New York can be a hard place. People are rushing around you, treating you as if you weren’t human, only something in their way. The bustle can be overwhelming. You can get lost in the shuffle and feel like a number. But living here with a family has been very different, especially with a newborn.
Strangers stop and look at our baby, with starstruck eyes and say, “Oh my gosh! Look at that tiny baby!” gushing over our newborn. Sure, many women are giving responses like that. But children, boys, and girls, even a few men, react with surprise, wonder, glee. There are smiles and giggles. And “How old is he?” is usually asked.
Many men do react, albeit with less enthusiasm, but stares and small smiles that could be mistaken as smirks escape their faces. I think they are just reserved smiles that hide the large toothy smile that they actually wear on their inner face, the truer one, the one they keep from the world. Sometimes we get a “Congrats!” from the testosterone’d, but rarely gushing. Nonetheless, it’s all delightful and endearing.
Newborns reveal the surprisingly tender underbelly of New York City. It’s a side of the city that surprised us. Once the hard shell is removed, you get something else–humanity–not a childish one, but one that’s childlike. It’s the humanity that unveils itself for special occasions like seeing a five-pound human being make it out into the world swaddled in innocence and vulnerability for all of the grown humans in the world to see and interact with him so tenderly since he is only but a tender little babe.
There’s a child in all of us, even in the hardest of New Yorkers.