their first, with my brother and his wife following with their first (a set of twins) following two months after that.
Our lives have been filled with so much joy since becoming parents, just as I expected my life would all those years ago. And even now, even having had two newborns of my own but knowing that two children is enough to complete our family, when one of our friends or family announces they are pregnant or that they’ve just had their baby, I get excited that there’s a newborn for me to get to cuddle.
Because after all these years, I’m still clucky…