On Paternity

writings from long ago i never published...

So, I'm a dad now. So it comes.

The day that Esmeralda Rose Griliopoulos was born, I spent a lot of time
asking 'what have I done?'; I was baffled. We'd been up all night; the induced labour
had started at about 11, we went to hospital at about 1, finally got
seen about 3, and Esm was born about half 8, when the morning team
arrived with new energy and actual doctors, and kicked everything up a
notch. We were let out the same day, and got to introduce her to 4 of
her grandparents and her only true uncle. The lack of sleep didn't
help with inability to deal with what I was witnessing.

That day, my perspective on the world changed in two unexpected ways.
Firstly: childbirth. I instantly resolved that the long-suffering
never had to make the tea again. For a start. Every mother I see, I
think, you've been through That. Mothers... jeez. Hats off to all mothers, everywhere. Which really changes what you think as you walk down the street.

Secondly: looking down at Esm, and thinking adoring thoughts of her. And realising that this is the feeling your parents have had whenever they looked at you, for the last thirty years. And feeling massively guilty for every time you didn't appreciate this.

That was stuff from the first day, which I never got around to writing down. But it's important to put it up here.

We're not just a couple now, we're now 'team esme'. We're here to keep her alive. That feels strange. It has changed our relationship, because we're a three-piece now. a family, not a couple.

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