Visiting Nova

Mariner visited his newly born granddaughter for the first time yesterday. Ever since he was four years old he has developed a reputation for speaking of newborns with ignorant, perhaps unwarranted, certainly not accommodating remarks when viewing babies. Just one example will suffice: mariner’s father was a Methodist preacher. A proud set of parents showed off their baby after a Christening; many of the congregation were awing an oooing the baby and the new parents were bursting with pride. Mariner was eleven. With genuine innocence, he said, “He looks like a turtle.” Afterward, his father educated mariner on the rituals of socially required etiquette. As he looks back on that incident, mariner feels doubly bad because he placed the child in the same category as Mitch McConnell.

In this regard, mariner has not matured. His comments always are intended with genuine, gracious intent. So as he walked down the driveway to greet his son and family, mariner sees the proud daughter-in-law waiting to greet the grandparents; she is holding an armful of blankets and other swaddling clothes – no baby to be seen – mariner says with a disarming tone and happy grin, “Is that laundry or is there a baby in there?”

Nova is a marvel to see. She is so tiny. Her color and bombastic nature are in excellent form; all the physical appurtenances are present. Fortunately, or unfortunately, her parents and both families are riddled with an intellectual bent. Mariner feels however, that Nova will be up to the task.

One wonders how humans have overpopulated the planet given the odd and risk laden process of giving birth. When observing other species, one is aware that birth is quick and the newly born can walk immediately. Birds are willing to leap off a towering nest into adulthood in only a week or two. Any young one hatching from an egg must engineer its own birth and survive on its own merits immediately. Then there are the species with pockets, or sometimes mouths that serve as nurseries. Typically, Homo sapiens has the hubris to say, “We’re doing it differently.”

Nova was born a year before her physical abilities are prepared for such an alarming transition. Humans decided to require a head too big to pass through the mother’s pelvis so the baby must be born when only half the preparation for facing the outer world has been accomplished.

The baby’s tools for survival are a horrendous screeching that cannot be ignored. The child makes it clear this new environment is not to its liking. Further, it insists on being attended to the point of diaper management, which all fathers must endure.

Referencing a recent post about the term ‘grandfather,’ it is quite obvious as mariner and his wife visit Nova, that all that is required of a grandfather is a nice picture to hang on the wall and stay out of the way. It doesn’t bother mariner at all – he knows he is a member of the hall of fame.

Ancient Mariner


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