It was a bright and breezy Thursday morning when my wife Jen left the house for her first official day back at work, writes Ben Keenan.
She gave me and the boy a kiss and, closing the door behind her, waved goodbye to the results of a perfect pregnancy and an absolutely beautiful maternity leave.
The silence that filled the house when the door closed suddenly dawned on me and my son and in one exchanged look, we both knew that things were about to change quite dramatically. The boy seemed to understand that his favourite thing in the entire world had just left the building and his Dad was now in charge of milk distribution and playtime.
This realisation appeared to weigh somewhat heavy on his mind and 63 seconds after Jen had left, he filled his nappy and vomited in the space of two minutes. I took this to be a protest of sorts but felt confident in my ability to fix any crisis that arose during our first full day together.
The outings and afternoons we’ve shared prior to this always came with a safety net knowing that Jen was within reach by car if needed, but as our car reversed out of the drive that morning, everything came down to me.
After breakfast we started with a game of peekaboo, watched cartoons and had several rounds of Tom on the Cobb. Then things got a little tricky. Tom needed a nap but was missing his mum. I had to improvise and, after an hour of lullabies, bribery and gentle rocking, he fell asleep in my arms. I stared down at him and watched him sleeping until his beautiful face hypnotised me and I joined him in what turned out to be the finest nap I had ever experienced. Two perfect hours later, Tom raised his head and opened his eyes and he smiled at me and I cried. It was one of those rare moments in life where the clocks seem to stop and the only two people on Earth are a father and his son wrapped in a blanket who have just shared something truly magical.