It’s hard to imagine life before triplets. I do remember the house was pretty quiet though.

Frankie, as an only child, used to entertain herself with her dolls and crafts. She used to live in princess dresses and sit in the window waiting for me to come home from work. We used to go to the park every weekend and watch princess films on a Sunday afternoon’s.

Every night I’d carry her over my shoulder up to bed where we’d have a little chat about the day and say our prayers. Then ten minutes later when Stacey and I would be settled for a film, Frankie would come back down with one of a thousand reasons why she couldn’t sleep. Itchy teeth was my personal favourite.

Now she’s almost 12 and had to adjust to an invasion of triplet sisters. And boy have they set their presence over the last two years.

It’s definitely been difficult to make up the time I used to with Frankie. It plays on my mind from time to time. Although she has grown in independence and has new interests that are more geared towards her friends, I find I miss the times we used to have before the trio arrived and took almost all of our focus and attention.

Maybe it’s because of the step dad element that I feel a pinch of guilt now and then. Anyone with new babies will be aware of the consuming attention it takes to raise them in the early years. It’s natural to do so, the trick is as always to be awake to those emotions. And not let them begin to affect me. I need clarity to be able to raise a family.

We are now well into the toddler faze. They are fun, demanding and full of beans. The times they go for an afternoon nap is a time to exhale for a few hours until the next round of chasing toddlers and entertaining their growing demands.

And among it all Frankie has remained as helful as she can be. Her kind and caring nature has remained in tact through another stressful and trying adjustment in her life.

Life was never going to be the same from the day of that first dating scan. And our home will never know quiet for a long time to come. But I am grateful for the years I had to build that vitally important relationship with Frankie. Had there already been a difficult relationship with us, the arrival of the triplets would have only created all the more stress on her.

She was my first conscious attempt at parenting, and it took a lot of commitment and work from me to be able to step into a father figure role. My relationship with her took patience as she went through the grieving process of losing her biological dad and accepted me as a parent.

I guess I’m feeling reflective of our early years together. And I have wonderful memories of our building relationship before the trio came along. She no longer lives in princess dresses, or does little singing shows for Stacey and me. Instead she is beginning high school next week and is already older beyond her years.

I’m proud of her. And my one hope is that her caring nature and outward kindness continue to stay central to her spirit. She has given me hope in that the principles of love, patience and tolerance at home can be a real foundation that all of my daughters will be free to thrive in.

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