A week ago, I was feeling anxious. I know that's not rare. Like so many other people across the world, trapped at home, cut off from our usual lives, my mind had started to question and fret. Last week, it seemed, there was a reason beyond all others to worry. My daughter Megan was having her baby.
I should have been full of excited anticipation; the arrival of her third child, my eighth grandchild, it should have been something to celebrate and enjoy. But somehow the world had got to me.Too much sadness, suffering and anger, affecting our friends, our families, our countries. I'd started to wonder if I'd had it too easy, if somehow I'd been pushing my luck.
We'd arranged that I could be her childcare 'bubble', that I would stay at the house, looking after the boys, while they went off to the hospital. The day passed, playing in the muddy garden, building lego houses, drawing pictures and eating pasta. It was fun, and all the lovely things it always is, but still, I watched the clock, and waited. And waited.
I told myself not to worry. I remembered the births of my own children, how long each one had taken, how wonderfully they'd worked out in the end. I reassured myself that Megan knew what she was doing, that Andrew would help and encourage her. I'd been there when Charlie and Harry were born, I knew how she well she could cope. But as the day ticked by, the clock slowed, the minutes began to take hours. I alternated between wanting time to speed up and praying for it to stop. If I could freeze the world now, then we'd all still be ok. If nothing moved forward then nothing would change and nothing bad could possibly happen.
I dozed and woke, unsettled and disorientated, until just after midnight, my phone buzzed with a message 'She's here!' Matilda Elizabeth, born at 11.56, weighing 6lbs 12ozs.
A week has passed since then.
Megan is home with beautiful Matilda and my phone keeps buzzing as she sends me picture after picture. In each of them I see how the family are adjusting to the new baby; Andrew getting to know his daughter, the boys working out what it means to have a sister, and Megan cherishing every minute.
In some of the pictures, Matilda's eyes are open. I wonder what she's thinking, what she makes of this world she's entered. Not yet time for her to worry about disease, inequality, or climate change. For her, the only experience she knows is to be surrounded by love.
Just a week, but a timely reminder of the power and possibility of love and the hope it brings for a kinder, more thoughtful world.
My hope for Matilda is that she grows strong and fair in that love, that she takes it and spreads it wherever she goes.