There was silence in the delivery room followed by piercing screams from the tiny bundle.
“What is happening” thought the child unaware of her new surroundings.She panicked as she tried to open her eyes for the first time.
“It's so bright and everything around me is moving”,
“It's one big blurry mess” she thought as she quickly closed her eyes shutting out her new and daunting world. She felt vulnerable and scared, she longed for her familiar tranquil surroundings, the warm fluid, the calmness of soft light and the constant beat that soothed her to sleep.
Her desperate cries filled the room.
Suddenly she was placed against soft warm skin and instantly sherecognised the comforting smell and the sound of a familiar voice. She snuggled into her mother’s safe and welcoming arms and began to feel calmness wash over her.
The following morning it was time to check out of the hospital.
Zoe sat in the back of the taxi unable to take her eyes off her beautiful daughter. She wondered how Zach, her five year old son, would react to the new addition to the family. He had been through so much this year and as she stroked her daughters soft cheek tears stung her eyes.
Zach sat in the corner of the room, arms folded with a scowl.
“It's not sharing my room,” he thought to himself tightening his arms. “And it's not playing with my toys either”, he added.
“Why did Mum have to have another baby, “he thought glaring over at the whimpering bundle that was currently receiving lots of attention. “We were fine without her. ”
He looked around the room at the crowd of friends and relatives all cooing at the new arrival. No-one seemed to even notice him here alone in the corner, no-one noticed the tears welling up in his eyes.
“And its a girl”, he thought, “How annoying”.
He stood up, stomped up the stairs to his room and slammed the door behind him. He threw himself angrily onto the bed and screamed into his pillow.
He didn’t want anything else to change, he had just gotten used to things the way they were after a rough year and now this…
A moment later he jumped up as he felt someone stroke his hair.
“Dad?” he said excitedly as he quickly wiped his tears away. “Dad the baby's here… and it’s a girl”, he said disgusted.
“Ah a girl huh?” said his dad with a grin, knowing full well that Zach would not be impressed. “So how does it feel to be a big brother”
“I'm not sure dad,” he replied looking very sorrowful
“It will be all right son,” he replied sitting down on the bed next to him. “Your mum is gonna need your help.”
“Yer I guess. But the baby cries all the time,” he said, “and she smells funny too.” He carried on looking up at his father with pleading eyes.
“I know its hard son, I know everything this year has been hard, but this is a new start and I need you to be brave for me”.
A tear fell down the little boy's cheek and he quickly wiped it away.
“OK dad, I’ll try.”
“I'm never far away Zach, remember that,” he said, as he reached down and kissed his son so softly that it felt like a passing butterfly.
Zach closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of his father... but when he opened his eyes his dad was gone.
He remembered the last time he'd said goodbye to his dad. He had looked so smart in his army uniform as he stopped and saluted Zach before disappearing into the crowd of soldiers boarding the plane for Afghanistan. .
He remembered the awful day when he was told his dad had been killed in action and would never see his wife and son again... would never meet hisbeautiful new daughter.
“Bye dad” said Zack, blowing a kiss into the air. “I’ll look after mum and baby... I promise.”