Six years ago today, Dylan was born. Yes, this is a cliché, but I don’t know where the time has gone. When people ask what it was like becoming a dad for the first time, I refer them to 28 Days Later. There is a good reason for this and it isn’t just because I love horror films!
There is a particular scene that encapsulates it for me. Fret not, it isn’t one that involves anything unsavoury! The main protagonist is walking away from hospital. The streets are deserted. It’s a world he knows, yet not. Something big has clearly happened but he hasn’t processed it. He is about to get the shock of his life when the realisation hits.
Fortunately, when I found myself making the same bewildered walk, there were no upturned buses or people infected by rage! There are similarities though. Because it was only on that weary trudge that the reality of what had happened in the previous few hours hit me.
It was about 5am on a Sunday morning, hence the eerie quiet outside. Dylan was born shortly after 2am and, as soon as he and Kate were moved to the ward, I had to go. Apparently, I was a guest and we were outside visiting hours. I don’t drive, there were no buses and the taxi rank was empty. I called my parents to tell them the good news and ask for a lift. Then I started walking in the direction of home.
In the delivery room, I had somehow managed to switch off my feelings. I decided early on that I didn’t matter for the time being. It was all about ensuring Kate and Dylan were okay. But here, around three hours later and a mile from the hospital, they came back with a vengeance. And they literally stopped me in my tracks.
It was a complete jumble of emotions. Obviously, there was the joy of Dylan finally arriving. He had kept us waiting for an extra week. There was the immediate love that, beforehand, I had worried I might not feel – for no logical reason at all.
There was a sense of relief that he and Kate were okay too. He came out with his cord around his neck so I started thinking about what could have happened. Then there was the sadness and anger at being made to leave so soon after he was born. Finally, I realised that we had no idea what to do with him!
Six years later though and with two more children in tow, we seem to be doing well. We still don’t know what we’re doing each time we negotiate a new first, but he continues to be an excellent teacher – even if he doesn’t realise it.
Happy Birthday, Dylan. Keep doing your thing. Namely keeping us on our toes and generally being you. We love you, little man!