I am an S.O.F. ( sentimental old fool). I was thinking about Nicky's birth last night...at around ten to eleven on August 12th 19xx.
That incredible moment when she finally just popped out...all covered in yellowy wax, eyes all screwed up as if she was being awoken from her sleep - she still looks like that in the morning now actually...well, apart from the yellowy wax.
The midwife put a pair of sinister surgical scissors in my hand and I cut the cord..."I declare this life open...", then they put her in my arms...a fabulous feeling. She opened her eyes at that moment and seemed to give me a look (I know this is supposed to be impossible - newborns can't focus etc etc). It was a penetrating look and seemed to say..."hmph...who's this then..?" and then, "uh huh, ok".
I bathed her - carefully supervised by the midwife, thank goodness - and gave her to her mother. All the time I was looking at her...looking - in that strange goofy way you "look" at your newborn children.
At some point in this dreamlike period it became time for me to go and let everyone sleep. So I went outside and climbed in to my very old but heroic VW camper and turned the key....
The old camper was not getting up at this time of night. So I got out, strangely unconcerned about this reluctance of my vehicle to start and wandered, still in my trance, through the dark corridors of the hospital to the front entrance...
So I had to look around for someone to help. I finally found a little cubby-hole office where reception was and inside a very Bavarian receptionist who spoke very Bavarian. I tried to explain what I wanted - my German at the time was not very good...and to be honest, neither was his...but he finally realised that I wanted to get out and so after carefully heaving himself out of his seat, he came with me to the door, unlocked it and released me.
I needed a taxi...there was a telephone box...but it turned out to be the only telephone box in the whole of the unvandalised Munich of the eighties which didn't work...
Finally I flagged down a taxi, got in and sat there with a soppy grin on my face and a glowing warm feeling of just-having-watched-my-child-come-into-the-world-iness.
Back home the friends who had come to stay to help out sat me down at the kitchen table and poured me out a big balloon glass of Remé Martin. I told them the story and they got all excited; then I phoned Liverpool and told my mother and father and they got all excited.
I put the phone down and started to drink. And then I began to cry...uncontrollably..tears of relief, joy and about 16 other emotions I didn't even know I had...
The next thing I remember is being upstairs on my bed, another good dollop of cognac warming in the glass in my hand and listening to a loop of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" on the headphones and crying and crying and crying...
S.O.F. - sentimental old fool...actually, S.Y.F. sentimental young fool.