Stuff that is beautiful about life.

Putting baby to bed is my new favourite activity.

I’ve just put my baby to bed.  We’ve done dinner, played a few hundred rounds of ‘pick-the-Sippy-cup-off-the-floor’, splashed in the bath and snuggled in front of Giggle and Hoot.

The house is quiet. His soft little head smells like soap and for about thirty minutes, everything is right with the world.

It’s my new favourite time of the day.

No matter what has happened before, this bedtime routine – our little domestic dance – is how we wrap things up. You wouldn’t call it tidy, but it’s definitely calm.  A slice of heaven and simple order in a bustling and chaotic kind of life and one of the most profound gifts of parenting a small child.

For all of these reasons, baby’s bedtime makes my number one on today’s most important list –  a list we’re calling ‘Stuff That Is Beautiful About This Life”.

Two things prompted this post.

1. Seen the news lately?  When not paralysed by our inexplicable, pathetic  helplessness, it feels like we need a reminder. That even in the face of all the  fear, darkness, loss, inequality and hunger we’re witnessing, there is some  light.

2. THIS. Mark O’Connell’s recent Op Ed for the New York Times about becoming a father and facing his fears.  You MUST read this piece. For its honesty, poignancy and humanity.

Here’s one of my favourite paragraphs:

“Having a child feels like you’re a returning a measure of innocence to the world, and this is wonderful in its way; but we are talking here about a world with an exceptionally poor track record in its dealings with innocence. Unforgivably, I think of this much more now than I ever did before deciding to bring a child – this particular child – into the world. It seemed like a remote abstraction before but now it is intimate and visceral, as close to me as his little chest when I hold him to my own when he has fallen and hurt himself,  or woken up crying or hungry, or lonely, or is just upset for any of the infinite number of reasons to be upset in this world.  I wonder how I can reconcile my love for him, my responsibility, with essentially my pessimistic stance on the world we chose to bring him into.”

Mark’s words have stuck with me all day – the world is a dark place right now. How can you ever be OK with what happens around us? Does anyone ever really grow up enough to manage their own fears, is that what being a good parent is all about?

I don’t know yet. Maybe. But perhaps it’s just as important to teach ourselves to look for the light, and the empathy and the good that so often circumvents these terrible times. To look for evidence of hope or just the good and simple things that no matter what life throws at us will never fade. Like the companionship of old friends, the rush that follows exercise, the first swim of summer, a hot cup of tea or my baby’s soft little head fresh and warm from the bath.

What are the little things that make your life beautiful?

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