This I Believe

Michele - Manassas, Virginia
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in Babies.

They have the might of the universe in their tiny little hands. They have more strength in a smile than Schwarzenegger has in his biceps (even back when he was Mr. Universe). As fragile as they may appear, only the gentle squeeze of a baby’s embrace can make a

6-foot-5 giant-of-a-man, who gets his five o’clock shadow by noon, spit out his skoal, bend to eye level, and sweetly sing “coochee coochee cooo” in an unnaturally soprano tone. In this way, babies can draw the attention of anyone, and when they’re yours, they can change your life forever. This I know above all.

When I take my one-year-old shopping, all eyes are on Jack. The cashier at the grocery store laughs while he tries to take ALL of my groceries off the magical moving belt. The greeter at the department store gives a slight nod and a sympathetic “awwww,” when the revolving door scares him into a crying fit. And each and every person we pass at the mall, sends a thoughtful glance his way.

It’s easy to imagine what each of them might be thinking. As we pass other families, the children always yell, “Look, Mom!! A little Baby!! Isn’t he just so cute!?” Little Jack seems to often remind them of their past, that they’re growing up fast, and that they are NOT babies anymore. And when you’re young, growing up is an incredible feeling.

He has a different effect, however, as we pass a young couple. They look at Jack and see their future. They smile sweetly at him, eyes glowing, beaming as they hold each other’s hands tightly, dreaming of the bottles and toys and all the other joys of parenthood in store for them in the near future.

Then there are the seniors that shuffle by, moving much more slowly than we are. They are, by far, my favorite. They see him running along beside me and watch him as he falls, instantly begins crying before he even knows what happened, sits up and gets a “kiss to make it better,” then stands up and off he runs again. They hold their gaze longer than the rest, in a reminiscent haze as they remember being young. They remember the bullies, the birthdays, the love affairs, and possibly their own children and grandchildren.

They are the ones, who I know will continue smiling throughout the day, long after Jack and I have gone.

That is the power of a baby. Even to strangers, they can force you to reflect upon your life and all that is good in the world. And if you are lucky enough to call them your own, they will love you without asking why. They will trust you without a reason.