When Tom was 15 minutes old, Haley, the beautiful midwife who helped guide him from his first apartment inside his mother’s womb to the dimmed lights of a hospital room, handed him to me with a radiant and experienced smile.
Holding my boy with lingering thoughts of terror that I might drop him, he looked up at me with eyes that despite being half closed, shone so brightly I could see the future in their reflection and we had our first official conversation as father and son. He was so sleepy that he let me do the lion’s share of the talking but didn’t take his eyes off of me for what seemed like hours but in reality was probably just a few short minutes. I introduced myself in a confident but soothing tone and reassured him that the kiss and subsequent beard rash I’d just given him would feel different in the morning after I’d been home to shave and moisturise after 45 hours without a razor. In that first moment we shared, we cemented a bond that only new dads can experience as it differs completely from any that a child and a mother can develop. It’s a hard bond to describe in words as the power, beauty and strength which helped created it exists in the deepest and most unfathomable recesses of my heart. It bloomed from a part of me that I never knew existed until the moment I found out I was going to be a father. Over the course of nine exquisite months of whispered conversations through my soulmate’s bump, my heart redesigned and restructured itself in preparation for the second Tom took his first breath, at which time it inflated to such a remarkable size that the sound of it beating could be felt through the walls and floor. It’s been six long and phenomenal months since that perfect day but I can recall each moment with such scientific precision that if I close my eyes and let myself float away, I’m back in the fourth room on the left inside ward F11 at 12:47am on a cold and rainy December morning when my life changed so dramatically.