One of my, if not my actual, favourite things about being a father is that I got to be Florence’s father.

Flo’s start to life was turbulent, to say the least. Born with an unexpected and life-threatening heart condition that had the knock-on effect of also debilitating her other vital organs meant that my and my wife’s start to parenthood could be billed as us being ever-so-slightly thrown-in at the deep end.

That said, I was already aware that, despite all the books I had read, all the people I had spoken to and sought advice from, and from the antenatal classes I had attended, there would still be a million and one things, both large and small, I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) be prepared for when my child entered the world. If I’m being honest though, Florence’s heart condition wasn’t one of all those things that I was expecting to happen.

Nonetheless, some two years down the line and Florence is now, to put it mildly, thriving, and has been since she was finally discharged from hospital at three months old.

I can honestly say that, to me, my daughter is a marvel, a joy; an inspiration and a miracle – for all the usual reasons parents say such things about their children, and the not-so-usual.

Florence makes me laugh. Daily. That’s quite an achievement by anyone’s standards.

This amazing little person also has the ability to make me stop and wonder, to reminisce about my own childhood and want to play games and use my imagination in ways I haven’t done for years, and of course drive me nuts in that oh-so-special way that only two-year olds can. And yes, she sometimes makes me want to cry, just for being who she is, and I find myself being so glad and grateful that, not only did I end up with this wonderful little person as my daughter, but that I got to be her dad.

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