It was just after one of those intermittent showers and I was walking across the parking lot at our Health Club. A few steps ahead of me a young woman was walking and apparently talking into the air, saying “See, there’s a rainbow. See?”
As I drew abreast of her the infant strapped to her bosom came into view and “crazy woman talking to herself,” immediately morphed into “caring mother teaching her baby about the world,” and my attitude of mind morphed along with it. The baby, perhaps six months old or so, looked in my direction and in response to my hairy smile flashed a grin of transcendent beauty. I grinned back at my fullest wattage and she giggled and grinned in response. My day was made.
It is a quirk of mine that I’d rather be smiled at by a baby than receive a medal. Babies’ smiles have a power to melt human hearts that is not found in anything else. Babies’ smiles light up the world and renew one’s flagging faith in the goodness of people. Babies seem to be born in a pretty good mood and when loved and cared for radiate that mood to all and sundry. Babies are not born prejudiced against anyone or anything and when even an old and hairy face when smiling brings an answering smile to their face one can feel there is after all hope for the future.
Last night we dined out and a large, extended, ethnically melded family was celebrating a birthday in the restaurant and many young children were present. One, a boy of about eighteen months, needed the freedom to run around and his parents and uncles and aunts took turns following him to keep him safe. He ran from one end of the room to the other and then pushed at the door. Indulgently the adult on duty took him outside and after just a few minutes followed him back in. The boy took every step on the run and the grin on his face showed the pleasure that gave him. The grin on my face was for the indulgent adults.
Alameda is fairly full of young families and young children and their presence puts a positive gloss on life in this town. Our future is in the hands of the young and they deserve our loving care. The infants grow into teenagers and today’s teens, speaking out and walking out to try to bring some sanity to bear on America’s misguided relationships to AR-15s and their ilk is the most heartening set of events to occur during this dark period. The battle for America’s soul has been joined and the kids are in the vanguard which makes me feel hopeful for the future.