Today was one of those perfect Autumn days. Big cosy coats and woolly hats cocooned the little ones as the cold air rouged our cheeks. The sun shone low through the trees; the crisp orange, yellow and red leaves crunched underfoot. The earthy smell of decaying leaves reminding us that winter is around the corner.
One of the many great things about becoming a mum is that you experience the world anew. Mundane objects become intricate gizmos as you try and answer the repeated "what's dat?" (potato peeler, measuring scales, dental floss). You can be moved to tears by the wonder of mankind's achievements as your child points out every aeroplane, waves at helicopters and cheers on every train. Basic science suddenly fascinates you again: magnets, fireworks, the sun going down and the shape-shifting moon coming up. The hope of a new generation getting to grips with the big wide world.
As well as such rediscovery, mankind seems more wonderful too. When you're flying solo, life's too busy to notice other people and you can manage by yourself perfectly well, thank you very much. However, there's something about having a little baby snug against your chest that makes total strangers smile at you. For a fleeting moment, their kindly face connects with your contentment and there's a shared silent moment of simple joy in the world. And you need those strangers, too. While doing the shopping or posting a parcel, I'll also be pushing our snoozey toddler in the buggy while jiggling our baby to sleep in the sling. I am usually in need of an extra pair of hands and I am delighted to report that even without asking, shop doors are opened for us, hard to reach items are passed to me and particularly thoughtful humans have even offered to carry my heavily laden basket. When merely leaving the house can be such a major challenge, it's a relief to know that the world isn't such a bad place after all.
As Americans go out to vote today, whatever the potential outcome may be, I want to register my good fortune to live in a place that shows everyday respect, kindness and care. Autumn always brings change, but after the rotting of beautiful leaves and the dark cold of winter, spring will soon be here again. Whatever the outcome, the world will still be full of love, peace and wonder.