Having twins in later life has been a privilege

Arthur Harris, 73, fathered twins with wife Caroline, 40, when he was 63. Here the retired grandfather, of Torquay, Devon, congratulates Ronnie, saying it was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Arthur describes fatherhood as a “great privilege”

When I heard the news that Ronnie Wood was going to father twins in his 60s, I couldn’t help but smile.
He may think the best days of his life are behind him, but in fact they are ahead of him.

I should know. I had the great privilege of having twins in my 60s too, and I can honestly say that being an older dad has been the most rewarding and enjoyable experience of my life.

My kids keep me young. I may be 73 now, but I feel 25 – and it’s all thanks to them.
I was 55 when I met my wife Caroline, who is 33 years younger than me. She had a nine-month-old baby boy and I had five grown-up children from two marriages.

I was close to my children, but when they were growing up I was working too hard to be really involved in their day-to-day care.

I saw the kids evenings and weekends but I wouldn’t say I was a hands-on dad.
I was overjoyed to take on Caroline’s son Steven as my own and realised I was far more patient and relaxed with him than I’d been with my own children.

When Caroline and I got married the day before my 58th birthday, I thought it would be wonderful to have more children.

I was thrilled when we welcomed our son Aaron, now 14. Yes, folk raised their eyebrows but we didn’t care. Soon after we had Ben, now 12, and Alex, 11.

Then when I was 61, we found out Caroline was pregnant with twins. People said we’d never cope, but I was over the moon.

Tragically, there were complications and Caroline lost one son Charlie at 19 weeks, but Alex clung on and was born at 25 weeks, weighing just over one pound.

I was such a hands-on dad that Caroline knew she didn’t have to worry about me at home with our boys while she stayed at the hospital.

With four kids under four, it was hectic. I loved it. I felt so lucky to have the chance to experience fatherhood being older, so when we found out we had more twins on the way when I was 63, I was elated.

I’d always wanted more daughters, so when Katy and Emily were born, I felt the luckiest man alive. I was approaching retirement so I knew I’d have more time to spend with the girls.

The following year, when they were one, I retired and enjoyed days out with them. Watching them grow, and nurturing them felt like such a privilege. After all, at my age, you know to savour each magical moment.
The night feeds weren’t a problem for me – I loved feeling young again and never got tired.

I was proud to push our quadruple buggy down the street. Yes, there were times I was mistaken for their granddad but it never bothered me.
I’ve learned not to get stressed, and I hope the wisdom of age is something I have been able to pass to my children.

As an older dad I was calmer, more relaxed and more confident than I ever was as a young dad.
The only time I have ever worried about my age is when I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago. The twins were just five, and I panicked about not being there for them and my other children.

But I still never regretted being an older dad. I love all my children the same, but in many ways I am closer to my younger kids because I have been so involved with their care, thanks to having the time and patience as an older dad.

I’m in remission now and hope I will go on for many years yet.
In fact, the kids keep me so young that I have never felt better.

So congratulations, Ronnie. The only downside I can think of is my memory is not what it was, so birthdays are tricky to remember – but that’s easily solved with a good calendar.