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Check ’em out

June 6, 2013

The babies expected right now and the one that already arrived have caused some fun memories to pop into my head. From Uncle Chuckie saying, “How can he breathe through that nose, it’s so SMALL!” to Grandpa Frank holding a newborn with its head in his hand and its legs dangling near his elbow to show just how small babies really are, each of us does our own thing when we first see an infant whose blood flows from the same tree of life as does our own.

Many of us say, “Awww,” and simply stare. I am one of those. I can’t get over the miracle of birth and the fact that the tiny person in front of me has as much potential as the wisest intellectual, the most powerful leader, and the most humble parent or grandparent who lovingly and patiently teaches truth and life.

As usual, one can expect that Grandma Beanie would do something different than everyone else. What does she do, with each and every family newborn presented to her?

She strips them. To their diaper. Off come the adorable outfits, bonnets, hats and shoes, the chubby socks from chubby feet, the onesies and cute little lap-shouldered or tank tees.

She then checks out every toe, every finger. She checks out ears, eyes, hair, and skin folds from one end to the other. She turns them over and checks out the back, the head. She kisses their head. She smells them. She puts their feet to her face and makes nuzzly sounds. She loves them long before they know who (or what) the heck she is. If they cry, she says, “Ssssss.” Not shhhh, but ssssss. I have no idea why. But they don’t usually cry. They look at her as if she is as much of a curiosity as they are, and a bond is born.

I don’t think I will ever ask her why she says, “Sssss.” I think I will just watch.

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