The Last Watch of the Night

Spring flowers near MadridExcuse this blog if it’s not strictly about writing. I have been in Spain for three weeks awaiting the arrival of my first grandchild. She arrived nine days ago, later than expected.

I expect all grannies, nannies, grandmothers, grand-meres and abuelas know this, but the emotion I feel seeing my daughter being a mum with a little baby in her arms is so intense it is almost indescribable.

At a basic level it’s what we, as a species, are here for, but on a personal level the connection feels so strong it makes me want to cry, laugh and shout all at the same time. My older brother described it better; when I phoned England, he said I sounded like a bottle of champagne that had just been uncorked.

The baby’s name is Alba, which means dawn or daybreak in Spanish. My daughter says it also has the meaning, ‘Last Watch of the Night.’

It may have been Ursula K Le Guin, I’m not sure, who wrote that she couldn’t proceed with a character in her books unless they had the right name.

Alba arrived during the sunrise. She is half English, a quarter Spanish and a quarter French with a mixture of Irish, Scottish and Yorkshire on the English side and relatives in Mexico, Chile and North America.

Alba is the old name for Scotland and an Andalucian Spanish name. So Welcome, Bienvenida Alba.

May you bask in the sunlight of the Spanish daybreak, born in the springtime of the year. And may you be guarded through all the watches of the night.

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