1. Sunday 16th June 2019 9:16am
It’s the strong smell of coffee that rudely conspires with a hand raking through his soft curls to wake Jake up at an hour that’s ungodly, as far as he’s concerned, for a Sunday. His only protest (a soft groan as his eyes adjust to the sunlight flooding their bedroom), however, is weak as his brain catches up with the rest of him and he remembers that this is in fact his first shared day off with Amy in eight whole days. He shifts to face her, and, in turn, her hand moves from his bedhead to lightly trace his eyebrows and nose with her finger.
“Morning, sleepyhead,” she says sweetly, and when Jake looks up at her sitting against their headboard, he’s met with the most beautiful smile he’s ever seen.
“Mmf, mornin’ babe,” he throws an arm round her torso and nuzzles into her side before lifting up her t-shirt to caress her ever-growing bump, “And good morning to you, baby.”
Amy rubs her husband’s shoulder affectionately as his eyes flutter close again, his hand still resting on her swollen stomach. “Y’know, today’s a very special day, babe.”
“Our first day off since last Friday, I know. Believe me, I’ve been looking forward to this all week,” Jake mumbles into her side.
“Well, that too,” Amy muses with a smile. “But, more importantly… happy Father’s Day, Jake.”
At that, Jake’s suddenly wide awake. He grins up at her excitedly and Amy can’t help but laugh at his sudden burst of energy; she leans down to meet him halfway and kiss him softly.
He settles back against her side and kisses her belly as well for good measure. “17 weeks today, right?”
“Yep,” Amy confirms, already looking forward to crossing off another week on the pregnancy calendar she designed for herself.
“You’re totally acing this whole pregnancy thing, Ames,” Jake beams, because he really is so unbelievably proud of her and he’s never going to hide it.
“Want an update on what’s going on in there?” Amy asks, already knowing the answer, as her left hand covers Jake’s on her belly.
“Always.” His wife reaches to drink a sip of coffee (from her Mrs. Mug) before unplugging her phone from its charger and unlocking it one-handed.
“So according to the app,” Amy starts, opening up the pregnancy app she downloaded the day after she found out she was pregnant. “At 17 weeks, your baby weighs roughly 150 grams and is the size of a pomegranate. Your baby’s face looks entirely human, especially as their eyebrows and eyelashes have started to grow, and by now, they have their own unique fingerprint for life.”
Every week Amy reels off her pregnancy facts and every week Jake amends, “Our baby.”
She grins down at him. “That’s so incredible, Ames,” he marvels, kissing her belly again. “I love you so much, little pomegranate.”
“They love you so much too,” Amy assures him before adding, “and so do I.” She places her phone back on her nightstand before shuffling down to lie back in bed so that she’s eye-level with him. Jake smiles at her with endless love in his eyes and takes the opportunity to kiss her, morning breath and all.
It’s Amy who pulls away from the kiss first with a giggle as her right hand comes to gently stroke his cheek. “You know, of all my husbands and baby daddies, you’re definitely my favourite.”
“Amy Santiago,” Jake plays along dramatically, quickly pecking her lips. “I am truly honoured.”
“Just don’t tell the others,” she teases with a grin.
“Oh, I wouldn’t dare. I kinda like having you all to myself.”
Amy’s hand comes to rub her belly. “Yeah, well, that’s all going to change in five months’ time, babe.”
“Better make the most of it while I can, then,” her husband retorts, skilfully pulling her t-shirt over her head with one hand while the other reaches blindly to feel her breasts. (Jake simply can’t get enough of Amy’s pregnancy hormones – the ones that cause her to glow and make her boobs grow and that have made her super horny recently, that is. Not the ones that make her cry when she realises she’s folded clothes away in the wrong drawer or shout at him when he forgets to buy her pickles.)
They grin at each other, both knowing there’s no other way they’d rather start such a momentous day.
2. Sunday 21st June 2020, 6:03am
The first thing Jake hears upon waking up is crying coming from down the hallway. But it’s not just any crying, it’s wailing that he would recognise from a mile away: his seven-month-old daughter’s. Through sleep-heavy eyes, he assesses his surroundings, deducing from the empty space beside him, their open bedroom door, the switched on bedside light, and the abandoned baby monitor that Amy must have gone to fetch her from her crib; ever since Maya was born, his fine-tuned detective skills have been forced to adapt to the earlier starts to the day. Sure enough, only minutes later, a tired Amy returns to their bedroom bouncing a very unhappy Maya on her hip, and Jake mentally congratulates himself on another great solve.
“Sounds like someone’s hungry,” Jake muses with a yawn.
“This little girl never stops eating,” Amy confirms, grabbing an extra pillow from the floor and climbing back into her side of the bed. “She’s definitely your daughter.”
Jake grins and covers his wife’s lower half with their comforter as she manoeuvres to find a comfortable position for both her and baby. Amy briefly rests Maya on her thighs as she pulls down the straps of her tank top, before cradling her against her chest and gently easing her towards her breast. The relentless crying subsides almost immediately as Maya starts suckling, and suddenly nothing else in the entire world matters.
