Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I have a large and complicated family with steps and halves and all sorts. One of the lovely things about this is that a lot of babies get born who are vaguely related to me. Today we have the newest addition - a step-great-nephew (I am a great AUNT; I am one of those characters out of PG Wodehouse who comes galloping along corridors with cloven hooves and a faint whiff of sulphur). He is called Cosmo, and he arrived without too much fuss at about three in the morning, and, according to his small sister, he has blue hair. Clearly he is a Bowie fan, from the Berlin period.
We are all thrilled and delighted and enchanted here, as you may imagine. I am with Cosmo's grandfather, aunt, step-aunt, and sisters, and everyone is smiling and exclaiming. It does not matter that it has been raining for a week, that global warming is quite probably going to have its gaudy victory, that we are in the middle of the worst financial crash since records began. It does not matter that some of us have moments of cynicism or pessimism, or even just plain flat out realism. A new baby makes fools of us all. We grin like idiots and everything, overnight, is perfect and fabulous and filled with hope. The world shimmers with possibility.
I could get a bit shrinkish and say that this is the problem. A tiny cute gurgling thing appears and all humans lose their faculties. It's like a mass delusion which can only lead to disappointment. The problems and the let downs and the false starts and the wrong turnings will come, because into every life a little sorrow must fall. This random undifferentiated outpouring of joy is sheer folly and can do no good.
But you know what? I love it. I love that today is a festival. I love that this Monday I am not feeling grumpy about the Americans' perverse inability to get themselves a decent healthcare system even when they finally have a president who wants to do it. I am not working myself up into a state about all the other twenty things that I work myself up into a state about - the Morgan Stanley bonuses, the endless war in Afghanistan, what is really going on in Yemen, why it is that people in positions of power still insist in talking in management-speak when everyone knows it is a sign of insecurity and intellectual poverty. I am smiling and laughing. It is irrational; one new life does not fix any of the things that ail us. The life itself will not always be happy or straightforward; the world into which he enters is in twenty kinds of trouble. But just today, none of that counts for anything. A women grew a whole human being from scratch, which is an absolute dilly of a miracle. A brand spanking new little fellow is among us, and if we had trumpets we would blow them. We can leave the realism to another day; today, we are en fête.