At age fifty, divorced and single-again for 14 years I met the love of my life. She was twenty years younger than me and had also been married before. She had not had children as yet. She told me she wanted children, but I really didn’t feel I needed more children. I made the decision not to let her get away and if happiness between us involved children, then I would take the plunge.
Today I am 58 and we have been happily married for over seven years now. We have three wonderful children, a 6 year old son and twin 3 year old daughters. I have two children by my previous marriage who I love dearly, but I can’t imagine life without my new family.
The most common question I get asked as an older father is: “Are you more patient now than when you had children the first time?” The answer is definitely yes. Sure there are still times when they try your patience, but overall I find that I seem to be able to handle it better providing I make time for myself and that my wife and I ensure we have lots of one-on-one time with each other. I don’t care how much you love your kids, husband and wife have to keep their marriage strong using the friendship and intimacy that attracted you to each other in the first place. Keep the passion. After all if our relationship is strong, then the family will be strong.
One comment that I get really annoys me. So many people when they hear about my personal situation immediately say, “better you than me!” Well I say to them, “better me than you too”. My life is filled with love. What is more important than that? Nothing!
Two of the most important lessons I have learned and am thankful for are:
1. Support from extended family, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews is a key element to making my family and our marriage work.
The first time I was married and had children we had no family support at all. We lived where all our relatives were far away and friends are just not the same. The ability to leave the kids with family and get away for a date night is to me just fantastic. When I take my wife out for the evening it always reminds me what a sexy and interesting woman I married and how lucky I am. Sometimes with all the parenting this gets obscured because you get so wrapped up in the kids and their problems. God knows I love the kids, but I love being with my wife for those special times together. My children are better off for those times.
2. If you have problems get help. I have always been the type of person who hates admitting problems and sure wouldn’t seek professional help. Well, I had an anger problem and am by nature a high strung person. With the support of my wife I sought professional counselling. It was the best thing I ever did. That along with medication for my hyperactivity (diagnosed adult ADHD) have made my parenting and marriage function to its best.
The challenge for me is to look after myself and try to give my wife and children as many more years as possible. Fortunately the odds are pretty good. I have good genes age-wise, and don’t smoke or drink. Eating right and exercising can be tough, but I try.
Life is good. I intend to be around for a very long time yet to enjoy it. The lesson is that you take happiness wherever and whenever you find it.
Thanks to my loving wife for making me a better person.