21st May 2020

Darling Paloma,

‘What lies ahead?

I was full of questions yesterday. Questions like as an older man, will I have the strength and calmness to be a good father? What type of world are we bringing you into, my sweet daughter? Was it always planned for you to be born during these days? A wise friend once told me, the soul has no age, the age of a human being shouldn’t necessarily be calculated from the moment of birth but from the time at which the human starts to live honestly. I have a sense you will do that from day one.

I remember the morning your brother was born. I must have told you, but like me, he was born in the same building even floor that you are going to be. Milo’s mother went into the Lindo Wing at about 3 am and was there all day. The Lindo Wing was a sort of posh hotel. The service is excellent, but the food was awful. So I walked to the local Marks and Spencer on Edgware Road to buy some sandwiches for lunch; it’s still there.

When I went to pay, I said to the woman taking my money that today was going to be the best day of my life. ‘I’m going to be a father.’

The woman was angelic. I saw it immediately. ‘Wait a minute,’ she said and pressed a button to alert her manager. I watched the two of them have a quiet conversation, and when she returned, she said. ‘We want to gift you these sandwiches and a token for a bottle MandS champagne .’

‘Please no,’ I said, feeling embarrassed, ‘I only told you because I am feeling proud.’

‘But this is indeed a special day, and you won’t have many days like this in your life.’

‘That is certainly true,’ I said and thanked her.

‘She smiled, and I saw her face change shape exuding kindness and light. It was like the continual stir of the ocean; it was not off-putting; it was remarkable.

I returned to the Lindo Wing with that delicious tingling in the head that usually comes from the perfect blend of peace of mind, a slight current of air or as what I had just experienced an unexpected small act of kindness on the part of someone else.
I ate the sandwiches and kept the token for a long time. Sadly I lost it in one of my home moves a few years later.

Today was a better day. I didn’t keep asking so many questions. Before I met your mother, I knew I needed to change the side of my life. I wanted to try to experience the moment and not dismiss my feelings in an instant. What happened during those days was like a cloud that, like the moment itself, soon changed, passed by and was never to be repeated. I suppose I was longing for stability. And now I’ve found it. And the questions I asked only yesterday are promptly being answered.

I will always try to keep you safe, I just said out loud – I want to do more of that, call out to the world and not keep it inside. I want to care for you, keep you warm and be always patient even though being a little older I’m sure it could be more difficult.

Perhaps these aren’t the hours to wallow in self-examination. We should love these warm May days and help create that chance so that everywhere is somewhere to reach. To be happy knowing that the only thing of which we can be sure is the next heartbeat. The only real question we can ask ourselves is just how many times will we breathe this breath, step this spot, and write this word?



Published by Simon Astaire

Simon Astaire was the youngest agent ever employed at ICM starting the Music department and representing a variety of clients before turning to head a PR agency where his clients included brands such as Bulgari, Armani and celebrities and members of the Royal Family. He is regularly quoted in the press and has been described in The London Times as a PR Prince. He had a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph called Station to Station where he interviewed a diverse mixture of high-profile individuals on their imaginary last train journey. He has written six novels and two biographies including soccer star Sol Campbell when he was nominated for best new sports writer. His latest novel The Last Photograph, was made into a film of the same name. It had a US theatrical release in November 2019 and is now available on all platforms. His blog ' Letters to my daughter' began March 19th, 2020.

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