A letter to Max…

Dear Max,

So you are eleven today! How did that happen? Last time I looked you were around two years old and asleep on my lap. Where does the time go beautiful boy? Luckily you still only look about seven so I thank you for staying small and giving me more time with my little man than some parents of strapping eleven year old’s get.

Max 2

To mark your birthday I thought I’d write you a letter and share some memories of the day you were born. Obviously this replaces any presents you were hoping to receive which I’m sure you will be fully supportive of. Just in case you aren’t, I’ve hidden your nerf gun and imitation lightsaber where you’ll never find them (no, not your school bag) and I’ve moved to a safe house in another dimension.

The night before you were born your mother and I went to bed as normal. Charlie was already asleep in his room completely unaware that this would be his last ever night of peace as his nemesis was reading himself to arrive. Your mother was a lot bigger whilst pregnant with you, than she had been with Charlie, so I was glad of our recent purchase of a super king bed as she was taking up a lot more room than she usually does. You were about a week late which, actually, isn’t like you as you have inherited your love of punctuality from me.

At about 2am your mother carefully woke me and politely informed me that you were on your way. When I say politely it’s because I’m not sure of the policy on swearing the blogging site I’m writing this letter on has so I’m erring on the side of caution! Upon hearing the news I sprung out of bed like a trained ninja, dressed in the ‘having a second kid’ outfit I’d selected immediately after receiving confirmation of your conception, carried your mother and her suitcase out to the car and hit the road. Obviously we had to go back home almost immediately and pick up Charlie to take him to his grandparents but let’s keep the minor detail that we forgot him to ourselves.

Upon arriving at the hospital we we shown into a room with a comfortable looking bed and a very uncomfortable looking pink chair. Apparently hospital policy was that the pregnant mother had to take the bed while I was stuck with the chair. I did write a letter later registering my complaint about this but to this day I have received no reply. Delighted with her victory your mother got into bed and promptly fell asleep, leaving me to the pink chair and a room with no television.

Several hours later your mother awoke and requested that I go and purchase her a drink from the shop downstairs. Glad of the diversion and the opportunity to go and get a newspaper and a sandwich (I was starving and to this day always recommend to new fathers to be that they take a packed lunch to the hospital with them) I willingly set off on my important mission. Whilst perusing the wide selection of drinks on offer out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a packet of jelly babies. Rationalising that the juice these sweets provide would bring longer lasting refreshment than an ordinary drink I bought these and returned them to your mother ready to accept her gratitude as modestly as possible. How was I to know that the jelly babies would actually dry out her mouth rather than refresh it! It’s fair to say that this incident has been brought up at every argument your mother and I have had since, particularly as later when she asked for one it transpired that I’d eaten them all.

After about fifteen hours of not very much happening the doctor decided that a cesarean section would be the best way for you to make your entrance in the world. This was the same as it had been with your brother although, unlike him, at least you were pointing in the right direction. As brothers you are still the one that has some semblance of a sense of direction. Unfortunately for Charlie he inherited his lack of one from me. Once we were taken down to the Operating Theater it only took a bit of minor slicing and dicing before you were with us. At this point I feel I need to pass on a really important piece of fatherly advice. If you have find yourself in the same situation under no circumstances should you look south of your wife/partners chest area, if you do ‘things’ will never be the same again!

Max once you were removed from the safety of your mothers womb you decided you weren’t quite ready to start actually breathing yet and despite some cajoling and prodding you displayed the first signs of the stubbornness we all know and love and refused to play breathing ball. In an attempt to ‘kick start’ your engine you were taken away from us and placed in an incubator in the Intensive Care unit. While we were waiting for news your mother and I were taken back to the room where, to be fair not unreasonably, she fell asleep again. As I was sitting there I heard the doctor on the phone saying that Max was quite poorly and needed some urgent help quickly. I’m so glad your mother didn’t hear this as right in that moment I felt as helpless as I ever had done before or since. Time seemed to stand still and, although I don’t think it was very long before the doctor came to see us, it seemed an eternity. The mix and intensity of feelings I had during that time were unreal; fear, loneliness, love, helplessness and love, love, love and love again are just the ones that spring to mind as I write this letter.

Max 3

Fortunately after a couple of hours you decided you’d had enough of the mini greenhouse (incubator) you’d been put in and began to breath normally and on your own without even the smallest bribe (unlike you). Your mother and I were allowed to come and see you and even touch your hand. You really were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen.

After a few days we were allowed to take you home and you were able to begin your lifelong obsession of tormenting Charlie at every opportunity. The very first night you were home you cried prompting your brother to come into our room informing us that ‘baby crying’. You were quickly quietened but I’m convinced you were just waiting for Charlie to fall back to sleep before starting to cry at the top of your baby lungs once again. Despite the never ending torture he has to endure Charlie loves you so much, so do I and so does your mum. Without you we are all incomplete.

All my love.



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