Well, it's been quite a two weeks! Bringing a new homo sapiens life into the world is, of course, one of the most literally life-changing things you can do. Especially since once you've done it, you have to keep it fed and watered! For about 20 years!
About three days in I went through a shaky moment after 2 sleepless nights (3 for Helen, who had a night in hospital). But anyone that's seen my Facebook timeline will know I am quite the doting father, totally smitten with our wee son, Edan. This was just shock to the system and a sort of instinctive panic, that if this was how it now was, I might not cope, especially once back to work. But I will, because it's a team effort and it will get easier.
Which leads nicely into mentioning Helen, who is a remarkable mum. Her training as a nurse is invaluable and she has a gentle and confident touch that is reassuring to both baby and dad. And through propped-open eyes she retains a vigour and commitment that belies the fact she is recovering from a major operation and has had additional complicating ailments to deal with. Edan is blessed to have her as a mum.
We've already experienced the fretfulness of having to get medical intervention; and then the angst and guilt of having to administer regular medicine to a little boy who doesn't understand why he is forced to drink something so luminous and foul tasting. (Quite naturally he's decorated a few choice locations with it). I found myself looking into his teary eyes this evening saying 'please don't hate me' and experiencing for the first time that paradox of 'doing something horrible because I love you...' Henceforth, I expect a lifetime of such confusion.
I suppose this underlines why becoming a parent can be so significant; affirming, yet daunting in equal measure - because there is so much new to experience and it all comes at you like a sonic boom.
2 weeks in, and despite a few missed showers and shaves, the initial anxieties have gone and regardless of the sleep deprivation and unending whir of the washing machine, the joyfulness is emerging. A good deal of that has already come from the photography - i can't say Edan is the most co-operative of models, but he's certainly photogenic and keeping me on my toes.
Another heart-tugging moment was my first 'FaceTime' tonight while away from home - into a captivated pair of deep dark eyes that followed my waving hand 130 miles away. Lumpy-throat-moment. There are so many more of these moments to come.
Thanks so much to all my friends all over the globe, with messages of kindness and support, cards and gifts (every surface is filled), and for enduring my gushiness (such as this). I've left it a bit later in life to be embracing fatherhood, well past my midlife crisis, so perhaps there is a certain 'seize the moment' gusto and yearning for playfulness that inevitably comes with age. I'm not going to apologise for that :-)
I'm looking forward to a good solid 5 hours sleep tonight in the travelodge! But come tomorrow, really it's time to think about our next chapter....