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I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry. After sad times early last summer and then an autumn and winter where we quietly hoped, my sister-in-law has finally had her much desired first baby.
Fate dictated that the little fella would start arriving just as I had returned to Cornwall for a few weeks. So no sooner was he thinking about putting in an appearance in the labour ward than we were booking hotels and, in the early hours of Sunday morning, hitting the road (and McDonalds; bless McDonalds and their 24 hour opening ethos, something of a rarity in the Westcountry.)
As we received updates from the sister-in-law’s partner, I started having flashbacks to the first time I became a dad and the little things that had happened, the little ways I’d felt.
That first time I had phoned from the hospital with the news, a mixture of sleepy-sounding weariness and unadulterated joy with a dash of disbelief thrown in.
When the other half nipped out to use the toilet and/or phone, leaving me alone to gaze in wonder and in awe at this strange little thing, sleeping, that had just entered our lives.
The buzz of people at home, waiting expectantly, eager to help and not get in the way, but in actual fact desperate for that first cuddle and being at the centre of all that, holding the key (quite literally in our arms) to everyone’s happy mood.
I expect I was viewing these memories through rose-tinted glasses but remembering all of them made me feel happy and even slightly envious that I wasn’t the one experiencing them first hand now.
And then came my first cuddle with, hey, my first nephew. The little fella was lying on a pillow, snoozing, when he was passed to me. Considering he weighed 8lb 7oz, he had such little fingers (though big feet apparently.) He was tiny with an adorably serious turned down mouth. No comedy gurn like my first born. It was a wonderful moment: quiet, understated, beautiful. I could have stayed there for hours if the wife hadn’t been downstairs in the hospital foyer trying to keep our two amused.
I thought of all the moments that the new parents have to come: the first time you see your baby look at you with a real sense of recognition, the first smile and all the many things he’ll discover for the first time. And that’s even before he starts rolling, crawling, coasting, walking, laughing, talking…
I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. And I didn’t. Forget envy. I was too happy to cry. I may not be the one experiencing parenthood first hand this time round but I look forward to sharing in the joy that their little man is undoubtedly going to bring.