I've never enjoyed two weeks of my life more than the fortnight of my paternity leave. The immediate love I had for my little boy Sonny, the closeness we felt as a family and the sheer joy of watching that tiny baby turn into a little boy full of personality was the greatest feeling I could ever imagine. And then I went back to work...
here is nothing wrong in having a preference for how we would like our life to be. But rigid single mindedness can lead to vulnerability, when life and those around us do not deliver. We may not have the necessary mental and emotional resilience and agility to bounce back and adjust accordingly. If we are less accepting of the value of others' difference, then we may find it hard, if others struggle with our own difference.
As a new dad, with no experience of a baby before apart from whanging my sister's dolls out of the way by their arms when we were much much younger, knowing that a baby was arriving imminently was quite scary and no amount of antenatal classes, even with life like dolls, could really offer the reassurance that I was looking for.
When it comes to significant occasions, it'd be fair to say Father's Day has often been near the bottom of my list. My Dad left before I was a year old, I always called him by his first name, we were never the stereotypical father and daughter unit. But we loved each other and, over time, it worked.
During my father's sectioning, my uncle, brother and I went into his employers and managed to get him retired - a decision that was very difficult for us. This was made even more challenging when our motives were questioned and we ended up being made to feel as if we were trying to squeeze money out of his employers.
The urgent need for a gift for my husband has found me in a pottery cafe, yet again, ruining perfectly good mugs with our children's painted footprints. The irony is not lost on the toddler, who notes that I am less enthused about her handprints when they adorn the TV screen, the folding doors and my white shorts.
Men care, and cherish and nurture, just as women do. This is what Heather Whitten's photo of her husband shows; a man caring for an ill small child. The fact that his child was unwell does not make this exceptional; caring happens in big and small ways each and every day, because loving others means wanting and doing the best for them.
My wife's expecting our first daughter in August this year, and I can't wait. I'm so excited about being a dad. But rewind just a few short years, and I could never have imagined this would be happening to me. Because my cancer surgeon had just uttered the words "the treatment will almost certainly leave you infertile".
Where does the female half of the species learn this unprecedented skill? Was there an open day or meeting I missed where there were a dozen prosthetic backsides all laid out in a row and covered with Nutella. I like to imagine a stern lady barking out wiping orders to an ensemble of new mothers all learning the skill that us Dad's envy.