The clock ticks over to half past two.
Alarms ping in the distance. The room is a hive of activity. Machines beep and boop. Nurses enter and leave as if they are a part of a relay team.
She lays on the bed exhausted, but she smiles at me. It’s at me, but it’s more about what I’m holding. Our son. Our first child. The precious cargo in my arms.
He is oblivious to the love that surrounds him.
The doctor asks me to retrieve something from a nearby cupboard. I walk over tentatively, taking each step with surgical-like precision through the maze of wires and cords. The doctor and nurses laugh at how tight I’m holding him. They suggest I put him down. But I choose to keep holding him.
We are bonding. I stare down at him. I notice every minute detail. He doesn’t have my comically large ears—a victory! His little fingers are wrinkled and thin. Then there’s his squishy little face. My heart swells.
He has no idea what he has done. He has made us a family. I feel in awe of this little bundle.
The enormity of this journey stretches out in front of me. Nappies, no sleep, and midnight bottles. I panic slightly. I think of my parents. They did it; everyone’s parents did.
I have my beautiful wife at my side. My one true love, together through it all. My grip loosens. My arms are screaming, but still I hold him. The most amazing gift we have ever received.
I close my eyes. My tired eyes. Flashes of the future appear before me: kindergarten, school, friends, and girls. So much to take in. So much to teach him while I’m learning myself. I take a deep breath. One day at a time, I tell myself.
Doubt creeps in like a dark storm cloud. Will I ever be good enough for this little creature? Will I be my dad? I make a vow then and there to be a better father than he was. To scream less. To judge less and to love more. This wonderful little boy won’t fear me or be scared into keeping his light and effervescence for life hidden.
I cannot take my eyes off of this beautiful little human. He will be loved, without question. Unconditional love will be his foundation for a life well lived.