So has been their routine for over half a year now and, to Jake, it’s still nothing short of a miracle. The sweet symphony of Maya’s content snuffles as Amy nurses is perhaps Jake’s favourite sound in the world (right up there with the sound of Amy’s laugh). And he’s so tired – he was the one soothing Maya by bouncing her around the apartment in the baby bjorn when she woke up just 4 hours earlier – but nothing could make him take his eyes off his two favourite girls in the world right now.
After ten or so perfect, dream-like minutes, Jake’s hand reaches to gently stroke the back of Maya’s head. “I know I say this like every day,” he starts softly, interrupting the quietness that has enveloped the room, “but isn’t it amazing that we really made her, huh?”
“Well, I think I did most of the work,” Amy replies with a smirk, Maya’s little hands clutching her finger.
“Hey, she still wouldn’t be here without me!”
“I guess I technically can’t argue with that,” Amy chuckles, running her free hand through Jake’s hair. She’ll remind him later that he’s really in need of a haircut; as with nearly everything after having a baby, it’s a task that’s sunk further down his list of priorities. “Happy Father’s Day, Jake.”
A dopey smile forms on Jake’s face and he leans up to kiss Maya’s head first, and then Amy’s lips. “I still can’t believe I’m this little munchkin’s dad.”
“You’re the best dad she could possibly ask for, you know. We love you more than anything, babe.”
“I love you ladies more than anything in the world too,” he smiles, looking into Maya’s beautiful brown eyes (he thinks they take after her mother’s, Amy would argue the opposite).
There’s a beat as he marvels at his daughter, before the realisation hits him that he never actually celebrated this holiday with his own father. “So, what do people even do on Father’s Day?”
Amy’s face softens as she one-handedly smooths out Maya’s onesie. “I believe Maya may have some presents lined up for you, and then I thought we could go out for brunch en famille.”
“Presents! You really shouldn’t have, Maya-Moo,” Jake says excitedly, rubbing her tiny foot. “And brunch sounds fancy and amazing, Ames, I love it.”
“Great!” Amy grins, passing Jake a muslin cloth. “For your first present, you get the pleasure of burping Miss Maya and getting puked on while I go take a shower.”
He takes that as his cue to hold Maya while Amy readjusts her tank top and climbs out of bed in search of a nursing bra and a clean t-shirt. God, his wife and daughter are so beautiful.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way, Ames.”
3. Sunday 16th June 2024, 5:12am
“Daddy!” two very excited voices squeal, bursting into their parents’ bedroom without a second thought. Maya and Maxwell climb onto their bed and jump on top of Jake, just to be extra sure that he isn’t still sleeping.
“Ow! Don’t use my – me as a trampoline,” Jake half-groans, half-laughs at his kids’ unbridled enthusiasm. The clock reads 5:12am, because this is what his life with two kids under five is like, but Jake can’t complain because as soon as he opens his eyes they stop squealing and start peppering kisses his face instead. He does his best in his tired state to savour their sweet affection.
“What’s all this for?” he asks with a chuckle as Maya parks herself on his chest. He knows Amy’s awake next to him but she’s pretending to be asleep, even as she blindly reaches for a baby and successfully gets Max to snuggle with her (not that her three-year-old needs much persuasion).
“Don’t you know it’s Daddy’s Day?” Maya pokes his face incredulously. “Mommy told me so last night.”
“Mhm,” Jake hears Amy mumble at the sound of her name.
Jake reaches up to smooth Maya’s ridiculous bedhead curls and agrees with a smile, “So it is, sweetheart. You’re so smort.”
“I made a card for you at school and everything!” Maya grins because she’s four-and-a-half years old now and she does big girl things like go to kindergarten and make Father’s Day cards. Jake can’t really process the fact that this is technically his fifth Father’s Day; his babies are growing up far too fast for his liking.
“I made one too, Daddy!” Maxwell pipes up from Amy’s arms. “Mommy even let me use glitter!”
“Oh, then it must be super special, Mr. Max. Thank you so much, buddy” Jake replies, stroking his son’s cheek.
Maya tugs at his t-shirt with an excited grin, “Daddy, let’s go open presents nowww.” Oh, to be a kid with this much energy at 5am again, Jake thinks, rubbing her little arm.
“Hey, how about we snuggle until the clock says 6, instead?” Jake says hopefully, knowing he’s about to enter a negotiation (in which he himself is the hostage) with a four-year-old.
“Nope.” Maya declines his offer matter-of-factly. “Me and Maxy are going to make you breakfast!”
Amy’s eyes immediately open in panic and Jake smirks at her fast reaction time. “Baby, how about we snuggle until 6, then you and Max can make breakfast with me for Daddy, and then we can give Daddy his presents? How does that sound?”
Maya considers her mother’s offer very carefully. She’s about to open her mouth to protest before Jake quickly adds, “And after that we can all go to the park! Right, Mommy?”
“For sure.” Amy agrees.
“Okay, but I get first go on the swings,” Maya says stubbornly convinced, and Jake just lets out a sigh of relief that this didn’t end in tears so early in the morning. She moves from his chest to join Max under their comforter and snuggles against her father. “Love you, Daddy.”
Jake grins and holds his little girl close to his side, kissing her cheek and then leaning over to kiss Max’s. “I love you both so much, Maya-Moo and Mr. Max.”
He closes his eyes again, and in that moment, with his entire world in bed with him, he’s pretty sure he’s never been happier.