I have always considered myself to be lucky, even though there have been periods in my life when you could argue against this − it always seems to turn around before long.
As I look to becoming a father, I find myself looking back on my life from my earliest memories. More than ever I’m convinced I am lucky.
I was born into a family with parents who have always put their children first and continue to do so. Like all good parents, they do this to their own disadvantage at times.
Not that they ever let on.
My best childhood memories are of Saturday morning sports where both Mum and Dad would be involved in coaching, washing jerseys, bringing oranges, family get-togethers and spending time with my cousins. We would constantly be running around believing we were getting away with all sorts of things, all the while we could still hear our mums, dads, aunties, uncles and grandparents laughing and talking somewhere nearby.
As a child, knowing your parents were having a good time always made it that much better, maybe because you knew you were getting a little bit more freedom to be a kid.
I had a great childhood. I grew up on Lake Macquarie in a kid’s paradise that allowed us to have freedom as children and eventually teenagers. Summers were spent with days on the lake in tinnies (way before you were old enough to drive a car) and trips to the beach on the weekends. Winters were spent playing footy and soccer and riding old motorbikes in the bush with my mates.
My wife and I had very different adolescent years. While her talent was taking her overseas at a young age, my push bike was taking me on countless trips around Wangi Wangi.
But the one thing we have always had in common is that we are both blessed with two great supportive parents who, without our realising it at the time, were teaching us to be great parents one day.
Catherine and I don’t mind admitting that we have spent our lives so far living for ourselves − because we could. But that will change soon enough, and in some ways it already has (more so for Catherine).
Over the years we have watched most of our friends and family become parents and good ones at that. The one thing they all have in common is that they put the children first. They become better at everything they were before they were parents because they want to do the best for the family so it brings out the best in them.
So I’m not nervous about becoming a father because after all, people have been doing it for generations and I truly believe it will make us into the best versions of ourselves.
Something else that gives me confidence that everything will be fine is my wife.
You see, Catherine is one of those people who, through determination, is good at everything she does, and I have no doubt she will be an amazing mother. And, as I do in our life together now, I’ll do my best to keep up.
Catherine and I have an amazing life and we are both excited to become a family. After the baby arrives, we plan to spend two months at home and then hit the road again in our caravan, all the while learning to be parents.
It is important for me that our children grow up watching their mum making and playing music. Maybe some or all of them will inherit her talent, maybe not, that’s not important. If they don’t inherit Catherine’s voice then I’ll continue to be the second best singer in our house! I sincerely hope that they inherit her attention span though, as well as her looks and intelligence, but whatever will be will be.
Our little gumnut will be welcomed by four very excited grandparents, plenty of aunties and uncles and a growing number of cousins.
What is important to me about our child/ren is:
- they find something they love and find a way to continue doing that and loving it;
- they grow into good people and have a positive effect on others they meet;
- they learn from their mistakes and do their best to do a little bit of good each day;
- they grow up in an active house full of laughter and music;
- and that one day they read this and they too feel lucky.
So my soon-to-be-a-father thoughts are not about nerves, but about the realisation that Catherine and I have been raised to be great parents.
It’s up to us now and we cannot wait!
For now, we will enjoy the last of our sleep-ins….
James Beverley and Catherine Britt’s first child is due in January.