These twins are Alex’s joy
Alex McDonald has held many positions throughout his lifetime, but being a father to two beautiful twin girls has exceeded all his postings and accomplishments.
There has been no greater joy for him than seeing his two-year-old twins Emma and Hayley taking their first steps; or being showered in kisses by them. Or watching their tiny feet run up and down the lawn of their Strathclyde, St Michael home; or trying to figure out the images or scribbles they draw across the driveway almost every day.
“I love being a father. In a very real way, they [children] become your life, and everything that you do and everything that you line up in life is because of the kids,” McDonald told Barbados TODAY, as he put aside his entrepreneurial hat to happily speak about his role as dad.
The prominent businessman became a father at 40 –– a feeling of “shock and awe” that signalled his life would change forever.
He was not totally prepared for this new chapter in his life; but, thus far, he is totally enjoying how his role is unfolding as his daughters grow and develop every day.
“No one tells you how much sleep you are not going to have. No one tells you how, because they are twins, you can’t slide past one person doing something while the other person rests. It is everybody doing everything at the same time, all the time. Everything changes for you. Previously, when my wife and I wanted to go somewhere, we would just go.
“Now, it’s a lot more planning; it’s a lot more questioning where we are going. Is it kid-friendly? And if it is anything to upset the family life balance, we are just happy to say we will pass on this for now. But then there is the awe side, where you are just seeing these two little children grow from someone who could literally fit in the palm of your hand into little personalities. It is just astonishing!” said the proud father.
Emma and Hayley surely keep McDonald busy daily between his having to run behind them and answer the many questions they throw at him.
But he thanks God every day for blessing him with his twin girls, whom he believes are much easier to deal with than boys, a conclusion he has gathered from his nephew and friend’s sons when they visit.
“We are grateful for the twins. We are grateful for girls and we are also grateful that we didn’t have boys, because boys are genuinely another story . . . . They are spectacular in a sense of how much energy they push out.
“For me, the pleasure I have is walking the girls around the neighbourhood, the constant questions about why. When one wants to go upstairs the other one wants to stay downstairs. Then, when you carry one upstairs the other one wants to go upstairs, and when you carry her back upstairs the other one who was upstairs before wants to come downstairs –– and you are like an elevator,” the proud daddy explained, as one of his little charges took a nap while the other played quietly in the distance.
When it comes to their personalities, McDonald said, he realized from early in their lives that they were two completely different persons. One daughter can be a bit of a “bossy-boots”, while the other is a little of a “stubborn mule”. And seeing the two interact at times could be a very funny scene, he pleasantly remarked.
“The bossy boots can be bossing the stubborn mule, and no luck there,” the 42-year-old McDonald pointed out, adding: “Two different personalities. One is a little more technical, and the other likes to use her hands to put things together. One loves to open books and look at pictures; the other gets bored looking at a book for too long. But if you give her a puzzle she would stay there forever.”
McDonald and his wife always look forward to spending quality time with the little ones and capturing those precious moments, especially at the beach as the girls, who have been participating in juvenile swimming from three months old, love the water.
“We have a nice big lawn here, and they love running on it. They love kicking balls and chasing dogs, riding their bicycles, and taking chalk and writing up the whole driveway. That is their work for the day.
“This morning they started and this evening they will finish their work of writing up the whole driveway with chalk. We have to let them develop at their own pace . . . ,” said McDonald.
The head of the Barbados Private Sector Association sees becoming a father at an “older” age as not a disadvantage, but rather an advantage in the sense that while he placed much focus on building his career in his younger years, he is now in a position to pay attention to the needs of his daughters and centre all important decisions around them.
“If you have kids when you are older, you need to rest a little bit more; but you have lots of time and you have lots of patience. So I am lucky that I became a father when I was older. I am lucky that I have options. I have a fantastic wife and a lot of family help.
“But there is no more important job I have than that of raising those girls and raising them right. When you are making the choice of ‘What should I be doing now?’, you usually defer to “What does my family need from me now?’.
“Do I need to go out to this party, or do I need to sit at home with the family? A lot of the decisions we make are really about what they need. They are not going to be here forever. These little ones are only going to be little for a certain amount of time. They are going to be big a lot longer than they are going to be little.”
Like most loyal and dedicated fathers, McDonald prays and hopes for the best for his offspring, especially when the time comes for them to leave the comfort of his home and make their way into the world to build their own lives.
The dad wants his girls to fully experience life as it unfolds for them. Already, McDonald plans on taking them to political and town hall meetings to hear the different views there are about what is going on in their country from the greats of our day.
“I want for them to grow up in a world where they do not have to think about being a woman . . . that they are just a human being. I want them to grow up in a world where people don’t think they have the right to abuse them because of their sex, or their race, or their height, or their weight . . . . I am really concerned about how we think women should be in our society.
“We talk about equal rights and so on, but yet we seem to like to murder women. We like to beat them; we like to manipulate and control them. We like to decide what jobs they can and cannot have, and how much they can and cannot earn . . . .
“I would like my girls to grow up in an environment where that’s not the case.”