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Our journey to parenting began with romance, love, passionate embrace and…failed contraception! One fat little baby boy followed by another 11 months later. Cue in two career-driven parents, exhausted and overwhelmed and you have a wonderful recipe for anxiety and depression and marital disintegration. Survive that and then have two more boys 14 months apart and chaos is a fait accompli. By the way, Catherine will go back to work full time and I’ll train to be an obstetrician and then open the busiest practice on the North Shore. Did we mention 3 years overseas, a huge extended family and a need to party like there was no tomorrow? Complete dysfunctional picture with number five, the unexpected girl. Buy Tarago and very big house.  

Everyone talks about the sleep deprivation, the crying and the dirty nappies. We don’t deny that but we do think back wistfully to the warm cuddles, the beautiful smiles, the little dimples in their hands and the deep, heart-aching, all-consuming love that we felt for our babies as we grew them into little humans. Then there were toddler tantrums, defiance, the drudgery of feed, bed, bath and the occasional “sword fight” in the supermarket aisle (natural weapons, two little boys with their pants down…get it?). School days of lunches, pick ups and drop offs, eight rugby matches on a weekend! Did we enjoy them enough? Were we present?  Suddenly it’s changed as babies become children and then young men and one dynamic young woman. We’re the ones at home alone while our kids go out and party. They’ve moved out and moved away and you wonder about your impact. Do they know that they are loved? 

We’ve learned a lot along the way; not to take it all too seriously, that maybe what you’ve hoped for won’t eventuate but it all works out in the end, that kindness and compassion and humility and generosity are more valuable than money or possessions. Dirt is good and there is wonder in a flower or a cardboard box. Parenting has been an amazing journey of hopes and dreams, moments of triumph and disaster, joy and despair. We’ve been failures as parents, falling short in so many ways and we’re sorry for that. But when we get a genuine hug, when they wander home for a meal, when they call to tell you about an achievement or to chat something over, you know that they know they’re loved, and that feels good.”

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