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Frankie my dear

Living

Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

I get it now.
I’ve often been cynical enough when I hear parents on about the wonders and joys of having children. I was told by plenty of people in the run up to the arrival of our new baby girl that it would be the best feeling of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I was really looking forward to it but I wondered did people sometimes overstate it. I had no comprehension of what they were on about – how could I?
So I reached for the Doubting Thomas in me.
I’ve often heard footballers talking after a famous win for their team say that next to the birth of their children, it was the best moment of their life.
Looking at the sheer elation in their faces as they speak after reaching a sporting nirvana, there’s two conclusions to be drawn. The first is if they feel like this after a game of ball, what must it have been like when their children were born.
The second, which cynical old me went with, was they were over egging it by saying the birth of their children was a superior moment, perhaps trying to stay in the good books at home.
Now I realise the absolute nonsense of my way of thinking. When you see your child for the first time, when you hold them for the first time ... it was the most magical feeling I’ve ever experienced.
As soon as I set eyes on our baby girl, my life changed before me. Life always matters but suddenly it was that bit fuller.  
You know life is never going to be the same again. Your priorities have changed and you’re perfectly happy with that. The little bundle of joy makes you feel very, very alive.
At 3.35pm on Monday, November 21, last Frankie Veronica Ann McGreal was born in Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, weighing a very healthy eight pounds, five ounces.
She made her father so very happy and I couldn’t be prouder of Aisling for bringing our wonderful daughter into the world.
And, typically, Frankie was calling the tune straightaway. Born on a Monday afternoon, deadline day at The Mayo News, I had filed my most-recent Diary of a First Time Dad column that morning, stating that we were close but still no stir.
Before that column went to print on Monday night, Frankie had arrived. But, sorry, dear readers, you’ll have to forgive me for not running out of the labour ward, ringing Mayo News HQ and shouting ‘stop the presses’. My mind was elsewhere in the hours afterwards. A state of blissful contentment.
So we’re two weeks into being a family by now, and we’re experiencing all the highs – and the challenges too.
Trying to interpret what a baby’s cry signifies is something you cannot prepare for. You learn on the job, but it is so much easier every time you look at your own child. A little magic of nature.
It’s everything people say it is.

In his new fortnightly column, first-time father Edwin McGreal will chart the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.

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