You are born and tested and weighed and tagged and wrapped and handed to us in a silent little bundle as if delivered by a stork in a story. You are a little red and a little yellow and your face is almost a perfect moon. The room is a tad noisy, yet you are quite content, cheek to cheek with your mom while the doctors take care of her.
You take a little ride out of the theatre in a wheeled crib that I’m driving. Your eyes are wide open now and your next stop is an incubator where you get a few rays of fake sunshine. I can’t hold you just yet, so I put my hand up against the glass as you stare impassively out from the tank at me and plug the middle and ring fingers of your right hand into your mouth. A smile stretches endlessly across my face as I see a miniature rock star attempting the sign of the horns for his adoring audience of one.
My button-up shirt, chosen for this very moment, is unbuttoned and you are placed on my chest where you immediately begin to wriggle. A little blanket is draped over us and you take a deep breath and snuggle into my man-boobs. I can feel your heart beating a tribal drum in your chest and in this moment I feel as if I am at the very centre of the universe. No other living thing could possibly have felt more love for another, than I do for you right now. I am smitten.
As you begin to warm, you stare up at me with your dark brown eyes. You see me weep manly tears of joy and you are absolutely content. You are tiny. You are perfect in every detail. Right down to the cuticles on your bent little pinky fingers. There exists now and forever, an unbreakable link between us because you are anchored, literally and figuratively, at my heart.
It is in this moment, in this completely empty nursery, that I welcome you to the world. I sing happy birthday to you, a little out of key but with three whispered hip hip hooray’s. I tell you about your mom who can’t wait to hold you. I tell you about all four of your grand parents waiting out in the hall and your free-spirited cat, waiting at home. All for you.
You don’t make a peep the entire time.
Your mom is wheeled past our doorway and into a room across the hall. You are dressed in a hospital issue, yellow baby grow. If I’m honest, it’s not your best colour. You have to go back into your crib on wheels because carrying newborns is a big no no in a nursery ward. I roll you across, into your mom’s room. She lights up like a bulb and as I lift you out of your crib and place you in her arms, you splay open your baby hands and the small fingers in those hands look almost translucent.
We spend a little while as three. I hug my fragile family as tight as I dare. This then is the pinnacle of my existence thus far. I am now a husband and a father. But I am about to become a dad.
I am about to change my very first nappy. The process will take half an hour, three nappies, two bags of baby wipes, one yellow baby grow and about a hundred and fifty individual and untrained wipes of the longest poop in all of human history. But that’s a story for another day.