In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Monday, 19 September 2016


 My little Isabella has spoken her first words. "Erro!" came first, then "Mama" and "Yeah", and now today "Dada." It's all incredibly thrilling. I expect her to be reading her own bedtime stories by the time she's two, and writing novels before she turns seven. Seems reasonable.

 People keep telling us that Bella is open, warm-hearted and always cheerful. It was her fifth day in nursery before the staff ever saw her cry, and then it was because another baby was upset. My parents often said I was the same as a toddler. I don't remember it. By the time my long-term memory started up much of the joy had been knocked out of me.

 Why do we do this to ourselves? Children need to learn about stranger danger, to be careful crossing the road, and not to touch hot things. They'll become warier, but we do more. Too often we fill our kids with our own hotchpotch of fears and biases, some of them society's, some of them our own. Caz and I are trying not to. If we succeed well enough that Bella grows into a happy, confident young woman, we'll have done all right.

 I say I want her to be the first woman on Mars, but I don't really. I want her to be the best she can be at whatever she chooses to do, while still being happy.