This week has been horrendous and wonderful in equal measure, writes Ben Keenan.
Our story starts in a doctor’s waiting room where three Keenan’s were sitting, singing songs about farmyard animals with Tom making noises that made him sound uncannily like Louis Armstrong. Once the doctor had given him the once over, it was agreed that medicine was required and off we went armed with a bag full of health benefits. With 5mls of improvement loaded into a syringe I advanced towards the boy who, although weakened by a brutal cough and cold, spied a different-coloured liquid to Calpol and refused to co-operate. We arrive now at the first horrendous part of my story because through all the pre-natal birthing classes and antenatal fun, nobody teaches you how to cope with the fact that one day, you’ll have to force your child to take medicine. Tom was crying, I was crying, there was banana flavoured antibiotics dripping from everything and I have never felt worse.
Once Tom had calmed down he fell asleep on me and I found myself face to face with the second horrendous part of my story. There I was, sitting on the floor with an ill baby on my lap who would stir and cry at the slightest movement and just out of reach on the floor in front of me were my mobile phone and the television remote control. In an effort to pacify the boy I had succumbed to the saccharine insanity of a well-known purple dinosaur and could do nothing but remain trapped, with my eyes closed trying to shut out Barney. An hour later, when Tom woke and I could mute my purple nemesis, the wonderful part of my story took place. As we sat in silence and I looked down at my boy, our eyes met. Tom reached up and stroked my face, gave me a tiny smile which told me he felt better and rolled into my arms for a cuddle from which I have yet to recover – love and pain collided to make me a stronger father and the luckiest man in the space of 60 minutes.