Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on beauty. The question was provoked by this video I show at a lot of my public speaking engagements, where one of the young women poses the following questions:
“What are these fundamental experiences of beauty and what do they say about how we’re supposed to live our lives and how we’re supposed to respond to them?” And with the birth of my son, these questions are racing through my mind.
I was often asked in the final weeks “Are you ready?” Of course I wasn’t, I don’t think you ever fully can be. Oh sure, I read a book or two on fatherhood, the most valuable was a comical yet touching reflection from Michael Lewis called Home Game, a book I strongly suggest to any soon to be dad or recently anointed dad. I spoke to many dads and even went to a birthing class, the likes of which has left me with many an image I’d much rather forget.
In the final stretch, we took time on the beach this week to read through (again) the quick but ever powerful 64 page Art of Stillness by Pico Ayer. This is a book I suggest to any traveler as it turns travel on its head: To enjoy the journey, sometimes we need to go nowhere.
But back to fundamental experiences of beauty, here are three I have witnessed in the last few hours:
-The incredible support team that helped bring our child into the world was made up of different cultural and religious backgrounds than me. His world is one that will be multicultural and interfaith, and that was evident from some of the first people who tenderly welcomed him home.
-The internet manages to both shrink the world and keep us connected to our tribe. We live in LA without any family, and so our tribe of unofficial uncles and tias will be huge. But the internet will allow our families from a distance to quickly lay eyes on Baby Furlong.
The news of his birth thanks to the miracles of the internet have reached friends and loved ones from The United Kingdom to Ecuador.
-People are inherently good. You see it when you look into the innocent eyes of a child but you also see it in so many other ways: The nurse who stayed more than two hours past her shift and never left our side in those final difficult hours of Laura’s labor. It’s our doctor who stopped by the hospital on her way home from clinical hours elsewhere in the city just to say hello and meet our baby. The love, because there simply is no other word for it, of the medical staff, most strangers before this week, reminded me so strongly of the goodness we so often encounter in our travels and provide the perfect setting for which to welcome new life into this world. When I finally cried After he was born was thanking our nurses and midwife, and they were these surpring tears of immense appreciation for the love these women gifted to my wife, my son, my family. Laura and I both feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude for the way this young boy has been welcomed into the world by strangers and loved ones alike.
Soon we’ll be back to millennial travel advice and inspiration. I’d say it’s safe to expect a few more tips and tricks for traveling with young ones to be added into the mix in the months ahead. But for now, we’re celebrating a reality so simple and yet so crazy for my sleep deprived brain to grasp: Just hours ago we walked into this hospital a family of two, we leave it a family of three. Welcome to the world Baby Furlong. In the words of one of my favorite musicians Dave Barnes, “You’re mine to love!”