Every day seems bluer and sunnier. I opened the window in my daughter’s bedroom this morning and my gaze was drawn to the sky, backlit blue and criss-crossed by a geometry of vapour threads. Below, the white stucco reflected sunlight like a Greek hilltop village.
This has been my daughter's room since she was born. Before that it was the least important room in the house: a spare bedroom for our occasional guests, containing a wrought-iron bed, a wooden chair and little else. In the months leading up to her birth I banged together flat-packed MDF into a cot, shelf and changing table and by the time our daughter came back with us it had become the most important room. I don’t spend much time in it anymore. In the early months I spent a lot of time there – time I can’t even recall now - sitting in the dark, rocking her gently and hoping desperately for sleep. Now the cot and changing table have given way to book shelves and a bed and her favourite pink toys. And my time is limited to a couple of stories at bedtime.
Since my sister gave birth a couple of weeks ago I have become an uncle as well as a father. Seeing her baby has made me think of those times. My daughter pulled some photos out the other day showing me with dark hair and beard, looking a lot more than three and a half years younger. Few hints yet of the grey to come. Our daughter grins when we point to her baby self and tell her that it’s her. I think she thinks we are joking. Or maybe just deluded. I can see what she means though, since it all seems so long ago. I’m absurdly nostalgic. I could sit for weeks looking at one photograph if left alone long enough. I feel nostalgic about people, places, even objects … and myself. I have great affection for my younger self. So innocent and unknowing. I’d like to have been able to put an avuncular arm around myself and say there wasn’t anything to worry about. I’d get through. The early years are very short. You’ll be alright. Just stick with it. It might even be useful advice for my daughter one day.