Have you ever watched a new baby? Seriously observed one? Focused on the wide eyes drinking in light (pre-birth is a bit dark…), the mouth twitching towards milk, the tiny fingers curling around support.
Like most things in my life, watching a new baby seems a quintessentially Buddhist endeavour. It’s beyond illuminating. Everything is for the first time — even if it’s not. Mom appears and disappears. Dad materialises and fades. Other loving adults (and the occasional well-intentioned dog) nuzzle and murmur and generally love you. But you have no context for any of this. It’s all as fresh as the first spring leaf unfurling in the watery spring sun, or first love. Fresher, even.
I have a new name. And a new job. Name: GG (code for Grandma Gildersleeve). Job: grandmother. Job description: rocker of baby Trinidad, cooer to baby Trinidad, singer & hummer to baby T. Changer of etceteras, soother of dreams, giver of occasional bottle. Unconditional lover of T.
In other words? I’m watching a newly minted human being learn how to be in this world. Each action is learned, except for his rooting instinct. Digestive issues make his face furl into purple effort, while a song sung softly elicits intense listening. A different position in the lap, a new person to smell while she holds you? All unsullied by familiarity.
We take our routines for granted. But once upon a time, the world was as new as the birth miracle: another human being becoming part of this whole crazy quilt of life. And for my grandson, it’s still like that. Sit outside, where the pale Oregon light falls in stripes across the grass, and Trinidad is mesmerised. This is what it means to ‘be here, now.’ Trinidad can be no other place. This moment is what he has, what he is learning.
It’s a lesson I too am trying to learn, a memory I want to imprint. I am trying hard to add ‘seeing through your eyes’ to my changing job description. It may well be the making of my beginner’s heart ~