DIARY OF A NEW DAD: Illness creates stronger bonds

A personal view
A personal view
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This week, Tom was struck down hard by a hideous bout of tonsillitis, writes Ben Keenan.

In our home, the first sign that something isn’t right occurs at the dinner table.

The improvements Tom has made with cutlery dexterity are nothing short of breathtaking, but on this particular day, not even the prospect of lasagna could interest the boy, or melon, yogurt, unpeeled oranges or even his current favourite – tea and a biscuit.

My son is an amazing alarm clock. Since his birth he has woken me up with such efficiency that I am sometimes ready for work three hours early, but on this particular morning Tom slept in for such a long time, his Mama had to leave for work without their traditional morning routine of cuddles and cereal together.

Imagine his shock when instead of the perfumed silky one, his first kiss of the day was from the funny looking one with the sandpaper chin. The boy, to put it mildly was unimpressed, but after some aeroplane spoon games and a slurp of Earl Grey, Tom had gotten over the shock and settled down. That was until the pain in his throat flared up again.

Throughout constant tears, his tiny fist hooked on to my shirt with such ferocity that no matter where I was or what I was doing, Tom was tethered to me and had no intention of letting go. It was a day which not only re-cemented a bond, it gave me several opportunities to develop new skills, including an ability to chop a butternut squash one-handed. And then at bedtime, as I tried again and again to escape Tom’s clutches, even the tears which flowed every time I put him down made me happy because I could sense the shared feeling of vital necessity we have for one another. Knowing that my boy is in pain causes me pain, but it leads me somewhere emotionally uncharted and brings my family closer together and because of it, although it is an odd thing to admit to, I am glad it happens.