I hardly dared turn the radio on this morning. But the news was as good as we hoped: Barack Obama will be America's next president. I had a lump in my throat as I told Karen that America had elected its first black president.
After the rancour and revulsion of the Bush years, the United States has shown it still has the spirit to inspire the rest of the world. I was born the year Martin Luther King told the world that he had a dream of everyone being equal, regardless of colour. Today, King's tomb was marked by the simple words: dream realised.
Our baby son is four months old today. It's thrilling that Obama's win means that he will grow up thinking it entirely natural for a black person to be America's president.
In California two weeks ago, I talked to American colleagues about the imminent election. They were confident about Obama's prospects, and contemptuous of George W Bush. But they wanted reassurance that worldwide hostility towards Bush did not represent a deeper hatred of America and its people. I told them that most people were capable of distinguishing between a government and its people. The joy that Obama's victory has prompted around the world shows that we retain an affection and a hope for America's future. Tellingly, Obama spoke of America's influence being based not on its arsenal but the opportunities it offers people of all backgrounds.
At this extraordinary time, I can't help thinking back to May 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first woman prime minister. The defeated Labour prime minister, James Callaghan, was as graceful in conceding as John McCain was today. He declared it a tremendous moment in the country's history. Thatcher went on to become a very divisive leader. I suspect that President Obama will heal rather than divide his great nation.