Baby Magic

They say there’s no such thing as magic, but they’re wrong.

There’s microscopic magic, in the way two cells suddenly, miraculously, become one. The way that those cells gobble up invisible energy to specialize and mature and grow, until suddenly, something that began as a single cell, made up of two, has developed doe eyes and Daddy’s ears and Mommy’s nose and Great-great Grandpa’s chin.

There’s pixie magic, the way that a baby can be the spitting image of Grandpa one minute, and of Cousin on the other side of the family the next. There’s buttermilk magic when, after weeks of hearing how your baby looks like his brother, his dad, his cousin—anyone from the opposite side of the family—the nurse at the hospital gasps, “Oh, my goodness, he looks just like you!”

There’s morning rainbow magic, the first smile. The first ten or twelve or eighteen…dozen smiles, as a matter of fact. So unexpected, so fleeting, a flash of sunlight on a cloudy day.

There’s Astrophysical magic. Put a baby on the floor, and he instantaneously consubstantiates into a Baby Black Hole. You can almost hear the “slurp” as every child in the vicinity skitters helplessly toward the event horizon.

There’s sensual magic, the body-wide thrill of brushing a baby’s hip, impossibly soft—softer than velvet, smoother than silk, a conglomeration of clichés that can’t even come close to expressing the sensation. And the sensation of holding a baby against the chest—the way your breath hopscotches in response to the weight of a warm head nuzzling beneath your chin. And as he calms, you calm. Magic. No doubt about it.

There’s visceral magic, the way that clerks at the party store drop what they’re doing and coo and stare with longing at a baby, even as they try to pretend that all they want is to cuddle someone else’s child, and not to have their own. The dread of three a.m. feedings can’t hope to compete with nature, with the built-in longing to hold, nurture, and love.

There’s divine magic, the way a baby transforms a man into a father, and a woman into a mother. The way his mere existence makes them better people.

Holy magic. Baby magic. Powerful. Unstoppable. And in every generation, our hope for the future.