It’s funny how the smallest thing becomes so important after you become a father. The unconditional love you feel for your kids almost imprints on objects, crudely drawn pictures, and fleeting, inconsequential moments. For Father’s Day, a few years ago, my daughter gave me a small wooden beard comb. My wife had bought it on Etsy and had the words “Daddy’s Beard” etched into it and I distinctly remember it smelled of cedar. I remember my daughter, only a few years old at the time, was so excited to give me this beard comb. A child’s delight when giving a gift is infectious, palpable, and heartwarming. The joy radiates off of them and the purest emotions are visible during that moment. But the beard comb has turned into so much more since then. Some of the text is a little worn down and on the end, one of the combs has broken off. The cedar has been replaced with the faint musk of beard oil, but the reason for this is because it hasn’t been lost or set aside. It has become a father’s security blanket.  I use it when I am thinking, when I am working on design projects and when I am watching tv. When I am not using it in my beard it is the perfect size to wedge under the front of my Macbook to prevent it from wobbling when I type, a fix to a slightly bulging battery on a laptop I need to replace. This makes it essential and immediately noticeable when it isn’t there, vital to the daily routine. It has transcended its original purpose and become more. It’s a daily reminder of my daughter, a talisman of fatherhood, of comfort and feelings of joy. It is a constant during uncertain times and slowly evolving with me as I grow as a parent and a father. It has transcended, become eutopian. A small window to the past that generates memory based on the feel of the wood, the smell of the beard oil, and the calm that holding it imparts.

– James Henderson