A few months ago, my pal Louise had a baby.
I have not yet met the baby, named Laura. She and Louise and Laura's dad live in Denmark, where I met Louise years and years ago during a college field trip to Copenhagen. (Yes, I went to that sort of college--the sort where you can get "life experience" credit for just, you know, living.) Louise and I were immediately great friends, the sort of friends you can only be with somebody who says, "This is my favorite song!" and then plays you a Danish translation of "Cat's In The Cradle," which is your favorite song, too.
Louise is a doctor now, and on maternal leave (which, in Denmark, is incredibly civilized and rational) and is enjoying her time with my niece. My niece is by far the smartest, most gorgeous (she looks like her mother, her grandmother, and her aunt, down to the turned-up Danish nose), most involved baby ever. Anybody else who has ever had a genius baby had just better remove their child from consideration, because Laura is, without hyperbole, the most wonderful child ever. And she will, I am sure, be a wonderful toddler and teenager, because her mother was.
Laura is, in short, the only thing that makes me wish I had had a baby when I had the opportunity.
Someday I will get to meet her and give her all the gifts I'm mentally stockpiling. Laura won't get anything as banal as Legos; no, she'll get a working stethoscope and a microscope and a good set of paints and a full box of Crayolas and the sort of Mister Science set I wished for as a kid but never had because my sister had used up all the cool, poisonous stuff. It's probably a good thing that we live eight million miles from each other, because otherwise Laura would be the most rotten kid ever.
I fell in love with her the minute I saw the first pictures of her as a newborn. It's as close as I've ever come to understanding what mothers experience upon seeing their babies.
Isn't she the most amazing child ever?