Nothing Like a Baby— Blog Pause— Week #1

Today is the first day when I am officially on my self-declared blog pause. But, as I promised, I am not going to be completely silent. My sister is visiting now with her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter (my grandniece — who happens to be the best baby EVER, and I say this with complete objectivity!). I usually go right to work writing, but today I had to visit with baby Radley first, say good morning and watch her eat breakfast. There is nothing in the world that could make me happier than standing around with my sister and niece watching Radley eat.

Watching Radley do anything rivets me. To see her taking in the world with such curiosity. Rolling over and pushing herself into various yoga positions, her muscles strengthening almost by the hour. Interacting with objects, and food, and people with such openness. Smiling — oh my god, her smile! You’d have to be a curmudgeon to not be moved by this, even if she didn’t share your DNA.

My sister recently had an epiphany that Radley looks just like our mother did as a baby, and we all agree. So that observation has brought our dead mother back into the room in a wonderful way. Four generations.

The other thing about Radley that moves me so much is that the skills she is gaining, as she babbles and rolls over and sits on her own, are the very ones I am losing. Her neck has become strong enough to hold up her large head; my neck is weakening so that it has a tendency to roll back. She purses her lips to blow and whistle; I stopped being able to purse my lips months ago. She sticks out her tongue when she is happy; my own tongue is inert. I almost feel that I have handed these skills over to her and, while that is nonsense on one level, it is true metaphorically. What is happening with me and Radley is part of the natural life cycle: generations turn over, passing on knowledge and skills. My decomposed body may become fodder for future human beings.

If I were writing my usual blog, I would say more about this, but I leave it for you to contemplate on your own. And here is a quote from Ram Dass that I ran across recently that explained to me why I’ve been transfixed by stories all my life, fictional stories and stories from real life: “stories sort of knock on the door of spirit. Stories break through into heart spaces.”

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Cai Emmons

Cai Emmons is the author of 5 books of fiction, most recently the novel, SINKING ISLANDS. Two more of her novels will be published in 2022.