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How to Survive... a Family of Five

When You're Under 30! I must admit, there was a sense of relief to the finality of the birth of Little Mango 3 (I've decided to use these somewhat cute, a little bit disrespectful, yet ultimately safe ways of describing everybody - there's also Little Mangos 1 & 2, not to mention myself and Mrs Mango). Although a somewhat shaky start - a tense moment and an overly blue baby, brought back to colour by an amazingly fast and calm obstetrician - a blur of seconds as several things happened that I had no control over. For a father, I've always found, it's a very hard thing to make a very specific connection before birth as it will always be an external relationship for us - and at the moment when all else stops and your heart is captured again by another amazing creature, to have that stripped back and replaced with heartbreaking fear is something..... It certainly makes you realise just how much this new being means to you, even though you've only just laid eyes on them - another surreal feeling - loving someone beyond words without having seen, heard, spoken to or had any real idea about before that moment. They are a blank canvas, and you appreciate them for everything they are and ever will be - I know it sounds familiar (everyone says this about their kids) - but when it happens to you, the commonality and yet complete particularity of that event to you gives you this instant sense of the universe. Amazing! So Mango 3 ties the bow nicely. We are now a family of five. At 28. Half the people we know haven't even started trying for babies yet and we're (most very likely) finished altogether. And despite the inevitable times that everyone has where they doubt their abilities, I feel altogether confident we can handle this third installment quite well. I think as long as you think about humans as a species, how our bodies are designed and how they function, that we have evolved to be ready for parenthood young. Our species is finding it more and more difficult to conceive as we age, and we struggle to stay together as family units - yet we all have the capacity to breed and raise children early, and I believe it is just another way to push yourself, and learn amazing things about our species and life first hand. The world may have changed since my parents generation, where people had babies just out of school - we've had liberation of peoples, realisation of new ideals and new understandings of the shortness of life, the inevitability of death, and the importance to not waste a second. Many of my generation believe that means seeing everything you need to see before settling down and waiting to die. I believe that experience can be found in every step of life, every drudging day of existence, every struggle you have and moment of delight, joy, wonder and amazement. Everything teaches you something and if you cannot find the value in this moment here, then no moment will be good enough. Every moment I spend teaching my child something, teaches me something in return. It's all about perspective.... but then everything is, isn't it?
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