One day last month Tim worked from home. It was one of those days where Henry was still gallivanting downstairs in his vest and socks at 10am, yelling something or other about diggers.
‘Henry’, I heard Tim say, ‘want to come help me work?’
Everything went quiet. I looked over the balcony to check he wasn’t balancing on anything taller than himself. But he was sat next to Daddy on the armchair, sharing a blanket, looking at Tim’s server configurations with intense concentration. I wanted to cry at the look on his face: pride, and self-importance, and glee beyond reckoning. Even the hair on the top of his head was standing up in excitement (or lack of brushing, I forget which).
He wears the same expression when he sails off on the back of Tim’s bike, or fiddles with screwdrivers while they put up a shelf, or sits on his knee to steer the car. He hears Tim’s key in the door and his everything lights up like a beacon. They go back, these two, to dark hours of brand-new nights, when going to sleep on Daddy’s chest was the best thing a tiny boy could imagine. You can get Henry to repeat pretty much anything these days, but ask him who he loves and he’ll give it to you straight.
‘Hey, can you say: I love Mummy?’
‘No! I love Mummy’.
(I tried bribery. He won’t be moved.)
It slays me. Because Timothy completes me too, so I understand. I watch him fill up parts of this boy I can’t touch, and it’s a particular sort of happiness I never anticipated.
I might be the one Henry comes to for kisses and quiet. But at heart he is a voyager, and his co-pilot of choice is Daddy. Bros for life, with their matching feet and hairlines. It feels like that’s how it should be. I’m so glad I get to see it.
Happy Father’s Day, favourite.