It was raining on the day we brought Tom home from the hospital, writes Ben Keenan. We loaded him into his car seat, said several tearful goodbyes to those angels in scrubs who had been so wonderful during our stay and as the door to ward F12 closed softly behind us, Jen and I suddenly realised that we were well and truly on our own.
The enormity of this dawned upon us at the exact same time and as we exited the front door and headed for the car, Tom took his first lung full of fresh air while we sheltered him from the drizzle of rain that had greeted him and fought the urge to leg it back to the safety of the maternity ward.
Having triple checked to make sure his car seat was secured; we headed for home driving so ridiculously slowly that pedestrians could have overtaken us had they wanted to. What felt like several hours later, I opened the door to our home, gently placed our son on the kitchen table and turned to hug my wife. We stood in our kitchen in the pitch dark and while our son slept his novice Mum and Dad hugged cried the most perfect tears it is possible to cry and had no earthly desire to stop.
The tiny pink lump of wonder that now lived with us was more astonishing than we could comprehend and as each minute passed, the world he had been born into seemed to radiate with increased warmth and brighter colours because of him. Despite the fear I felt every time I had to change his nappy or dress him, Tom helped mould me into something I always hoped to be but was never 100% certain that I would be, a confident and relaxed father. And now time has passed and I have experienced more joy and amazement than I could dream of, I am pleased to be able to report that I can now change a nappy and dress my son in less than 25 minutes (unless there are dungarees involved). And as I look out of the window of our home exactly one year to the day he came home, I find that it’s raining again, but the sun is shining in my heart and its a million degrees in the shade every time I think about my son’s first 12 months.