There’s nothing like the birth of a baby to take you back in time. A week ago I returned home from Denver where I witnessed our grandson’s transition from the cozy but cramped womb to the harsh environment of life on the outside.
Trying to approximate the closed, warm water womb, we substituted a flannel receiving blanket for a tortilla and bound Jackson in a burrito wrap.
Only Jackson’s face was visible. His dark, unfocused eyes oved left, right, and up to his hairline – so much so that his pupils disappeared and only the whites of his eyes were visible.
At feeding time, he opened his mouth… exactly like a baby bird’s. Had he let out a ‘cheep-cheep,’ I would not have been surprised.
Mouth open, he looked for nourishment. He wanted to nurse NOW! He worked one hand free of his wrap, and with fingers splayed he sought his mouth.
First, his whole fist make its way to his open mouth. Then he found the knuckle of this thumb, then his index finger, then the knuckle of his middle finger, and finally, Yippee! Jackson had found his thumb!
His thumb was disappointing in that it had no milk, but I was filled with wonder watching him try this and then try that. To enter the world with so many survival skills!
With his thumb in his mouth, his right index finger in his right eye, and his middle finger in his left eye, I envisioned an octopus – sucking at Jackson’s face. If I had only had my camera within reach. As it was, I was trapped beneath his body.
Life is good. It can’t get any better.
I have to wonder why holding our newest baby seems so memorable. I have, after all, had some experience with my own three children and an additional two grandchildren. What is it about this baby that seems so precious and awe inspiring?
I think that time, Father Time (that hunched and bearded guy with the scythe) holds me close in his clammy hands. Too many of my friends have passed or are fading. I’m on my way out.
In 2002, when Laura was in her senior year at Gunnison University, she caught my mother sleeping and took a photo of Mom and the cat sleeping. I’ve always liked that picture, so when I was in Denver, I asked Laura to take a similar, family lineage photo with me with the baby. Those two family photos are below.
Life is transitory. Life and good health are not eternal. We live and we die. A new birth takes the edge of death.
We have just lost our second clutch of baby Robins. Not exactly lost, but the fledglings have tumbled or have been kicked out of their nest in the rafters of the carport.
I saw them on the ground – tentatively trying their legs. They had yet to realize that those appendages at either side of their body were wings, and if they flapped them up and down, they could be airborne.
Watching the birds make their way to cover, I thought of Jackson’s hit and miss search for his thumb. Likewise with the baby birds: they will discover their wings, make use of them, and next year maybe one of them will make it back to nest and lay eggs in the shelter of our carport.
And the beat goes on.