The only thing on my bucket list
I want to hold a baby again before I die. I want to feel the soft, gentle promise of new life, smell the scent of innocence that rises from that central soft spot of a newborn’s head, to hold in my arms the wonder of unlimited potential, and to weep openly in awe at the phenomenon of new life.
One of the most memorable nights of my life was spent in a Nepalese restaurant holding a friends grandson for almost three hours. My husband cut up my food so I could eat without disturbing the babe sleeping against my left breast, with his tiny head on my shoulder, where from time to time I could rest my cheek against the fluffy down of his hair, or gently rub his tiny, blanket covered back, when he snuffled his baby dreams.
The night was a celebration, with an aftertaste of sorrow. It was the baby’s grandfather’s 50th birthday, and his great-grandfather’s 80th birthday, but his great-grandmother had died just a few weeks earlier. Although the night was almost 14 years ago I can close my eyes and tell you where everyone was sitting, smell the aroma of the curried potatoes, and experience again my first taste of goat. But the most precious gift of all is the ability to close my eyes and know the remembered warmth, the loving trusting bond that joined that baby boy and me. I had begun to hold him because he was fractious, but once he slept, I continued to hold him for the pure joy that the holding of him brought.
When the evening came to an end, I handed him back to his father who placed him gently in his pale blue carry basket. I kissed his tiny head one last time, and floated back to the car with my husband. I experienced a sense of being for just a few hours, part of something huge and inexplicable. And even though I struggle with the concept of a God, I felt a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s words “There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.